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The Forum > Article Comments > Greens' growth fuels progressive hopes, brings challenges > Comments

Greens' growth fuels progressive hopes, brings challenges : Comments

By Stuart Munckton, published 28/7/2011

Greens policies often enjoy wide public support, but powerful corporate interests have opposed them hysterically.

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And thus Stuart you demonstrate the dilemma facing (i) the Greens and (ii) anyone considering supporting them at a future election.

(i) they have enough Senate seats (for now) to enable a Government to pass legislation, but at what cost to their consensus based principles, and thus at what cost to their support base?

(ii) having reached these giddy heights of "political potency" (is that sexist?, oh well, let's check at the next branch meeting, that should chew up a few hours) they must now illustrate to the people they want to support them at the next election precisely how it is they can put their policy platform into effect without devastating our economy.

I won't prejudge them on this. I seriously want them to put in the time to get their policies independently costed so we can compare apples with apples at the next poll.

If they cannot (or will not) do this then I know they are destined for political obscurity as a protest vote - which may not be such a bad thing if they wish to remain so pure of purpose and not become mixed up in the day-to-day grubbiness of political compromise.

Antony Green's blog has an excellent analysis of the prospect for a double dissolution before the next scheduled election - basically slim to nil. BUT he sees the next lower house election the same way I do. Baseball bats will be the order of the day and I think the next Parliament will see a lower house very much at odds with the upper house. Bingo, double dissolution and the potential end of the "Green Spring" (my term but feel free to use it).

Now, is all this so bad? Do we really need The Greens in Parliament to effect social and economic change that is rational and long term for the benefit of ourselves and our planet? I'm not convinced we do and nothing I read in their (fairly vacuous though at times down-right loony) policy documents makes me think my view will change any time soon.

Looking forward to baseball season.
Posted by bitey, Thursday, 28 July 2011 9:35:57 AM
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The Greens face a classic dilemma: Either make sensible compromises or do no deals on principle. Sometimes a no deal will be absolutely the right decision to take.

However, on most occassions, it will be necessary to make less than perfect deals, negotiating the best deal possible, as with the carbon tax. In coming years, they can ramp up incentives for renewables and work to achieve an ambitious long term emission reduction target as that train makes its difficult journey from the station.

The important process for political survival is to explain to the public why deals were done and what were the public interest risks of doing no deal.

The 'deal or no deal' argements are raging in the United States over what should be in and out of deficit reduction driven by hardball ideological positions, dismay at how to reduce a massive 14 trillion dollar debt ceiling in the long term and the immediate concern of the economic fallout of an impending US debt default.

Sadly our political system is increasingly gridlocked too. Long term survival will be strengthened if the Greens have a background narrative on our broken Federal system of government and explain that better policies and a fairer wealth allocation and a reduction of bad taxes such as payroll and other state taxes can only come with a complete overhaul of our constitution, abolition of state governments, empowering local communities with more resonsibilies and reform our baseball bat style of Australian politics by reforming our model of democracy.

We need the Greens to call on Australians to rethink the wisdom of emulating the mechanations of the failed political system of the United States of America. Our main parties seem happy to follow Republican and Democrat party tactics to the nth degree, and by so doing, infecting our body politics with their self serving, extreme partisan processes that hold no hope of compromise and which lead to extreme sovereign risk and a trashed international reputation. The Greens are our only ray of hope, they must not fail us.
Posted by Quick response, Thursday, 28 July 2011 10:45:31 AM
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Ay, there's the rub.

>>...provided the Greens do not allow themselves to get sucked into focusing purely on the parliamentary game.<<

It is the cornerstone of our society that we i) elect representatives to parliament and ii) those representatives get to organize things. This is the essence of the "parliamentary game" that the article observes to be problematic for the Greens.

In order to get elected, you need policies that are acceptable to the electorate. So far, the Greens have persuaded around one eighth of us to vote for them, some of whom may have actually read those policies, and some of whom are simply sick of the sight of Gillbott and Abbard.

The only way to prevent one's party from being "sucked in" is to remain true to one's principles, as the author points out. Unfortunately, of the examples presented, the Tasmanian, German and Irish Greens all compromised... but lo! ACT's Greens did not!

Which is fortunate. Otherwise, how would we see them in action properly in their own right...

"22nd July 2011 1:49 pm
Greens Planning spokesperson, Caroline Le Couteur MLA, says Glebe Park should be kept fully in-tact [sic] and not have a car park built on it at the Convention Centre end."


Sadly, Mr Green-Left-Weekly, politics is as politics does. A minority Party, supported by a minority of the population, is unlikely to enable legislation that the major Party, supported by the majority of the people, will not.

And for the forseeable future, we are going to have to live with that.

I hope.
Posted by Pericles, Thursday, 28 July 2011 10:55:46 AM
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As a swinging Liberal-Labour voter, I voted for the Greens in the last election simply because I was soooo disgusted with both the Liberal & Labour parties. The Greens, I felt, would be able to bring some genuine balance of power to our bankrupt Lib-Lab parties. Gillard's back-stabbing of the then PM (Rudd) was viewed as treachery and I couldn't bring myself to vote for her. Abbott was the negative obstructionist, not the opposition leader and could not bear to have his old-fashioned religious values given a national stage. At least Dr Bob Brown was a more sane, calm and trustworthy party leader.

Bring Turnbull in (opposition leader)and the land-slide victory for the Libs at the nest election would be mind-boggling. But sadly the Liberals are so divided that they will ‘cut their nose to spite their face’. Turnbull is the leader that Australians need
Posted by Jolly, Friday, 29 July 2011 12:17:19 AM
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