Lawless Filth: Unions, Greens, ALP Show True Colours

A CALL by ACTU secretary Sally McManus for unions and workers to break laws they find “unjust” is a clarion call to thugs and militants who think they run Australia; downplayed by ALP “leader” Bill Shorten and lauded by the Leftist filth of Communists Greens, McManus has confirmed what most people always knew: unions are lawless. If ever there was a pretext to smash union power — rather than cloak it in fatuously soaring rhetoric — this is it.

There are a couple of issues I want to try to cover off on today, so I will keep it fairly straight to the point; yet again, my week has once again panned out in rather time-consuming ways, and with a Newspoll probably due out tonight or tomorrow — it skipped the usual fortnightly cycle this week in the aftermath of the WA state election — we need to come up to date.

But the midweek outburst from incoming ACTU secretary Sally McManus — an explicit sanction by Trades Hall for unions and workers to break industrial laws they think are “unjust” — was rightly and correctly slammed by federal Liberal minister Christopher Pyne as “anarcho-Marxist claptrap.”

The comments were made in the context of a campaign to wind back restrictions on the right to strike; some additional coverage from The Australian may be accessed here and here.

Bill Shorten — always happy to play both sides of the fence when it comes to appeasing his Trades Hall chums — claimed he didn’t agree with McManus’ prescription for breaking laws she didn’t agree with, but left the open-ended assertion that “if you think the law is unjust or unfair, you change the government and you change the law” hanging as a clear wink-and-nod to both the position McManus outlined, and to expected lawless union tactics in the lead-up to the next federal election.

As is always the case, Shorten has tried to have his cake and eat it too: he deserves to choke on the crumbs.

And predictably, almost unqualified support for this new ACTU campaign of thuggery and thumbing its nose at authority was quickly forthcoming from that despicable hotbed of left wing extremism, the Greens, with leader Richard di Natale congratulating McManus and claiming she had said “what many Australians know and understand.”

Anyone who takes any notice of di Natale and/or his party needs their heads examined, frankly.

McManus pointed to “international labour standards” that she claimed enshrined the right of any person to “withdraw labour” as a justification for the secondary boycotts and other outlawed industrial behaviour that has led to the notorious CFMEU being repeatedly slapped with fines running into the tens of millions of dollars; I simply say that nobody should care less about these “international standards:” this is Australia, and Australia is governed from Canberra — not through some convenient assortment of international accords struck by unelected partisans, which too often provide excuses for the anti-Australian behaviour of the Left.

And that applies to a whole lot of other areas than just the whims of the bloody unions.

It is a disturbing new development to find Australian unionists (and leadership figures within their movement at that) dispensing with claims that their organisations always act lawfully, and instead now advocating wilful and knowing illegal behaviour.

It strongly suggests that Trades Hall is growing immune to the threat of prosecutions of its minions, and this — along with the quickly growing threat of a return of the ALP to government federally within the next couple of years — ought to alarm decent, law-abiding Australians who simply want to go about their business.

What makes it worse is the fact that unions now count just 9% of private sector workers among their membership: the union movement is now nothing more than a fringe movement. Comments such as those made by McManus during the week merely show (once again) that this minuscule and largely irrelevant little junta genuinely thinks it runs this country. It most certainly does not.

During the coal miners’ strike in the UK in the mid-1980s — an attempt by the Trade Union Council (the British equivalent of the ACTU) to bring down the Thatcher government — Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher famously characterised the TUC campaign as “an attempt to substitute the rule of the mob for the rule of law and that it must not succeed;” Thatcher won that battle, which is more than anyone can say about the present government and its adherents when it comes to curbing the excesses of union power.

Bleating about the Senate simply doesn’t cut it when the unions and the ALP raise money for high-profile national mass communication campaigns that cut through and win votes, when the Coalition and its business friends, quite plainly, do not.

Thanks to a Productivity Commission ruling that mandates modest reductions in penalty rates on Sundays for some workers — which currently see the absurd situation of restaurant workers being paid $60 and $80 per hour to make coffee, and clean tables, and wash dishes — the Turnbull government is being skewered by an ALP/union campaign against which it seems incapable of mounting a persuasive defence, and has been all but abandoned by its alleged allies in the business sector.

This would be the same business sector that begged the Howard government, in 2005, to use its Senate majority to enact labour market deregulation; WorkChoices was in fact a reasonably moderate platform, especially once the “no disadvantage” test was restored after an oversight. But to listen to the unions at the time, ordinary workers would end up being paid just a few cents per hour unless the laws were repealed. On that occasion, as on this, the business community and its various lobby groups and industry bodies sat on their hands, kept the coffers closed, and allowed the Howard government to be sacrificed to a $13 million union campaign that was mostly comprised of lies and fairy stories.

Unions claim their “role,” especially in the construction sector, is predicated on “safety:” on a recent flight back to Melbourne, I sat next to the wife of a very senior union figure, from whom the admission was eventually extracted that industrial injuries and deaths occur on union-controlled sites just as they do on non-unionised sites. There goes that theory.

Rather, the privileged position unions have ensconced themselves in is more aimed at riding roughshod over the companies that employ their workers, freezing out people who don’t want to join a union (which is in itself illegal), and driving up construction sector costs, which — using the international comparisons so beloved of the Left in this country — are the highest in real terms in the developed world.

Is it any wonder the unemployment rate in Australia is rising?

In other sectors — such as Education — unions work almost exclusively to entrench mediocrity, and to make it impossible to pay the very best teachers more than the no-hopers at the bottom of the pack who give the profession a bad name.

And I say “almost exclusively” because when they aren’t working to entrench the institutionalised socialist instrument of uniform pay scales irrespective of ability or results, teacher unions have in recent years evolved into a willing instrument for the propagation of contemptible left-wing doctrinal misadventures. The insidious “Safe Schools” program, with its agenda of destroying traditional values masquerading as an anti-bullying package, is a case in point.

In the wake of McManus’ remarks, take a look around social media: there is no shortage of hardcore union and socialist activists posting quotes from people like Martin Luther King to ennoble and promote the law-breaking spirit McManus has sought to foster. Such diatribes dishonour the likes of Dr King, and further cheapen the message from a union movement that starts from a position of very little value in today’s Australia anyway.

In truth, all McManus’ words are good for is to justify a determined assault on the malodorous presence of the union movement in Australia that far transcends its actual support or a proportionate degree of influence, when judged against that pathetic 9% take-up rate outside the ranks of the teachers and the public servants.

They should encourage and embolden, not deter, a renewed focus by law enforcement agencies and the likes of the Australian Building and Construction Commission to penalise transgressions of industrial laws even more heavily, for penalties are no deterrent if they fail to discourage recidivist actions.

And they should motivate the Coalition, and its followers in the business community, to get serious about tightening curbs on secondary boycotts, industrial thuggery and other militant (and often violent) union behaviour even further: it is not right, for example, that unions should bring whole cities to a standstill over relatively isolated incidents (such as the dispute with Carlton and United Breweries in Melbourne a couple of years ago), and especially when the marauding union pack is mostly comprised of workers with no direct connection to the companies, the industries, or even the actual unions involved in those incidents.

I’m known for my dislike of unions, and especially the more militant and thuggish ones; I’ve never shied away from that perception, although I have always maintained that people have a right to join a union if they want to: it is the way those unions behave that I take issue with.

But when one of the leaders of the peak industry body in this country openly advocates lawless, anarchic, gratuitously unlawful behaviour until or unless Trades Hall gets what it wants — to the exclusion of being held to account, facing penalty, or acting in a way that most people would regard as acceptable — then its time for the whole citadel to be smashed, and for incitements to union members to ignore the law at will to be heavily punished indeed.

If anyone wonders why I’m such an enthusiastic proponent of smashing unions and breaking the ill-gotten influence they enjoy in this country, McManus’ remarks go very close to the mark; and if anyone questions why I think unions are out of place in today’s Australia, or why I think they add nothing whatsoever to constructive economic and social outcomes, McManus couldn’t have served up a more fitting answer if she had tried.

 

Taking The Piss: Greens’ “Reshuffle” Defies Sanity

IMMUNE TO REALITY, the Greens’ belated post-election reshuffle would be risible were it not monument to the obsequious agenda of the far Left; the ongoing presence of Sarah Hanson-Young — at all — is indecent, and any party according “healthy oceans” ministerial status is perverse. But by making Lee Rhiannon responsible for “democracy,” it is clear that when it comes to the intelligence of the electorate, the Greens are taking the piss.

With the exception of actual video media directly relevant to our discussions in this column, it has been a long time indeed since I last gave readers something to listen to as an accompaniment to an article; today I renew that occasional practice, with a brilliant Australian song from the 1980s (and its official music video, replete with a distinct and appropriately keystone flavour) the perfect choice to go with what I want to cover this morning.

Enjoy this as you read…

…for by now, I think most people will be aware of the reshuffle the Communist Party Greens deigned to execute late last week, ostensibly on the peculiar pretext of “aligning MPs’ responsibilities with their particular states,” and whatever fatuous spin might be offered by leader Richard Di Natale to justify it, the Greens have become even more dangerous to the national interest as a result.

If, of course, such a consequence is even possible.

At first blush, the removal of the contemptible Sarah Hanson-Young from the Immigration portfolio is a triumph for anyone who values the sanctity of human life; her “accidents happen” dismissal of the deaths of 1,300 asylum seekers at sea as the direct result of a policy the Greens championed and which was initiated during her tenure in that post is a cause for great shame, and should have led to Hanson-Young’s defeat at the 2013 election.

The fact it did not underwrites a very big clue as to why the Greens are so trenchantly supportive of proportional representation in Parliaments across the land; even with that easy ticket to undeserved parliamentary leather in hand, Hanson only just squeaked home on that occasion, and this year — with the quotas almost halved — only just managed to survive that too.

Clearly her papers are marked; but before her career can finally be terminated, this reshuffle has only widened her scope to wreak havoc.

The failed bank teller will now be the Greens’ official spokesperson on Finance and Trade matters; this quisling, whose life experience of the commercial world barely registers above zero, is now the voice of the key crossbench bloc deciding pivotal matters affecting Australia’s $1.5tn economy, the half-trillion dollar debt Labor and the Greens saddled it with when they last held office, and the $450bn in annual government spending which — contrary to the Greens’ world view — must be drastically slashed (especially where lefty-trendy social programs are concerned) if Australia is ever to pay its way again among the nations of the developed world.

It gets worse, however, when the Senator is also now to be the spokesperson on “Lifelong Learning” — every aspect of the educative process from day care to universities — and Youth, and the idea of this scion of the hard socialist Left, utterly divorced from common sense and sanity in the orthodox sense, being even remotely able to influence the development of young Australians is enough to send a shudder down the spine of any fair-minded individual. “Education” and “brainwashing” are not the same thing, although with Hanson-Young’s propensity to refuse to interact in any way with those who dare to question her position on things, that distinction is likely to become impossible to spot when the Greens’ policy prescriptions in these fields are revealed.

Senator Hanson-Young is also the Greens’ shadow minister for the Arts, and it is to be hoped the Arts community — usually a friend to the Left — recognises the imbecilic new ally it has been shackled to, and takes aim accordingly.

What any of these things uniquely shares with South Australia is difficult to ascertain.

Queenslander Larissa Waters has been given responsibility for Women, Gambling and Tourism (and of course, we don’t have any of those things south of the Tweed), as well as Mining and Resources — an industry her utterances over the years suggest she would be happy to shut down altogether.

In keeping with the Greens’ tradition of putting parliamentary neophytes in charge of Immigration, new Tasmanian Senator Nick McKim takes over this role from Hanson-Young; it’s an interesting choice, based on Di Natale’s criteria, for Tasmania typically receives the fewest migrants (both in raw terms and per head of capita) of any Australian state.

McKim will prove no match for Attorney-General George Brandis — and his claim to shadow the country’s First Law Officer is as opaque as the rest of the Greens’ claims to adequacy — and it remains to be seen what input he might have in Small Business other than collaborating on taxation and workplace relations laws with the ALP that might help drive enterprises in the sector to the wall once and for all.

It’s a similar story with McKim’s fellow Tasmanian, Peter Whish-Wilson, who apparently seeks to emulate titans of Australian politics such as Paul Keating and Peter Costello as treasury spokesman; the likelier event is that he makes Wayne Swan on a terrible day look comparatively brilliant, for the one thing nobody is ever going to accuse the Greens of is economic competence.

Putting him in charge of Consumer Affairs, or “Waste and Recycling,” seems standard enough fare for the Greens, even if some of his party’s members need a dictionary to spell the terms correctly.

Making him shadow minister for “Healthy Oceans” is patently ridiculous, and betrays the rank amateurism and puerile, university-style politics that still underpin the Greens’ efforts despite its solemn declaration a few years ago that it was finally a mature political party. It wasn’t, and it isn’t, and it shows.

And aren’t there oceans around the rest of Australia too?

To kill two birds with one stone — promoting wimmin into key posts and prosecuting the Greens’ own peculiar brand of social misadventurism — Rachel Siewert and Janet Rice cover “portfolios” ranging from “LGBTIQ” to Ageing, and from “Forests” to Disability Services: the latter, of course, so dear to the hard Left as a means by which to simultaneously entrench welfare dependency whilst locking in votes from the underprivileged. At $24bn per annum once the NDIS is fully operational, expect the Greens to nevertheless advocate loudly for increases in expenditure in this area, and steep tax rises on the rest of us to pay for them.

Scott Ludlam takes responsibility for just about everything no thinking Australian would ever want a Greens politician to have any influence over: Foreign Affairs, Defence, Veterans’ Affairs, International Aid, Communications, Sustainable Cities, and “Nuclear.” The scope for permanently ruptured international relationships, combined with a “reach out” to despotic regimes in third-world countries is obvious, as is the abandonment of the defence community altogether and a move to compost-powered houses. I am not directing these remarks at Ludlam personally, but the idea that any Greens’ edict on any of these matters would be anything other than stone-aged is preposterous.

It’s clear where the Greens think their “brains” trust lies: Adam Bandt is assigned Climate Change, Energy, Industrial Relations, and Science. On one level, Bandt (a Melburnian) is clever enough to handle such a workload; on another, he is just as affected and addled with the disease of hard socialism that nobody ought to take much notice of what he has to say about any of it. Climate Change and the Greens? If you want impartiality on such a hotly contested issue, the last person who should be consulted is the most partisan combatant in the group.

And again, how is any of this particularly aligned to Bandt being domiciled in Victoria? It just shows what a nincompoop Di Natale is if this is representative of his idea of leadership.

And this brings us to the pièce de résistance of the entire reshuffle: actual Communist Lee Rhiannon, who as a former fellow traveller with the USSR and propagandist for Moscow during the Cold War shouldn’t be entitled to sit in an Australian Parliament at all.

Rhiannon is charged with “Industry:” something the Greens desperately want to shut down.

Rhiannon is simultaneously charged with responsibility for “Animal Welfare” and “Gun Control:” draw your own conclusions there.

Rhiannon is to be responsible for “Housing,” which we take to mean the compost-powered variety containing bare-footed residents who munch broccoli and lentils by candlelight and ride bicycles all over the place.

But most obscenely, Rhiannon is to be the Greens’ spearhead on “democracy,” and the idea this antediluvian, vituperative battleaxe, with her roots deep in hard Communism and her well-known hatred for anything even marginally to the Right of Marx, will in any way constitute a champion for anything remotely democratic is as fanciful as money growing on trees.

Then again, with the Greens’ notorious ignorance of economic reality and their insistence that “government money” is a bottomless pit from which to fund endless adventures in social engineering and statist interference, who would know?

The bottom line (excuse the pun) is that whichever way you cut it, the output from the Greens is unlikely to change; this isn’t a party of consultation, much less one of accountability, whatever its MPs claim to the contrary. They might or might not be answerable to their rank-and-file, as they regularly protest whenever their “credentials” as democrats are questioned, but none of them are accountable to the Australian public.

To the extent they are, anyone can replace a beaten Greens MP: all they need is the wherewithal and the commitment to “the cause.” The storyline stays the same even if the storytellers change once in a while.

One constant that remains unaffected by this reshuffle is the propensity for the Greens to regard the intelligence of the average voter with utter scorn; safe in the knowledge too many unthinking voters still believe their party is a benign assortment of tree-hugging, fairy-loving hippies with whom it is safe to park a protest vote, the Greens simply get on with spreading the insidious cancers of socialism and social subjugation that are beginning to tear at the social fabric.

It’s why those in the mainstream need to find effective voices to slap down the leftist PC rubbish — and the sinister, deeply destructive agenda it cloaks — before the damage it does to this country becomes irreversible.

But in announcing such a defective line-up — one so apparently well thought through, and carefully contrived — it is clear the Greens are taking the piss, not posturing as a serious force to be entrusted with the duties of high office.

Sarah Hanson-Young on Finance and Education. Lee Rhiannon on “Democracy.” And a slew of spear-throwers all allocated parts of the overall Greens project to destroy Western values and to change Australia into something it isn’t, and which most people (rightly) don’t want.

It’s a mistake, all right. The Greens have had an easy time in Parliament ever since they took the balance of power in the Senate in 2008. For the present Parliament to be viewed favourably by history, it’s about time something was done to change that.

 

Greens Tell Shorten: Keep The Bed Warm For Us

ANY DOUBT an ALP government would be a simple repeat of the Gillard disaster — dictated to and enslaved by the Communist Party Greens — has been dispelled; a feature on leader Richard di Natale in Fairfax papers finds the fringe party lining up for ministerial office in return for securing confidence and supply. The development should alarm those planning a “soft protest” vote in the belief the Greens are “harmless.” They are anything but.

There are two past articles from my archives that I want to share with readers at the outset: one, dated 19 February 2013, when then-Greens leader — the sanctimonious, pious Christine Milne — made a great show of “terminating” her party’s formal Coalition with the government of former Prime Minister Julia Gillard; and two, something I published not nine months later, as then-new ALP “leader” Bill Shorten made a refusal to support the abolition of the hated carbon tax (for which the newly elected Abbott government had an explicit electoral mandate) one of his first official postures, and as everyone knows, Shorten has since committed Labor to not one carbon tax if restored to office, but two.

The reason for this little trip down memory lane can be found in an interview between one of the better Fairfax journalists, James Massola, and current Greens leader Richard di Natale, which was published online late last night and appears in Fairfax publications across the country today.

In it, di Natale states that he would “relish” the opportunity to serve as Health minister in a Labor government — I’m sure he would — and suggests colleague Larissa Waters would make a good Environment minister.

Frankly, the only place the Greens belong is in the back of a Police van for blocking legal access to property after chaining themselves to trees, gates and so forth.

I say that in jest, but the idea of this lunatic, ultra-socialist party playing an even greater role in government than they did in the disastrous “power sharing” agreement they were indulged with by Julia Gillard should strike fear and terror into anyone concerned to see sound government delivering outcomes that optimise economic conditions, job safety, national security, and an immigration regime that doesn’t feature thousands of asylum seeker deaths, quite literally, as a cost of doing business.

Despite “a spokesman” for Bill Shorten being quoted in Massola’s piece as saying that if di Natale wanted to serve in a Labor government he should join the ALP, on one level, the Greens leader’s remarks are probably a reasonably shrewd reflection of electoral reality: already boasting just 25 of 76 Senate berths and with just 14 of those facing re-election (at a standard half-Senate poll), it is impossible for the ALP to control the Senate outright; even at a double dissolution election at which the Greens would stand a better chance of defending their present 10 Senate seats, everything would need to go the way of the Left for Labor to get close to Senate control even with the Greens.

In the lower house, Labor needs to win 20 seats from the Coalition to score a simple majority: and stripped of its key asset — Tony Abbott and the dysfunctional political apparatus overseen by Peta Credlin and husband Brian Loughnane — even that seems a difficult ask at present, whereas one (Melbourne) and possibly up to another four seats could quite feasibly be jagged by the Greens.

The only way to avoid a disastrous ALP-Greens government is, of course, a resounding win by the Coalition — irrespective of the misgivings some on the Liberal Right or in the National Party might think of new Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

di Natale has made it clear he would not countenance a “formal, permanent alliance” of the kind that exists between the Liberals and Nationals. Yet semantic presentations and the mechanics by which they are executed count for precisely nothing when weighed against the outcomes they are charged with delivering.

And where outcomes are concerned, the wish list of the Greens and the “policies” already announced by Labor under Shorten spell trouble.

Despite the hard realities of the politics of climate change and irrespective of whether you believe the alarmist warmist lobby — which disregards any fact-based evidence it disagrees with, or contradicts it, in the name of “science” — or whether you sit as a so-called “denier,” Labor is already committed to the restoration of not just one carbon tax but two, in a new regime purported to cut Australia’s emissions by 50%.

Shorten has been brutally candid that the electricity industry will be a target for a smashing hit: anyone believing any fork-tongued assurances that domestic electricity bills, already rocketing past their post-carbon tax peaks off the back of increased utilisation of inefficient, expensive, commercially unviable renewables, is delusional.

Electricity will become a luxury purchase under a restored Labor-Greens government.

The Shorten policy dovetails nicely with a raft of Greens’ demands, such as the retention of several climate change agencies currently slated for execution and a ramping up of government subsidies for the same renewables already pricing essential services beyond the reach of thousands of households.

And given the Greens’ implacable opposition to subsidised private health cover — which draws billions of dollars of extra health funding out of consumers’ pockets every year — the Shorten policy of abolishing the private health insurance rebate (which is currently obscured, deliberately, from view by Labor) is one that is almost certain to be enacted if Labor and the Greens control Parliament after the coming election.

That policy, as we have repeatedly observed, will overrun the public health system as perhaps millions dump private health insurance — impacting it through inability to cope with demand to the point of collapse.

But more broadly, the Greens’ “vision” remains a disturbing constant: and despite much of it having been rejected in the past, the same tired list of demands is set to be trundled back out in the event of an ALP election win — and we know, from Labor’s own past performance, that the ALP will simply bend over and submit to most of it, if not all.

More tax, no spending cuts, ramped-up Education and Health spending with no accountability or emphasis on efficiency, onshore asylum seeker processing featuring community release, more tax, $10 billion pilfered from the superannuation accounts of Australians, a hit at property owners through the partial abolition of negative gearing, a ramping up of capital gains tax, another hit at the mining sector, lashing out at  agricultural producers by ending the diesel excise rebate, more tax…all in the name of freeing up billions for the hard socialist spending programs beloved of the delusional Left, whilst causing irretrievable economic damage in the process and at the cost of perhaps hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Asylum seekers arriving by boat will begin drowning again as the green light is sent to those who profit from their misfortune.

Billions will be raked in despite absolutely no appreciable impact on global warming, whilst climate change is in any case an infinitely occurring natural phenomenon that is hardly going to sit up and take note of the Greens’ economic sabotage in the name of stopping it.

And when you remember the Greens are committed to the virtual disarmament of this country and a wholesale sellout of traditional friends like the US and Britain in favour of a naive, blinkered, and near-total security focus essentially predicated on trusting the Chinese, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude Australia will become far less secure if the Greens ever again get anywhere near the levers of power that run it.

Sober rhetoric and conservative business attire are no substitute for common sense and sanity — commodities always in short supply at the Greens.

And when all of this is considered through the prism of actual communists in their ranks, including one national traitor and former Soviet operative — the repugnant NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon — and callous, unreasoning and unreasonable specimens such as infamous SA Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, the only logical conclusion to draw is that the Greens are literally mad, bad, and dangerous.

Yet they remain ready to jump back into bed with the ALP at the earliest opportunity, and nobody should be hoodwinked by the wink-and-nod messages being sent out by di Natale that protest innocence whilst, at root, seeking a resumption and consummation of the power-craved alliance Labor and the Greens indulged themselves with under Gillard.

Make no mistake: di Natale has used a powder puff piece in the Fairfax press to signal to the ALP that the bed should be kept warm.

Anyone who knows anything about Labor behaviour knows that should the prospect of power beckon, it will jump straight in with the Greens — and the jilted, spurned “other party” will be the millions who voted for Labor in the name of what they thought would be a better future.

Be afraid. The next misadventure in the politics of the hard Left, and its disastrous consequences, could be no further away than your next trip to the polling booth.

Greens Bullshit: New Salesman For An Unchanged Product

THE SHOCK RESIGNATION of Communist Party Greens leader Christine Milne today will — despite removing one of the nastiest and most piously sanctimonious specimens ever elected to an Australian Parliament — change very little; the Greens have shown typical disregard for the “principles” they trumpet, and whilst we wish Milne no hard feelings as she slithers away, her departure will do nothing to bring common sense or sanity to her party.

Not being a creature of the hard Left and finding socialism and communism deeply distasteful at best, I find myself with very little to say about Christine Milne on one of the biggest days of her career that is remotely positive.

Even so, I am a great believer that credit should be given where it is due: and accordingly, I wish to acknowledge her resignation from the leadership of the Greens (with the accompanying promise not to recontest her Senate berth at the next federal election) in as fulsome and enthusiastic terms as I can muster.

I never thought to hear myself utter these words, but Milne has rendered a wonderful service upon Australia today.

Milne has said she is quitting politics for personal and family reasons, and to provide her party with “generational change.” We wish her no ill will in her overdue retirement.

A relic of a bygone era when “Greens” in name actually campaigned on environmentally based platforms, Milne cut her political teeth a quarter of a century ago in a fight over a proposed pulp mill in Tasmania, and whilst she proved to be on the winning side in that contest — entering the Tasmanian state Parliament in 1989 in the washout from those events — Milne will be mostly remembered by thinking people as little more than an inflexible socialist.

And in the spirit of giving credit where it is due, it would be remiss not to observe the excellent political obituary published in The Australian by Chris Kenny, who accurately characterised her as “a snarling, negative leader” whilst cataloguing the insidiously intolerant, belligerent outpost of Soviet-style brutalism into which the Greens have evolved during her tenure as their leader.

Christine Milne was not a “leader” for her times or, indeed, for any time; the illiberal and intolerant agenda advanced by the Greens under her leadership — on industry and energy policy, welfare, taxation, defence, immigration, media policy and social matters — would, if ever (God forbid) implemented, have plunged Australia into economic ruin and social chaos as anyone to the Right of Lenin was ostracised and persecuted as “extremists,” whole industries sabotaged and dismantled, indolence and apathy subsidised and rewarded, the defence forces neutered and the country’s borders thrown open, and any voice dissenting from the line of the junta involuntarily silenced.

In fact, Milne’s greatest achievement probably lies in the fact that such a noxious platform could develop under her malevolent, malignant gaze whilst still managing to fool a not-so-insubstantial minority of the Australian public into thinking that the Greens remained, at heart, an “environmental” party.

Quite.

I must confess I will miss Milne, and whilst we haven’t had cause to talk about her so frequently since the 2013 election — the dilution of relevance that comes with an election loss will do that — I know she has entertained and enraged my readers in equal measure over the years.

We’ve paid homage to Milne’s expertise in matters of military strategy and terrorism.

We’ve witnessed her inability to control her colleagues, as they argued over whether fuel indexation was an initiative to be supported on environmental grounds, or a political sledgehammer to be deployed against the hated Tony Abbott by blocking it.

We’ve giggled as she failed to explain the distinction between a genuine conflict of interest and a political roadblock her Greens found immoveable — in more ways than one.

And we’ve felt her anger, as at least one Liberal government elected by a thumping margin found the cojones to tell her, and her deeply objectionable political outfit, to piss off.

During the 2013 election campaign — and at least in part as a result of Milne’s efforts as Greens leader at a time her party served in formal partnership with Labor in government — this column advocated for the Greens to be wiped out at the ballot box, and readers can revisit those arguments here and here. And happily, the party shed 30% of its 2010 vote, and won two fewer Senators in 2013 than it had three years earlier.

That downward movement in Greens representation could have been more, and its effects will take time to be felt on account of the rotation of Senators. But it was a good start, and that too is something Milne can take credit for presiding over.

But my favourite encounter with her in this column came almost three years ago, as Milne used an opinion piece in The Australian to turn the issue of asylum seekers into mouth-foaming rant that was part partisan drivel, part justification, and part attempt to poke her nose (and that of her party) into things that had absolutely nothing to do with her, the Greens, or Australia at all.

Like cleaning up corruption on the docks in Indonesia, for which no methodology was offered, but which would almost certainly have started a war if any Australian government attempted to implement it.

In the end, that’s just what the Greens have become under Milne’s stewardship: sanctimonious, pious, dictatorial and prescriptive, and adept at interfering in matters which wiser heads would steer well clear of.

The adage about fools rushing in where angels fear to tread is particularly apt where assessments of Christine Milne’s leadership is concerned.

And as it drew to a close today — in typical fashion — the Greens, who have long trumpeted that theirs is a party whose leadership is determined by its members, acted swiftly to install a replacement based on the votes of its ten Senators, plus sole lower house MP Adam Bandt: to the total exclusion of their much-vaunted rank-and-file constituency.

Little time ought to be expended on pondering why now ex-deputy Greens leader Bandt did not replace Milne; it may, as claimed, have had to do with the imminent birth of his first child.

Or it could simply be that Bandt did not have the support of the fruit cakes inside the Greens party room whose bidding any new leader would be obliged to perform.

But great thanks can be given to whatever higher power you believe in that Milne’s replacement was not actual Communist, former Soviet propagandist and traitor to Australia, Lee Rhiannon; similarly, the imbecilic, juvenile, staunchly socialist Sarah Hanson-Young — whose cavalier attitude toward human life was evidenced by her dismissal of more than a thousand asylum seeker deaths at sea as proof that “accidents happen” — would have made a predictable choice for a party of the far Left that, happily, was not taken.

That said, the Greens seem to have appointed a “leadership group” and, just like a football team, now have a captain (Victorian Senator Richard di Natale) and two (2) vice captains, Queensland bleeding heart and compassion babbler Larissa Waters and enigmatic Western Australian Senator Scott Ludlam.

It is to be hoped only one of these deputies is to be paid the salary loading the position attracts under parliamentary entitlement guidelines, although then again — given what good little socialists the Greens are — maybe the two of them will split it.

I had high hopes that di Natale — a doctor, far more articulate than Milne and, by virtue of his profession, arguably more intelligent — might prove a surprise packet, and actually behave like a responsible political operator bent on more than just the spread of socialism and the obliteration of anything to the Right of Andropov.

Yet already — and despite his claim to aspire for the Greens to become a party of the mainstream Left — he has shown that he will play the same cracked record on social policy as Milne did, telling Tom Elliott on Melbourne radio station 3AW this afternoon that the Abbott government was culpable for the continued presence of children in immigration detention; when it was pointed out to him that some 1,200 children had been detained under Labor (and Greens) policy prior to the 2013 election, and that 90% of them had since been released, di Natale immediately parroted the Milne/Hanson-Young line that “10% is 10% too many,” apparently ignorant of and/or oblivious to procedural considerations that must — like it or not — first be followed.

It’s an inauspicious start, if I’m being nice about it.

I can’t wait to hear his ideas on other areas of governance, but those will be stories for another day. Initial appearances, however, suggest that even with Milne departing the asylum, it remains manned by an adequate contingent of lunatics for common sense, sanity, and rational political positions to be beyond the Greens in both comprehension and application.

It does rather seem that the more things change, the more they stay the same; but from this point onward the Greens will sally forth without the venerable Milne leading the charge, and soon — belatedly, but very soon — she will no longer sit in Parliament at all.

Good riddance.

 

Free Vote: Abbott’s Euthanasia Position Welcome

THE APPARENT COMMITMENT by Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Coalition MPs a conscience vote on a euthanasia bill soon to be tabled by a Greens Senator is welcome, and perhaps overdue; the right of terminally ill people to a so-called death with dignity — enabling them to escape untold pain, sickening treatments, and the ultimately pointless regimen of palliative medicaments — is one a civilised country like Australia must enshrine.

It isn’t very often that I agree with the Communist Party Greens, and much less any of their mostly noxious parliamentary “representatives;” yet for once, one of them appears to be doing something that I believe is very much in the public interest — and with the qualification that certain safeguards need to be included, his bill seems worthy of multilateral support.

And whilst I nominally identify in philosophical terms as a conservative, the truth (as those who know me will attest) is that my views, whilst obviously to the mainstream Right overall, range from highly conservative to liberal in the classic sense. It is the liberal in me that is motivated to comment on this particular issue.

The first I heard of this latest attempt to legalise euthanasia in Australia was on Thursday afternoon, when oesophageal cancer sufferer Peter Short was profiled on Melbourne radio station 3AW in relation to a commitment he seems to have extracted from Prime Minister Tony Abbott to allow Liberal MPs a conscience vote on a euthanasia bill being developed by Greens Senator Dr Richard Di Natale.

Readers may peruse a report carried in the Fairfax press yesterday here that sets out some more of the detail surrounding Mr Short’s situation, his conversation with Tony Abbott, and how these pertain to the bill being drawn up by Senator Di Natale.

I am going to keep my remarks fairly general today: not least because until Senator Di Natale’s bill is complete, there is no useful point in discussing the minutiae before they have even been committed to print.

But broadly, I have always been in favour of some kind of regimen that allows a terminally ill patient, in control of their mental faculties, the option of a medically assisted death as an alternative to weeks or months or years of debilitating treatments that simply “manage” the process of death anyway.

Speaking personally, I have seen many instances first-hand of people who have been diagnosed with terminal diseases (usually cancer) who have gone on to die slow, often painful, deaths.

As things stand, these people have had two choices: accept treatment protocols that include (but are not necessarily are limited to) surgeries, experimental drugs, and unorthodox therapies that may exacerbate or deepen suffering; or to refuse treatment except for pain relief, and I know that pain “relief” in some cases does not relieve pain at all, whilst the patient — and remember, we are talking about friends and loved ones here — endures an often excruciating death as the disease progresses to its grisly conclusion unimpeded by medical intervention.

In short, the latter of these options — as brutal as this might sound — amounts to no more than a desire to get it over and done with.

For every individual who chose to expedite their demise by way of legal euthanasia, another would exercise their right not to, and to persist with their treatment; the point is that in both cases, the availability of choice to the individual is paramount — and at this time, such a choice does not exist.

Clearly, any legally sanctioned regime of medically assisted suicide (which is what euthanasia boils down to) needs to come with clearly delineated boundaries and some very rigid safeguards; ensuring the dying patient is in full control of their wits is obviously the most important, but other considerations — such as making sure sick elderly relatives aren’t being bumped off by their offspring to get early access to inheritances — need to be worked through as well.

And preventing euthanasia doctors such as Philip Nietschke from engaging in advertising, or prohibiting them from offering treatment beyond clearly defined medical parameters, would seem obvious.

This is an issue we will return to, developing as it is, and it is to be hoped that Senator Di Natale’s bill isn’t buried under the convenient pretext of parliamentary process, remaining unsighted (and un-debated) for years as an exercise in avoiding a longstanding and at times divisive social issue.

But for now, I make two points.

One, that federal Parliament is the correct forum for this matter to be determined; until this point, laws in contentious areas such as euthanasia and gay marriage have formed the basis for kite-flying and often malicious misadventure in the territories (where legislating in relation to them is unconstitutional) in pointless and at times ridiculous attempts by the Left to force the hand of whatever government sits in Canberra: usually where the federal government is Liberal, and usually to cause it political embarrassment.

Too many important issues are reduced to the status of political footballs by doing this, and the Left seems not to comprehend that doing so merely legitimises (and hardens) the resolve of those opposed to the measure in the first place. A similar phenomenon occurred not so long ago, centred on the gay marriage “laws” enacted by the Labor/Greens junta in the ACT.

And two, the fact Abbott — archly socially conservative on a personal level — is not merely prepared to allow his MPs a free vote on this issue but seems enthusiastic about doing so, further disproves the myth of “Abbott the right-wing religious zealot” his opponents have sought to promulgate for so long, and especially where his activities as a legislator are concerned.

I have said it many times: politicising these tricky social issues simply entrenches them, and makes them exponentially more difficult to navigate. There are some things that can’t be resolved by brute force with the objective of inflicting political damage on opponents underpinning that force. One would think the Left might have learned its lesson in this regard with the gay marriage debacle. It remains to be seen whether it heeds those lessons now.

Obviously, we will follow this issue as it evolves in the new year. But I find it greatly encouraging that the Prime Minister is prepared to let it be determined on its merits: and in this regard, it is incumbent on Di Natale to get his bill right on the first attempt.

This column minutes its best wishes to Mr Short and his family for a comfortable and enjoyable Christmas. As this will be the last time they share the festive season together, it is to be hoped their enjoyment provides those who remain with memories to treasure.