No green pastures ahead in post-Bob Brown era
The jostling and lobbying amongst the Greens over who is to replace Brown has quietly continued on in earnest. Tasmanian Christine Milne is Brown’s first choice.
Seen as less of a firebrand than her younger colleagues, Brown hopes that Milne will maintain the camouflage of the Greens radical socialist agenda. A camouflage that has been the secret to the Greens’ electoral success to date.
Milne, however will be more aggressive than Brown in pursuing policies that put Australian jobs at risk. Milne would close down mines, make manufacturing unsustainable, and force farmers off their land.
Milne knows that standards would drop under her extreme climate change agenda - but in the name of progress Milne would say that the ends justify the means.
Also vying for the position is Sarah Hanson-Young, a student politician who under Brown’s patronage enjoyed a meteoric rise from student union president to senator.
Hanson-Young challenged Milne for deputy leader after the last election. In any democratic party, a leadership challenge would be public, and the results would be made known. They do things differently over at the extreme left.
Hanson-Young brings with her the support of Scott Ludlam. Frustrated with the dominance of soft conservationist issues, this duo is champing at the bit for the opportunity to force Gillard into extreme left positions.
To them, soft environmentalism belongs in the Bob Brown era. Their vision of Australia is one where our borders are left unprotected, the ANZUS treaty is torn up and Israel is boycotted as a “rogue state”.
Incoming Senator Lee Rhiannon is ostensibly backing Hanson-Young, but, even the most casual observer will know that Rhiannon wants the leadership and no one including her younger colleague will stop the Lee for Leader train.
The direction the Greens would take under Rhiannon’s leadership is truly frightening. Rhiannon came to the Greens after a long political journey which saw her quit the Australian Communist Party in protest at them speaking out against human rights abuses in the former Soviet Union.
Rhiannon recently clarified that she now condemns the crimes committed under Stalin, but her flirtations with foreign communist dictators continue.
In May 2009, Rhiannon was the main speaker at an award ceremony described by the Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs as an “act of allegiance” to Fidel Castro in Sydney.
Whether an Australian political party with no culture of internal democracy can survive the departure of its cult-like leader remains to be seen. One thing is for sure – Bob Brown’s cult of personality is the only glue currently holding the Greens together.
If Brown does seek another term at the next election at the end of that term he will be older than any currently serving member or senator. Only time will tell if the Greens can survive the turmoil that awaits them upon Bob Brown’s likely imminent retirement.
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