Vote Liberal. Vote Labor. Just Don’t Vote Greens

WITH AN ELECTION imminent, the twin issues of promises and costings are about to take centre stage; Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd — and their proxies — will be subjected to endless scrutiny, but as always, the Greens will be allowed to slip through unchallenged. It’s time this changed, once and for all.

Readers know that I have absolutely no sympathy, time or tolerance for the Communist Party of Australia the Greens; it is a disgusting organisation, with policies rooted somewhere between the lunatic left and la-la land, and operates through an amalgam of pious conceit, moralising hypocrisy, and a complete innocence of any grounding in the real world or of the slightest suggestion of economic competence.

The CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia — Mitch Hooke — has today published an op-ed piece in The Australian, which rather neatly sums up the disconnect between what the Greens say and promise, and how any of it might ever become reality.

Even if the electorate is willing, which — with 11% of the vote in 2010, a share likely to be diminished later this year — it is not.

Readers can access the Hooke article here.

It must be kept in mind that Hooke is a senior minerals and energy industry executive, and that unsurprisingly his article a) centres on issues specific to his industry, and b) represents a case that is highly favourable to the interests and positions held by it.

Even so, he makes a killer point: the major parties attract no end of scrutiny, and that there should be no exceptions to this for any other political outfit seeking office in Australia.

And this brings me to a message I will incorporate to some extent, e’er passively, in my writings between now and election day: if you don’t vote Liberal, don’t waste your vote on minor parties, and whatever you do — don’t vote for the Greens.

The quick outline Hooke makes of the value of various pledges and bribes announced by the Greens and their interminable leader, Christine Milne (which, by the way, has its numbers right) should send a shudder down the spine of any voter contemplating voting for the Greens party.

I take the view that the old argument — that the Greens will never be in a position to implement anything, so they can promise whatever they like in the knowledge they will never be held accountable for it — is and should be redundant.

A sizeable proportion of the trouble the Labor Party now finds itself in where the budget deficit is concerned (but not all of the trouble, mind) is a direct consequence of those of the Greens’ lunatic spending measures that were legislated by the Gillard government as the price of retaining Greens support on other legislation in the Senate.

We’ve had a glimpse of the economic, political and administrative consequences of Greens policies, thanks to the hung Parliament returned three years ago by voters; heaven help Australia if these fruit cakes ever control the levers of government on their own.

No longer can the Greens skip off quietly, scot-free, in the belief they can fly beneath the radar forever, saying whatever they like to win Senate seats and milk public election funding in the name of their wacko Leftist schemes.

And just as the Greens must to be held to account on the fiscal absurdities of their policies, so too must a more concerted effort be made to strip away the veil of misinformation and deception they have crafted around their true nature as a political movement.

This is not a party of harmless, tree-hugging, slightly loopy environmental protesters.

It is a party of the hard Left, whose official platform reads like a Stalin-era blueprint for a country under Communist control, and where ideological purity and pedagogy take precedence over considerations that are practical, practicable, or even realistic.

I hope people enjoy the article by Mitch Hooke, and — as ever — welcome comment, including from those inclined to vote for the Greens.

But this column is my game, and I’m free to advocate whatever I choose.

And that, simply, is this: Vote Liberal. If you can’t vote Liberal, vote Labor. And if you can’t do either then make your own choices, but whatever you do — don’t vote for the Greens!


Pious Sanctimony: Milne Rant Proves Greens’ Unfitness For Office

In an article published in The Australian on Friday, Communist Party Greens leader Christine Milne poses the question, “Politics with integrity or compromising people’s lives?” What follows is essentially a discourse of evidence as to why the Greens are totally unfit for office. 

It’s no surprise, but Senator Milne has written a dishonest, misleading and self-serving piece on behalf of her ghastly party; one which serves to distort the reality and public expectations of various issues, whilst attempting to make mileage from the very things she claims her “caring” party is above the politics of when — in fact — it is as guilty as sin in terms of its attempts to push a narrow and ideologically driven agenda.

You can read the Senator’s article here; we are however going to pick it apart, paragraph by paragraph, and so this could be a lengthy post.

And the politicking starts with the very first sentence: an accusation of ALP disloyalty being a gift to the Liberals, because Sam Dastyari had the temerity to publicly question Labor’s snug relationship with the Greens, followed by moralising waffle about this being typical of the reasons people generally are disaffected with politics in this country.

Well, I’m sorry, Christine — Dastyari and most of his colleagues weren’t even consulted when his leadership foisted its alliance with the Greens on them; it seems only fair that he, and others with more brains than some, should have their say.

Especially as Green policies are killing Labor’s political prospects, Christine. Especially as the Greens killed the prospects in Tasmania of Labor in 1992 and the Liberals in 1998, as state governments that had allied with you went to elections and were slaughtered.

And especially, Christine, since we live in a democracy — something you, yourself, proclaim we should remember how lucky we are to do so.

I think Greens see democracy as a relative concept: appropriate when they get what they want, and an outrage against everything and anything when they don’t.

Remember, this is the party that cooked up the plan to refuse to allow an Abbott government to implement its policies, irrespective of the Liberals’ winning margin next year; I wonder if the likes of Christine Milne — with her stout declaration on democracy — have ever heard the words “popular mandate.”

But I digress. Milne continues:

“Most of us can’t imagine what would make someone so desperate that they would leave everything behind, fleeing persecution or the threat of death, and board a dangerous, overcrowded boat in the hope of a future worth living. But, if we put ourselves in their shoes, we will realise that sending them ‘anywhere else but here’ will not save their lives.”

I’ll tell you what would make people that desperate, Christine: people smugglers. That’s right, the scum of humanity that take the final ducats of the desperate and send them adrift in search of mostly empty promises that can never be delivered.

A bleeding heart and a lot of long-winded babble might be a suitable prerequisite for Greens membership, Christine, but they don’t equate to knowing everything.

And specifically, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that if those desperate people know that there is guaranteed asylum onshore in Australia — as per your naive and ill-informed policies, Christine — it will simply drive more and more people to take the risk. The only winners will be among the human filth who profit from trafficking them.

And on she goes…

“As Indonesian human rights lawyer Febi Yonesta said, people who have no hope and no rights will keep trying to get on boats. The best way to stop people risking their lives is to give them hope of a safer pathway to a better life. That means massively increasing the number of refugees we resettle and the funding we give the UN High Commission for Refugees in Indonesia and Malaysia, working to combat corruption in Indonesian ports, and prioritising safety of life at sea.”

Your mate Febi might be right, Christine, but you certainly aren’t. Where is the causal link between desperate people resorting to desperate measures, and your immediate segue to a purported obligation on Australia to hike the refugee intake, to throw money at Indonesia and Malaysia via the United Nations, and to interfere in domestic governance within Indonesia?

This country already undertakes and maintains a generous refugee resettlement program; we know your party wants Australia’s borders thrown open to all comers, Christine, but remember that democracy we’re all so lucky to live in? Where everyone, just like Sam Dastyari, is allowed to have their opinion?

Well, the bad news for you, Christine, is that the overwhelming majority of your countryfolk do not want the borders thrown open; nor do they want the refugee program exponentially expanded.

Like any good little hardcore Leftie, you like to hide behind the United Nations, don’t you, Christine? The UN might do a lot of good in many ways, but it is not the cornerstone of this country’s immigration policies, and should never become so.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, Christine, your beloved Malaysia has agreed to be a party to an arrangement with the ALP that effectively makes Australia the dumping ground for its own unwanted arrivals. Would you like to elaborate further on how Malaysia figures in your plans, Christine?

Alternatively, perhaps you could outline the Greens’ policy on corruption in Indonesian ports and how you propose to combat it, Christine. I could do with an after-dinner laugh. Needless to say, you haven’t even contemplated the possibility that wars start over the sort of actions that you appear to advocate, Christine.

And she goes on further…

“In the renewed discussion about the choices the Greens make in the parliament, it is disturbing that so much has focused not on whether “compromising” would save lives but on how our choice would affect Labor’s political fortunes. One of the most difficult choices that cross-bench MPs have to make is how far to compromise to deliver outcomes that may bring change for the better for people, as against when to say that the offer on the table will only compromise people’s lives.”

You think you’re clever, don’t you, Christine; that your semantic games will hoodwink just enough people. Of course what the Greens do in parliament is going to be viewed through the prism of Labor’s political fortunes; after all, everything else your party has foisted on the ALP has been political poison. Like the carbon tax.

And I love the little two-step pirouette, Christine; suddenly, you speak merely of “cross-bench MPs” rather than “Greens” in reflecting how far an appropriate compromise might go as opposed to what clearly is your intended message that the Greens are beyond compromise.

For someone who’s been around as long as you have, Christine, I’m surprised you haven’t learnt that politics demands compromise. Not all the time, and not on every issue, but often, it’s the cost of doing business: to get some of what you want, imperfect as it may seem, Christine, as opposed to getting 100% of nothing.

But then again, Christine — speaking philosophically, of course — I’m sure you’d agree that looking back over history, from Soviet Russia and its evil empire to the China of Deng Xiaoping, and to countless other less-prominent but equally hardline regimes across the years and around the world, that socialism really is an inflexible beast, isn’t it, Christine?

It’s much easier to pack your bat and ball and go home; to be obstructive rather than contribute anything meaningful just because — like a spoilt brat wired on red cordial — you can’t get what you want.

Isn’t it, Christine?

Well, perhaps not, because Senator Milne continues with a justification:

“This is a balancing act the Greens take very seriously, cross-examining policy detail, talking to experts and people who will be affected by our decision. We ask: will our choice deliver a better quality of life for people now and into the future, or will it jeopardise it, now or across time?”

This sounds very noble, Christine; in fact, I’d almost be inclined to believe you were it not for the fact that every one of your policies lifts straight out of the hardcore ideology of the hard Left.

Talk the Greens might, Christine, and call the process as balanced as you like, but there’s nothing in your policies for anyone to the right of a social democrat, is there, Christine? There’s 60% of the population gone, at a stroke!

Seriously though, readers, I’m so moved by the Senator’s stated concern to consult, to inform her party of all shades of opinion and of all outcomes, and to be a force for good, that I’m just going to get the Kleenex.

What poppycock…and again, bleeding heart and senseless compassion might be well and noble, but in the real world, utopia doesn’t exist, and the rest of us with feet planted firmly on the ground don’t need the likes of Senator Milne and her band of communists trying to level us out.

On we go again…

“But it is remarkable how many commentators opine that the Greens should have ditched policy evidence and our principles on tackling global warming and protecting refugees, not because we were wrong but because these controversial issues needed to be taken off the political agenda as they damage the ALP.”

Methinks thou doth protest too much, Christine; here you go again, referencing the political damage your policies are inflicting on the Labor Party. Someone has to take responsibility for them, right? Your party held a gun to the ALP’s throat to get a lot of this stuff legislated, Christine. Yet the Greens skip off quietly and let Labor take the rap.

That’s not very sporting is it, Christine?

(And interestingly enough, it’s at this point in her article that Milne skips away from boat arrivals and refugees, and onto global warming).

After all, it’s not smart to stay in the one spot for too long — someone might have time to tear your arguments to shreds if you don’t change the subject. Right, Christine?

And down the new path she skips…

“The idea that the Greens voted down Kevin Rudd’s fatally flawed carbon pollution reduction scheme, or Julia Gillard and Abbott’s proposals, for political reasons, to push away desperate people seeking refuge shows how far away from integrity and reality the old parties have gone.”

Come on, Christine! I’ll slip you the wink and you can give me the nudge, but we both know the Greens voted down all those bills precisely for political reasons.

Then again, part of the Green ruse is to play the “non-politician,” isn’t it Christine? Greens couldn’t possibly be politicians, even if they raise campaign funds, stand at elections, get MPs into Parliament, have their own policies and agendas…

Oooh, wait, the Greens aren’t like the “old parties” are they, Christine? I’ll tell you one thing: they can plagiarise ideas just as well as anyone else.

Perhaps you don’t remember, Christine, but in the British general election debates of 2010, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg coined the phrase “the two old parties;” does this ring any bells, Christine?

Clegg — the leader of a party which is the remnant of the British Liberal Party, dating back to Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount of Palmerston, who was Britain’s first Liberal Prime Minister from 1859 to 1865 — enunciated the pretence that his party was new, when it was nothing of the kind.

Pray tell, Christine, what are the historical roots of your party? It’s not an account of recent history at all, is it, Christine? But plagiarising speeches can be a new skill every day; it’s just a matter of perspective. Wouldn’t you agree, Christine?

And on she runs…

“On climate change, our action has already been vindicated, with the introduction of a price on pollution that is far more ambitious and gives industry far greater certainty than Rudd’s. The $10 billion renewable energy fund and an independent expert body to recommend how fast and deep to cut pollution are benefits the Greens brought to the policy.”

So what are you squawking about, Christine? You got your way on “a price on pollution,” yet you don’t like the scrutiny being focused on Labor’s political prospects? You don’t like the consideration being given to the damage this and other lunatic policies, straight from the Greens’ communist, socialist handbook is doing to your “allies” over at the ALP?

How smug of you to accuse Sam Dastyari of this and that, just because he can see exactly what the lay of the land is. Could it be, Christine, that you lead a party of hypocrisy?

But you are right in your own way, Christine: your carbon tax does give industry far more certainty than the earlier policy of Rudd’s did — it makes the economic damage generally, and the impact on businesses specifically, that much more severe than Rudd’s policy would have done.

That policy was flawed too, Christine, but yours takes all the worst bits of it and makes  them worse again.

Did I mention the notion of heads wedged up rectums, Christine?

I only mention it now, Christine, because you go on to mention an “independent expert body” being a “benefit” of your policy. You and I know, Christine, that the “experts” you allude to are only “experts” if they go along with the “science.”

Anyone else is “a denier,” “a sceptic,” or just plain stupid.

Aren’t they, Christine?

And whilst we’re on it, perhaps you could explain why anyone should believe that the $10 billion renewable energy fund will be anything other than the rest of the so-called green initiatives that have been no more than a massive rort of taxpayer funds, and misspent money to boot: Green Loans, Cash for Clunkers, Pink Batts…just to name a few, Christine.

And then, for a bit of fancy footwork:

“On refugees, the community is recognising that the practical, compassionate and legal plan the Greens have put forward is the one that will save lives, and we are working hard to build the political will to implement it. More and more Australians remember that, despite mythology, after John Howard introduced mandatory indefinite detention, temporary protection visas and deportation to Nauru, 353 people drowned when SIEV X sank. Howard could claim he “stopped the boats” only because he excluded from our immigration zone the parts of our nation refugees came to, “redefining” 1600 asylum-seekers out of existence.”

Hate to contradict you, Christine, but they’re not recognising that at all; the wider public — as has been recorded in countless reputable opinion surveys — blame the government for the problem, they hold the Left generally responsible for the dismantling of Howard’s Pacific Solution, and they are opposed to onshore processing of unauthorised boat arrivals.

Since you raise it — and at the risk of sounding hard of heart to someone as compassionate as yourself — the incident involving the SIEV X illustrated precisely why something had to be done to stop people arriving by boat in this fashion. As I said earlier, to adopt your approach, Christine — to guarantee asylum and processing onshore — will simply ensure many thousand more people will risk their lives to access something you want to offer as standard.

Work to build the political will to implement whatever you like, Christine, but the day the ALP is no longer dependent on you to form a government, your party won’t have the political means with which to implement anything.

Which is probably just as well, given she goes on to say

“The Greens bring integrity to legislative negotiations. From the stimulus package to workplace relations to private health insurance and much more, we have improved and then passed hundreds of bills that made life better for people. Look at the down-payment on our goal of getting dental care into Medicare. See the recent carve-out for green buildings from the increase to overseas investment withholding tax, which has injected $2bn into the construction industry.”

So…from helping rack up billions in foreign debt, turning the clock back 30 years on industrial relations, helping to engineer rising costs of living for Australians in terms of healthcare and from presumably others among the “hundreds of bills” you refer to, Christine, the Greens have made life better for people?

What integrity is there in the deliberate and systematic railroading of the 89% of Australians who didn’t vote Green, Christine? The people who didn’t want, don’t want, and will never want the socialist nirvana your party seeks to inflict on them?

Milne’s remarks conclude thus:

“Despite the attacks, millions of Australians recognise that only the Greens have the integrity to face up to today’s challenges with practical, responsible action.”

Really? As we speak, millions of Australians are lining up to gift the biggest election win in Australian political history to the conservative parties; and based on reputable research, the Green vote is stagnant from the last federal election — and that’s an indictment, given that in ordinary circumstances the Greens would benefit from some of the movement away from Labor, but on this occasion, they aren’t.

People, can I just say that politics is politics; there are good and bad ideas and people and political practitioners, and it doesn’t matter what cloak the bad ones try to don: a bad idea is a bad idea, and the Greens are full of them.

Senator Milne’s article does not lend one shred of credibility to her party, its policies and its actions; but in seeking to put the spotlight on the ALP for daring to consider breaking ranks, she has instead attracted its glare onto her own party.

The Greens may well win the Melbourne by-election in Victoria next weekend; I believe they will do so, but only because there is no Liberal candidate to direct the preferences of 30% of voters somewhere other than to the Green candidate.

In closing, however, I simply say that anybody who believes the type of pap being spouted by Milne and her cronies — not least, the sort of stuff that found its way into The Australian last week — should think again.

And frankly, anyone seriously considering voting for the Greens needs their head examined.


Questionable Preferences: Putting Greens Last A No-Brainer For Labor

Much has been made this week of  whether the ALP should, in future, place the Communist Party Greens last on future how-to-vote cards; I say this is not simply a no-brainer, but that it goes nowhere near far enough. The Greens must be removed from Australian Parliaments.

It may surprise many readers to find me not only agreeing with an ALP apparatchik and henchman, but advocating a position that goes much further down the same path as the one that was initially proposed.

The NSW state secretary of the Labor Party, Sam Dastyari, has said the party should consider preferencing the Greens last at the looming federal election, describing them as “extremists not unlike One Nation,” saying that Labor must “stop treating them like they are part of (our) family.”

Dastyari will move a motion at next weekend’s NSW ALP Conference calling for the automatic allocation of preferences to Greens candidates to be discontinued; the motion apparently comes with a declaration that “extreme elements” of the Greens’ agenda “are at odds with the values…of many Labor voters.”

His declaration, if followed through upon and moved in those terms, is correct.

But more to the point, elements of the Greens’ agenda — extreme or otherwise — are at odds with the values and needs of almost all voters, not just those of Labor stripe.

Ted Baillieu — a Liberal — pulled off a surprise victory at the 2010 state election in Victoria; in part, this was generally attributed to a refusal by the Liberal Party to allocate preferences to the Greens ahead of the ALP across the state.

The Greens had refused to preference Coalition candidates in Victoria; in return, Baillieu’s campaign returned the favour by refusing to place the Greens ahead of Labor on how-to-vote cards.

And significantly, Baillieu stated publicly that preferencing the Greens was a one way street; for years, Greens candidates had been only too willing to accept preferences from the Coalition parties, but had mostly refused to allocate preferences to the Coalition and — in the vast majority of the historically small number of instances in which the Greens did not preference Labor — instead issued open preference tickets.

In other words, whichever way you look at it, the Liberals got nothing.

Which is why Dastyari is clearly onto something. In venting his apparent frustration toward the Greens, he says — and I quote him here from The Weekend Australian

“The Greens…take the Labor Party for granted…they have put us in a position where sometimes anywhere else would be better with our preferences, and that includes even the Coalition.” (My bolding added).

The Greens took the Liberals and the Nationals for granted for years, too, over the allocation of preferences until a stop was put to it in Victoria; now it seems some in the ALP are awake to the game as well.

On one level, they certainly should be; the Greens aren’t so much a parasite as a creeping fungus, cloaking and choking the life out of its host. But on another, this is the Labor Party we are talking about, and there is ample evidence that many in the ALP simply do not recognise the problem and refuse to see the danger, let alone address it.

To kill two birds with the one stone, it is of course necessary to look no further than the present government in Canberra to see the damage the Greens are capable of inflicting and the inability and/or unwillingness of the federal ALP to do anything about it.

Fortified by Labor preferences and armed with a hung Parliament, the Greens emerged from the 2010 federal election with the balance of power in the Senate and a critical vote in the House of Representatives obtained by winning the traditionally safe Labor electorate of Melbourne (incidentally, on Liberal Party preferences).

Desperate to hold onto power at virtually any cost — and this is an old story now — Julia Gillard cobbled together a hotchpotch alliance to enable her to form a government; whilst the key to that deal was securing the votes of Independent MHRs, its bedrock was the coalition agreement she entered into with the Greens.

The deal effectively secured a Senate majority and put Labor within reach of the lower house once key Independents signed on. Thus, Gillard and her government are beholden to the Greens.

To recognise the damage the Greens have since inflicted on the ALP, it is first necessary to look beyond the damage the ALP has inflicted upon itself; the professionalism that characterised the Labor Party of the Hawke-Keating era is long gone, replaced with a return to the mediocrity and ineptitude that symbolised Labor for decades.

The Greens might be “at odds” with the values of the Labor Party, but the Labor Party itself doesn’t exactly do a great deal to advance those values itself these days — whatever those values actually are.

Even so, virtually every major policy debacle afflicting the Gillard government has been, at best, exacerbated by the Greens.

At worst, these fiascos have been directly engineered by the Greens in ruthless exercise of their power over an abject government desperate to cling to office: firstly in the name of doing “whatever it takes,” and now to stave off the approaching electoral annihilation Labor faces for as long as possible.

For example, the carbon tax. A broken Gillard promise, yes, but this was a condition upon which Greens’ support for the government was predicated; no carbon tax, no coalition agreement.

And whilst inconceivable that the Greens would ever support a Liberal government, or Tony Abbott as Prime Minister, the ALP capitulated on this condition in return for a guarantee of support on matters of confidence and supply.

To make this worse, the level at which the carbon tax was set — $23 per tonne — is recognised (by those who support such mechanisms as an emissions reduction measure) as being well above an appropriate level based on “world standards,” which would suggest a price of $10 per tonne would be more appropriate. Yet the high starting price was largely dictated by the Greens.

And to compound this folly even further, senior figures in the government are now examining the prospect of modifying the carbon tax by reducing the price per tonne as a possible means of salving the political fury it has caused; whilst these discussions proceed — possibly as part of a wider move to change the Labor leadership again — the Greens are using the opportunity to attempt to raise the tonnage price even further.

Whilst such endeavours are unlikely to succeed, the scope for even greater political damage to be inflicted on the ALP is obvious.

To use another example, look no further than the mess which currently exists around the issues of unauthorised boat arrivals, asylum seekers, and people smuggling.

In its obsession with abandoning Howard government policies and its stubborn refusal to admit error in doing so, Labor under Kevin Rudd foolishly and ill-advisedly dismantled the so-called Pacific Solution; fast-forward four years from that event, and we now see boats arriving at will carrying thousands of asylum seekers each year.

The abolition of the Howard policy was cheered on (and waved through the Senate) by the Greens; now they have rendered Gillard incapable of achieving any meaningful resolution to the problems this caused by refusing to support any approach that includes the processing offshore of asylum seekers.

It is not unreasonable for the opposition — armed with a policy that was clearly effective for several years — to refuse to support Gillard’s half-baked schemes on this issue, especially those involving countries that were never told of arrangements supposedly made in their name (East Timor) or making five-for-one swaps that serve the interests of those countries far more than they do Australia’s (Malaysia).

But it is entirely reasonable for the Greens, as a formal coalition partner to the ALP, to be expected to reach agreement with its government ally in formulating, presenting and legislating a solution — even if such a package were to prove a failure, or be repealed by a future conservative government.

The simple fact is that on this issue, as with so many others, the Greens simply cherry-pick what is of interest to them, and dump the remaining crises in the Labor Party’s lap along with the political rancour that goes with them.

And Labor — under Julia Gillard, at least — cannot or will not deal with those issues, the Greens in particular, or the consequent political damage generally.

Having regard to all I have thus far said, Dastyari is dead right — his party must not only throw off the shackles of its alliance with the Greens, but go the next step and refuse to allocate preferences to them.

It has already done so, in the forthcoming by-election for the state seat of Melbourne, vacated by former Bracks/Brumby government minister Bronwyn Pike; the Liberal Party is not standing a candidate, and Labor is directing preferences to Family First over the Greens’ candidate, Melbourne City Councillor Cathy Oke.

The reactions from the Greens range between moral indignation and outrage, and with the very clear suggestion that in placing a Family First candidate ahead of Oke on their preference ticket, Labor has somehow breached the absolute limits of decent and ethically permissible political conduct; that not preferencing Oke is tantamount to a criminal offence, or something to be burnt at the stake for in days gone by.

The decision was described by Greens MHR Adam Bandt as “a dirty deal;” the rhetoric around Green preferences is one thing, but the reality is something else altogether.

Says Dastyari:

“The Greens are to the Left what Pauline Hanson and One Nation are to the Right, and they share ridiculous, albeit different, economic agendas. With Bob Brown’s departure, I can’t see how the Greens have any chance of keeping extremism in check…If I had to share a caucus room with the likes of Lee Rhiannon (Senator elected in 2010 and a former propaganda writer for the USSR), I would have walked out too.”

Here we get very near the mark; Dastyari is bang on the money, and it speaks volumes that not only is his call for distancing the Greens made with no collaboration from his federal counterparts, but that those same federal colleagues appear incapable of recognising exactly what their so-called friends at the Greens really are.

They are not a party of the mainstream, but rather of the lunatic fringe; their left-wing agenda, similarly, sits not within the mainstream Left but on the hard Left.

They are not a party of democracy; look no further than the scheme proposed by Bob Brown to deny a future Liberal government the right to implement its election promises as the simple proof of that.

And they are not a party of the environment, but a party preoccupied with rolling back personal responsibility and freedom of choice, of rolling back national security and defence policy and replacing them with open and unrestricted borders, and of social issues such as gay marriage and multiculturalism that have nothing to do with the environment in any way, shape or form.

To me, it’s a no-brainer to put the Greens last on preference tickets, be they Labor, Liberal, or those of any other candidate.

I agree with Dastyari’s assessment that the Greens represent for the Left the same type of major and potentially existential problem that One Nation posed to the Right.

The big difference — insidiously — is that the slick Greens outfit is possessed of the political smarts and strategies that Hanson and her acolytes so obviously lacked, with the result that hundreds of thousands of people cast Green votes at every election in the belief they are voting for the environment, or strategically as a check on the major parties, or similar, when in fact they are simply perpetuating a massive and highly dangerous ruse.

I don’t just think the Greens should be preferenced last by all other comers; I also think it’s time to reform the electoral process to make it far harder for fringe groups like the Greens to establish a foothold in this country’s Parliaments at all.

Specifically, the establishment of thresholds (especially in the Senate and state upper houses) as exist in many countries abroad, by which parties not achieving, say, 7.5% of primary vote are excluded from eligibility to be elected on preferences; the abolition of compulsory preferential voting across Australia; tying the availability of public election funding for minor parties directly to the achievement of the primary vote thresholds I mentioned earlier; and legislating to force any registered political party with at least one sitting member of Parliament to face the same degree of scrutiny in terms of fiscal auditing and probity of conduct as is required of the major parties at present.

In short, to remove the advantage the Greens hold of being able to say whatever they like, to promise whatever they like, free from any accountability apart from the broad provisions of the current applicable electoral acts, whilst riding into Parliament on a fraction of the vote to hold the country to ransom with the resultant balance of power.

So I say to Sam Dastyari: good luck! For once, a Labor backroom boy has it dead right.

And I say to all readers who may be Greens voters — and, indeed, to any Australian contemplating voting for them — to do their research on the likes of Lee Rhiannon and other dubious figures in the “Green” movement; get hold of their platform, read it thoroughly, and don’t believe for a minute any promise by any Greens politician that what you read in their platform will never be implemented.

Policy platforms are not published as coffee table items; the Greens’ platform is no different in that respect. Given the chance, everything in the Greens’ manifesto would be implemented, and that is a very, very scary prospect.

And that’s the point. We are not talking here about an organisation that is harmless, or possessed of high and worthy ideals, a “safe spot” to park a protest vote or — God forbid — a movement preoccupied with the advancement of environmental issues.

Simply stated, the Greens are mad, bad, and dangerous.

And that is one reality which really does transcend the cross-political divide.


Preparing For Opposition? Labor Contemplates Tossing Greens Overboard

Suicidal or crazy-brave? It was reported at the weekend that senior ALP figures are advising Julia Gillard to cut the party’s ties with the Greens; some of them apparently see this course of action as a masterstroke, when in reality it will simply hasten Labor’s return to opposition.

In what must rank as one of the most delusional political news stories to appear in print in this country in some years, Samantha Maiden reported in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph yesterday that pressure was being brought to bear on the Prime Minister to abandon Labor’s coalition relationship with the Communist Party Greens, and to “distance” the Labor Party from them.

Readers well know what I think (or more accurately, how lowly I think) of the Greens; little more than communists masquerading as democratic socialists, their hard-left policy prescriptions are at best downright dangerous, and at worst, a recipe for uncontrolled economic and social chaos.

And despite the fact the ALP — as a party of the mainstream centre-left — obviously is and was always far closer to the ALP in ideological and philosophical terms to the Coalition, “closer” does not equal similar.

“Democratic Socialism” and Social Democracy are not the same thing.

Julia Gillard has many problems to contend with, including some of her own making; her alliance with the Greens falls into that latter category, with the resultant unreconstructed, hard-core left-wing policies she has been forced to implement at the behest of the Greens contributing to the disintegration of the ALP’s electoral support.

It was primarily for these reasons — along with the lack of foresight as to the consequences — that I was surprised when Gillard announced Labor had signed a coalition agreement with the Greens.

Aside from anything else, it was unnecessary; the Greens have voted to water down and defeat anything they either haven’t liked or have felt didn’t go far enough for them, which they would have done anyway; at virtually all other times they have sided with the ALP.

Maiden reports in her piece in the Tele that Labor figures believe the government should cut its ties with the Greens and call an election “if parliament becomes unworkable.”

Despite an apparent concession that the ALP is not ready to fight a campaign for a snap election, these unnamed figures believe Gillard has — and I quote — “prepared an insurance plan if Labor is forced to the polls by a no-confidence motion or a by-election loss.”

This beggars belief and defies all conventional wisdom, but that insurance policy — and you may not have guessed it — just happens to be the carbon tax.

As the story goes, the “cash splash” from the budget (read: carbon tax-funded largesse in the form of pork-barrelling bribes) means that certain groups in the community will begin receiving lump sum payments as early as next month; come 1 July, there will be lots of extra money for just about everyone.

At least, that seems to be the thinking.

The Labor Party appears to at least be exhibiting enough of a sense of realism to finally contemplate the very real possibility that an election may become unavoidable.

However, the logic seems to become confused when applied to a specific course of action, and when a timeframe is canvassed.

According to Maiden, some figures in Labor’s NSW Right indicated there was a “real question” about whether the parliament would become so unworkable an election was the only option. One apparently offered the pithily rhetorical question that “why do you put a dog down that could live in pain for another two years?”

Others, as mentioned earlier, speak of an election arising from a by-election defeat or the loss of a confidence vote; other figures again — displaying a more cautious contemplation of an early election — talk of the “risk” of an election that a return to Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister would entail.

And still others again are reported as suggesting an election would, essentially, be a good idea; holding on to office by the proverbial fingernails at the whim of “conservative independents” is apparently enough for these types to actively consider taking their chances at the ballot boxes.

Yet the only thing that seems to be viewed as a positive heading into such an election campaign — irrespective of who or what is ultimately the trigger for it — is the money about to be shovelled around from the carbon tax.

And this is dangerous ground indeed.

Just as there is unimpeachable evidence of the fury within the electorate over Gillard’s breach of her promise that there would be “no carbon tax under the government I lead” and her subsequent legislation of precisely such a measure, there is also ample evidence that not one cent promised under so-called “compensation arrangements” has yet swayed a single vote toward the Labor cause.

Yes, there is a Newspoll out tonight for tomorrow’s Australian (which we may look at in detail tomorrow night, depending on what the day brings) which shows a slight recovery in Labor’s polling numbers.

But this poll also shows the ALP nonetheless losing to the Liberals, 45-55 after preferences; still enough of a swing for the Coalition to capture almost half of Labor’s seats at an election. The 3% movement to the ALP in tonight’s Newspoll is also within the margin of statistical error for this poll, which means it may well be overstated.

And this particular Newspoll also comes at a time when Essential Research and Nielsen have both also published post-budget opinion findings that put the Coalition two to three percentage points further ahead of Labor after preferences; it is possible tonight’s Newspoll is a rogue.

The simple truth — based on an objective reading of the current political landscape and taking into account every aspect of all relevant issues — is that the ALP cannot and will not win the forthcoming election by campaigning either on a carbon tax directly or on the supposed “benefits” that are set to flow from it in the form of fists full of dollars.

Which brings up, rather neatly, the key question: is Labor being suicidal, or crazy-brave? Of course, if it’s forced to an election involuntarily, the question becomes moot.

But to be sitting, consistently, between ten and twenty percentage points behind the Liberals in every reputable opinion poll in the country, and to then contemplate going early, and voluntarily, to face the electorate says to me that the ALP is either desperate to get to the opposition benches to begin the long and painful task of rebuilding, or it is suicidal.

For reasons partially based on integrity and the principles of responsible government, and partly through personal political preference with an eye on the polls, I’d love a federal election to be announced. Forthwith.

But I am as far removed from the ALP, on every conceivable level, as anyone involved in mainstream politics in this country could ever be.

Does the Labor Party have a death wish?

It seems like a rather odd discussion to be going on inside that party; and it seems a little strange that it has been so openly available to be reported upon.

I think Labor is merely trying to ensure its bases are all covered, but in the end, it really won’t matter.

If the carbon tax and its ghastly goodies are all the ALP has left to fight with, then whenever the inevitable election comes along, it will be headed for a flogging.

And it won’t matter a jot whether the Greens remain in harness at that point or not.

The damage, deliciously, has already been done, and it’s too late to turn back now.

What do you think?

Back In The Saddle

Having found myself in hospital a week and a half ago — and having stayed there for a week — it’s inevitable that The Red And The Blue has been, well, an inactive place for the past couple of weeks.

A small number of readers known to me personally are aware of what has been going on; to the rest of you can I simply say that I am fine (in some pain, but recovering strongly), and that I have missed the discussion here as much as all of you no doubt have missed the forum we have had going here for almost a year now.

In any case, I am back: ready to recommence the daily musings on all things political and the goings-on in the world of governance that affect us all.

I will be covering a few of the issues that have come to pass during my time “off air.”

Prior to being hospitalised I was about to publish a wrap on the Queensland election, which I will still do (indeed, my pendulum looks a bit of a sorry sight on its own without an article behind it!); the departure of former Communist Party Greens leader Bob Brown from his leadership position and soon the Senate also merits the application of the blowtorch.

And then there are the breaking issues…Peter Slipper, never a favourite of this column, has hit the headlines again today for all of the wrong reasons. The Red And The Blue has some special treatment in store for Slippery Pete in the next day or two.

And of course…the new week will bring fresh polls and fresh breaking stories in the world of Australian politics, and beyond.

And it may bring new developments in older issues…Craig Thomson and his credit card scandals, perhaps?

So my heartiest apologies for the absence; there isn’t much I can do when confronted with a sudden bout of serious illness! It’s harder again to do anything at all when my iPad can’t pick up much signal inside the hospital, thereby ruling out even the most cursory of brief comment articles.

I look forward to you all getting back into the swing with me; as we kick off again please get those comments coming; and as always, if you enjoy the discussion here (or if it irritates the shit out of every fibre of your being), then spread the word…and don’t forget, you can follow me on Twitter @theredandblue

Here we go…back in the saddle! I should have an initial post up very late this evening.

Thanks for your support,




Something In The Water? Unbelievable New Poll Floats Gillard’s Boat

There’s a new poll, out tonight — a Nielsen one — which has the ALP rapidly closing the gap on the Coalition, and within striking distance of winning an election. With some thanks to other quarters for the prompt, this stinks of being a “rogue poll.”

This is…well…it’s frankly unbelievable; Gillard and Labor closing to within 53-47 of the Coalition is completely implausible after the week and a half that has just played out in federal politics.

Yet that is precisely what Nielsen’s latest survey is reporting.

This is after a week in which the Prime Minister’s office was directly implicated in a plot to foment a riot on Australia Day; after a week in which the ALP has bordered on ripping itself apart over the question of its own leadership; the first Nielsen poll since Gillard underlined her fundamental dishonourability and trustworthiness by giving Andrew Wilkie a two-fingered salute; and after a summer break which has ended — by near-universal consensus in mainstream journalism and commentary — that Tony Abbott has had his most positive-looking and Prime Ministerial month since the 2010 election.

According to Nielsen, primary votes are now ALP 33% (+4%), Coalition 45% (-4%), Communists Greens 13% (+2), and “Others” 9% (-2%).

Gillard’s approval is now 40% (+5%) and disapproval at 55% (-3%).

Abbott’s approval is at 41% (unch) and disapproval at 54% (+1%).

Strangely, Nielsen finds Gillard at 48% (+6%) on the “preferred PM” measure to Tony Abbott on 46% (unch).

But most ridiculously, it records the federal ALP’s two-party vote in Victoria at 55% (+7%) to the Coalition’s 45% (-7%).

Er…what is wrong with this picture?

Far be it for me to attack a set of numbers posted by a reputable polling company (and AC Nielsen is reputable); but there is something very wrong here.

It isn’t the movement to Labor that has attracted my attention; rather the complete flatlining of Abbott’s numbers in terms of leadership approval and “preferred PM” whilst his disapproval rises on both counts.

It seems a bit convenient.

Viewed against the backdrop of the goings-on of the past week or two, these numbers don’t make sense.

Can it seriously be suggested that after the lies, the stumbles, the mismanagement and the sheer volatility in its own party in the last month that voters are now suddenly switching on to the ALP?

I don’t believe for a minute Nielsen has simply published the numbers Labor would like to see.

For a start, their poll still has the Coalition winning an election.

But I find it inconceivable that this could be accurate; I speak to hundreds of people each week in my various roles and — with a few notably staunch exceptions — the mood toward the federal government has been hardening since Christmas.

But I would question where this poll has been conducted; it smells a little of the Broadmeadows/Blacktown/Woodridge bouquet that will always put a little rosy cheer into a Labor cheek.

And if that doesn’t explain it, I’d view the motives of the respondents with deep, deep suspicion — perhaps there’s an emerging trend of game-playing going on, in the same way for example that voters in the UK are well aware of the concept of “tactical voting” and behave accordingly.

Having said all of that, I don’t for a minute believe Nielsen’s poll is accurate.

Before anyone attacks me as spouting Liberal Party propaganda, or trying to spin these numbers favourably toward the conservatives, just ask a simple question: has the performance of the Gillard government, Gillard herself, the shenanigans of Kevin Rudd or the performance of her office done anything in the last month to merit the most favourable opinion poll Labor has seen in more than a year?

I didn’t think so…


Back In The Saddle! First Poll for 2012 — Essential, 54-46 Coalition

Happy New Year! Before we get back into it, I would like to wish all of my readers and Twitter followers a safe and prosperous 2012…and so here we are: The Red And The Blue, barring illness or impediments like ISP issues, returns for 4-6 articles per week.

The first federal opinion poll for the year has appeared this afternoon; Essential Research shows an unchanged two-party lead of 54-46 to the Coalition.

Interestingly, the poll records a 1% increase in the Coalition primary vote since the previous survey in December, to 48%; this could reflect a trendline increase in Coalition support, or it could simply account for the fact that all other parties/independents see their primary support unchanged according to this particular survey, in which primary votes add up to 100% for a change.

Perhaps unsurprisingly — given the silly season tends to treat politicians fairly nicely — both Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott see their personal approval ratings increase slightly, and their disapproval ratings slightly abate.

And on the question of “preferred PM” Gillard holds her ground at 39%, with Abbott gaining one point to 36%.

I wouldn’t read too much into these numbers.

Clearly, the overall trend of the past 18 months — the Coalition being on course to record a crushing election win — is undisturbed by Essential’s findings.

And in that context, the rest of the figures don’t mean very much. Yes, Gillard is unpopular, but it’d doubtful whether any of her colleagues would do better; Abbott’s ratings aren’t flash either, but it’s his job to tear this government down, and he is doing it by opposing rather than glib slogans and smarmy stunts, which is the ALP’s traditional approach to opposition.

And just remember, when Abbott took the Liberal leadership on two years ago, it was the Coalition staring down the barrel of 60/40 electoral Armageddon — and that should be remembered in any wholistic assessment of his tactics and strategy.

I don’t in any way seek to mitigate this poll — but it is the first one for the year; clearly in the next few weeks, we will hear from Newspoll, Galaxy and Nielsen. We may, in fact, hear from them very soon; my point is that it will take a little time to re-establish the trend line to make the findings of all of these polls meaningful in a qualitative sense.

Having said all of that, I’d be happier with these numbers if I was Tony Abbott than if I was Julia Gillard. The voting figures favour the Liberals, movement on the preferred PM count favours Abbott despite his continued (albeit narrowed) deficit here, and the personal approval figures are a zero net sum game.

We will see…

And now that we’re all back for 2012, as I said at the outset, The Red And The Blue is also back for a big year; I will be having a preliminary look at the imminent Queensland state election tomorrow, and we will keep an eye on the Republican primaries in the US.

Assuming, that is, that there aren’t interruptions like scandals, other polls, or breaking news stories. But those of us who are interested in, or involved with, or addicted to, political life know that anything can simply happen at any time…

A big welcome back to all. Thanks for the growing support in 2011. I think we’ll have a great year in 2012 chewing the fat.