Calling The Greens Out: Is It Hypocrisy, Or Just Incompetence?

THE GREENS — that sanctimonious, pious bastion of hard socialism and the far Left, clad in a tattered facade of “principled” rhetoric — have been caught out again; masquerading as the friend of families with a “policy” on paid maternity leave, their hypocritical cant is damned by the devil in the detail.

I read with great interest today an uncritical article on The Guardian‘s Australian website which trumpeted the announcement of the Communist Party’s Greens’ paid parental leave scheme, with the immediate thought that anybody inclined to take “the news” at face value could almost be forgiven for being sucked into such an obvious fraud.

The Guardian is entirely correct in pointing out that the scheme announced by Greens leader Christine Milne and the repellent (and electorally doomed) Senator Sarah Hanson-Young appears to be broadly similar to that of the Coalition.

Indeed, based on what is reported, a bottle of white-out and the amendment of a few figures could virtually change the Coalition policy into the Greens’ one.

But it is the omissions from the announcement and the coverage — and the haughtily holier-than-thou proclamations from the Greens accompanying them — that tell the story.

It isn’t so long ago that the Greens — with Milne and Hanson-Young at the forefront of the attack — pilloried the Abbott scheme, which provides for new mothers to be paid the equivalent of six months’ salary at their normal rate, up to an income cap of $150,000 per annum, and which could be taken over twelve months if desired by the new parent.

Now, the Greens are all for such a scheme: hardly a surprise when reputable polling indicates they are likely to lose two and possibly three Senate spots at the coming election, including the regrettable Hanson-Young’s, and seem ready to abandon their “principles” to chase votes with a barrel of pork.

But the Greens’ policy is different and, of course, it’s superior to and “fairer” than the corresponding policies of both Labor and the Coalition.

(Those Greens are legendary in their pursuit of fairness for families; just witness their rabid determination to ramp up cost of living expenses for households as far as possible).

The Greens’ policy sets the threshold $50,000 lower than the Coalition policy does; it is their prerogative to do so, although the bombastic barb from Milne that “Labor’s (18 week, $622 per week) scheme scrapes together the bare minimum without superannuation whilst Tony Abbott’s plan is inequitable” seems rich coming from a group that would throw the country’s borders open to anyone and everyone at taxpayers’ expense, whilst seeking to make it impossible for those same taxpayers to afford to live here in the first place.

Like the Coalition policy, the Greens propose to impose a 1.5% levy on companies with taxable income of over $5 million per annum to pay for the plan.

Unlike the Coalition, the Greens’ policy also calls for “government contributions” of $1.9 billion over four years to help fund it.

Milne and Hanson-Young were clearly on form during their press conference.

“Paid parental leave is too important to be treated like a welfare handout. Australia needs to follow…other countries and link it to a person’s actual pay,” Hanson-Young thundered, apparently innocent of the fact the Liberal proposal aspires to do just that, and obviously seeking to sound a dog whistle nobody has ever heard from her on the culture of welfare.

Milne echoed the macho-style sentiment, declaring that paid parental leave was a workplace right, not a welfare payment.

Abbott — whom Greens have previously lambasted over paid maternity leave as entrenching class and income disparities, and favouring the rich over the poor, is now simply described as “too generous” whilst the ALP scheme, rather paradoxically, “doesn’t go anywhere near far enough.”

It seems convenient to have flexible principles, given the disparity between the party’s past rhetoric on this issue and what the two Senators have now announced.

But then again, those Greens, in touch with everyone, are merely adopting the principled middle path between two nasty and unpalatable alternatives. And if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

Now let’s look at the mathematics of the policy — an area of questionable competence at the best of times when it comes to the Greens.

Their policy promises to pay out far less money than that of the Coalition, cutting out for those on annual incomes above $100,000 rather than the higher $150,000 level pledged by the Liberal Party.

Their policy pledges a levy on business profits at exactly the same rate and threshold as the Liberal Party policy does.

And there is an additional $1.9 billion to be thrown into the mix, under the Greens, from “government contributions” to which no revenue source is attributed.

The simple fact, in round terms, is that the Greens are pledging to spend roughly double the amount of money delivering far less in terms of their policy’s return to families.

A generous interpretation is that they simply can’t add up, which is one reason their policy is unlikely to ever be implemented: when it comes to economic credibility, the Greens are not noted for their expertise.

A more cynical (and probably more accurate) interpretation suggests that under the auspices of being seen to do something for families with small children, the Greens’ policy in fact is cover to inflict a significant tax hike by stealth on the business community it so obviously and clearly detests: few, if any, of the Greens’ policies could be described as even remotely friendly to business.

Where would this illicit extra money go, if (God forbid) it was ever collected?

My guess would be into foreign aid, the United Nations, welfare and housing expenses for illegal immigrants, and the eternal raft of crackpot Greens policies that are anti-families, anti-business, anti-car — in fact, just about anti-everything that comprises a reasonable standard of civilised living by the international standards of a first-world country.

And to use this measure to provide feelgood media time for Hanson-Young — a Senator whose absence when she loses her seat will do Australia and its governance no harm at all — is a flagrant abuse of the families constituency that has been hit hard by the very Greens’ policies rammed through Parliament as the price for their support of Labor in government.

Make no mistake, I have no quarrel with The Guardian or its article; the paper was simply reporting what was said.

The Greens, however, have form for this sort of duplicity, and once again have shown that whatever the snake oil they peddle and no matter how high-minded the sales pitch, the only commodity they really trade in is hypocrisy.