It’s interesting what happens when the lunar fringe gets a whiff of power and begins to flex its muscles, isn’t it?
I don’t propose to chart the course of the Greens’ dizzying rise from irrelevance to balance-of-power holders in the Senate (except for saying that if the Australian Democrats were still available as a destination for protest votes, the Greens would still be polling less than 2% of the national vote) but I do want to make a few comments on their recent behaviour.
It’s not encouraging.
In the last fortnight, there have been reports across the mainstream press of Bob Brown complaining that he and the Greens have been receiving unfair coverage from the media.
Well, suck it up: the Greens wanted to be a major party, and now they’re being treated like one. Through their leader, Bob Brown, they openly have stated for a long time that they are “here to replace the major parties.” But media scrutiny is something they don’t want.
The rest of us — Liberal, National, Labor, or whoever else — understand that whilst media scrutiny isn’t always fair, sometimes it’s also favourable, but that in 100% of cases, it’s mandatory.
Without it, there wouldn’t be a functional democratic system.
The platform of the Greens isn’t an environmental program; it’s an ideological one, and one which rates on the political spectrum somewhere between socialism and communism.
We already know they don’t like the media scrutiny coming their way. I wonder why.
This is a party that wants to tax hell out of everything, remove cars from society, abandon use of all fossil fuels, disarm the defence forces, institute an “open border” policy on immigration, decriminalise all drugs, double foreign aid, redistribute wealth and kill private enterprise and capitalistic endeavour, and a whole stack of other stuff that is pretty scary to even countenance.
Today, however, they have crossed a line — and it’s time the people who vote for them took notice.
Bob Brown has been reported in The Australian this afternoon as saying that should Tony Abbott and the Liberal/National Parties win the next election on a platform of repealing a carbon tax, and should the Greens continue to hold the balance of power in the Senate, they would vote the legislation to repeal the tax down.
On one level, that’s fair enough: one of the many things politics is about is numbers, and if they have the numbers in the Senate, they have the literal right to vote things down as they see fit.
Indeed, the conservative parties did precisely that during the 2007-2010 parliament on selected bills, and were largely vindicated in the end by the fact that they failed to oust a first-term government at the polls at the first opportunity with a moderately large swing toward them.
But this is different, though: were Abbott to win, in the current political environment it would be inarguable that his policy to repeal a carbon tax was the galvanising issue.
On that basis, a decision by the Greens to block the legislation would be to deny a government’s mandate at the time it is strongest: at the point of its initial election.
Brown seems to think he has a mandate for a carbon tax — he doesn’t. 11% of the electorate voted for his party. It is pure ideological dogma on his part.
Another 38% voted for Labor, which promised not to introduce a carbon tax.
44% voted for the Coalition, which certainly did not offer a carbon tax.
So at least 82% of the electorate voted for parties explicitly not offering the tax Bob Brown now says he will never vote to rescind.
So much for democracy.
But it gets better. Brown wants to widen the mining tax to include uranium and gold, and claims that if a carbon tax is introduced “after all of our work on behalf of the Australian people” that he and the Greens would “defend that outcome.”
An outcome engineered by holding a minority Labor government — so very desperate to hold onto office at any price — by the balls and squeezing as hard as possible.
An outcome that would go a long way towards killing the mining industry in Australia at the cost of tens of thousands of jobs directly, as mining markets are lost to other countries, and at the cost of hundreds of thousands more jobs as a result of the economic slump it would lead to.
But the real issue is this: Bob Brown and his Green Party are happy for elections to happen and happy to abide by the result, so long as they get what they want.
It doesn’t matter what the majority of the public want: as Brown said today, “this is of course central to the Greens, so as long as we draw breath…we will defend it.”
So there you have it. If Brown gets what he wants from Gillard in her weakened, desperate and terminal position, it stands. It doesn’t matter what you, Joe Public, think about it. And it certainly doesn’t matter to Brown and his commie mates who or what you vote for.
I think it has a distinctly Stalinistic flavour to it. What do you think?