Making me Green in the gills
If Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said: “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” then the Australian Greens must hold the bragging rights to having the biggest brains.
For no other political Party has the ability to be so inconsistent when it comes to public policy than the Greens.
Two recent incidents, which received huge media attention, demonstrated this perfectly.
Here in the nation’s capital, one of the Greens’ MLAs Amanda Bresnan was outraged when, as a joke, two other politicians pretended to pick her up and throw her off stage during a trivia night to raise funds for a 10-year-old girl’s wheelchair.
She wrote and demanded an apology of the two male MLAs, one Labor and the other a Liberal. Both said they thought they were acting in a lighthearted fashion before apologising, but not before Bresnan had told the chief minister she was “deeply offended” at their actions.
The story ran for days and proved the last straw for Labor’s John Hargreaves, who quit the ministry, although it should be noted his career was already under a cloud.
While this was being played out, in Sydney, another high profile drama involving the Greens was unfolding, although this one was far more sinister.
On the first day of a NSW upper house parliamentary inquiry into land dealings in Sydney’s west, Greens MP Sylvia Hale asked a property developer whether he had anything to do with the murder of seamy businessman Michael McGurk.
“You’ve got to be joking. You’re a shocker,” an outraged Ron Medich replied. “This is a bloody disgrace.”
It was. Medich had not been arrested or accused of any crime, but the Greens MP had effectively turned the inquiry into a courtroom, where the “witness” was given no representation.
By turning the inquiry into a kangaroo court, Hale injected herself into headlines right around the country but traduced a man’s access to what most would describe as a fundamental right and a cornerstone of the rule of law in Australia.
I wouldn’t have a clue who Ron Medich is or what he’s been up to in land dealings but I support his right to defend himself in a real court with a real judge, not in a Greens’ media opportunity.
While it might just be me trying to inject a bit of consistency into the two events, I find it hard to get worked up about Amanda Bresnan’s offended feminist sensibilities after her male colleagues pretended to pick her up and throw her offstage.
Particularly when Ron Medich had his rights and reputation picked up, chucked on the floor and trampled on by Sylvia Hale.
All of this serves to underscore just how inconsistent the Greens can be when it suits them. And it shows just how far they will go to generate media coverage as a minor Party floating under the radar of real scrutiny.
Imagine the outcry if a serious politician had asked Medich the same question.
For a Party which bangs on about human rights ad nauseum, it clearly had little regard for those Ron Medich. And anyone who follows the political debate like I do as a professional campaigner who now consults to the Liberal Party, would know that the hobgoblin of consistency does not trouble their approach to policy.
Here in the ACT, the Greens campaigned hard to win four seats and the balance of power at the last election.
But after telling anyone who listened that their policies held the key to a better future, they refused to accept the offer to take on actual ministerial portfolios as part of a coalition.
The Greens were offered two ministeries, including the environment portfolio, but turned it down, preferring to sit on the backbench and support another term of Labor government.
Despite promising to lower everyday household bills and to achieve better education standards in ACT—code for reopening the dozens of schools closed by Labor before the last election – they have done little or nothing.
Household bills and rates have steadily risen and just last week they backed Labor in maintaining the vast majority of school closures.
But they continue to exploit media opportunities and keep complaining about all the stuff they could have fixed had they taken on the responsibility offered to them and accepted a real job with real decision making and real accountability.
Most bizarely, they keep endlessly calling for more to be done on the environment, seemingly oblivious to the fact that one of them would now be the environment minister had they just accepted the responsibility of taking on the portfolio.
Why anyone would vote for a Party which campaigns for a chance to make real decisions and effect real change, but refuses to take the opportunity when it’s sitting on a plate is beyond me.
That’s a hobgoblin I just can’t seem to shake. Maybe it’s just my small mind. I don’t believe so. I think it’s because they aren’t up to it.
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