Christine Milne is 100 days into her leadership and shows little evidence of filling the large shoes left by Bob Brown. This period coincides with a deep split in the Labor alliance and could mark the beginning of the end for the Greens’ influence.
And to make things even more difficult, the ongoing and unseemly stoush between Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott deprives Ms Milne of the crucial oxygen she needs to give life to her leadership.
The transition from Bob Brown to Christine Milne preceded a number of events which are central to the Greens’ agenda, but none of which she has been able to exploit for political advantage. The Greens-backed carbon tax and mining tax became a reality. The asylum seeker debate continued its death spiral while the Greens stood by and arrogantly argued only they were in possession of the real facts and hence the correct solution.
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Here’s the real problem with the climate change debate. It’s not that the deniers have hijacked the overwhelming scientific consensus, sneakily turning a huge body of evidence into what many now perceive to be a 50/50 proposition.
Neither is the problem the fact that the carbon tax will bankrupt us (which it won’t) or that Bob Brown has become our de facto prime minister (which he hasn’t) or that we’re pissing some perfectly good industries down the drain in the search for new clean jobs (which we aren’t).
The problem with the climate change debate is that this whole endless shouting match is supposedly about saving the environment, yet no one is actually talking about the environment.
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Once upon a time, in city streets and in branch offices across the suburbs, people used to gather around with like-minded people who believed in the same things they did. Back then, these groups of people were called “political parties”.
Members of these “parties” would debate the big issues. Then they’d pick their most convincing and articulate to be their leaders. Their leaders would slug it out over their visions for the future with the leaders of other political parties. In Parliament, in the press, on the streets.
That’s all passé. In 2006, only 1.3 per cent of the adult population were members of political parties. Political parties and political leaders are so 20th century.
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