Sarah Hanson Young
In analysing the collapse in public support for the Australian Greens, one factor has been overlooked in attempting to explain the spectacular decline in their vote. That factor is arrogance.
Arrogance in terms of lecturing the community about its apparently woeful moral standards on issues such as border protection. Arrogance in terms of having little regard for the concept of an electoral mandate, and the old-fashioned view that government should only implement policies which have been presented to and endorsed by the people.
Arrogance in terms of advocating policies which require large amounts of money to fund, and ducking responsibility for explaining how the cash can be found without destroying the federal budget.
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Australian senators accused of leering at each other’s posteriors? Of failing to show respect? Of not “bowing and scraping” sufficiently in deference to the chair?
Welcome to just another day on the plush red carpet of the nation’s more civilised Upper House.
But then, the final sitting Thursday was never just any old day was it?
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With significant diversions during Federal Parliament last week one of the more contemptible political back flips in recent memory might have escaped your notice.
Without a blush, Labor - supported by the Greens in the Senate - took $700 a year from 21,000 parents to fund its reform agenda for the childcare industry.
A little explanatory background is needed.
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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.
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In May this year, the venerable old man of the left, Bob Brown will address the National Press Club.
He will use the live broadcast to outline his party’s vision for that historic moment on July 1, when his party holds the exclusive balance of power in the Senate.
With four senators to add to the five already in Canberra and a House of Representatives MP thrown in for good measure, the enviro-activist turned ground-breaking politician, sits atop a growing party widely considered the legitimate third force in Australian politics.
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On Wednesday Bob Brown said two odd things that either proved he is some kind of political genius, or was the kind of rhetoric that sets the Greens up for a big fall in the future. My guess is it’s the former now but will be the latter later.
The first was his apparent objection to the proposed merger of the Australian Stock Exchange with the Singaporean Exchange.
The crux of his opposition was that Singapore had executed the young Australian Van Nguyen for drug trafficking in 2005, and this was a militaristic non-democratic state that we should be careful about handing over our stock exchange to.
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Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young had a good idea. Well, it seemed like a good idea. You be the judge, if you can keep watching after the Bob Brown photo moment.
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Rightly or wrongly the Senate is currently standing in the way of a chunk of the Rudd Government’s agenda.
But after Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young suffered what she said was the most “humiliating moment” of her life last night, its been agreed the Senate will debate on Monday the rules over children being allowed into the Chamber. Taxpayer dollars at work.
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