WASTING NO TIME after a big election victory, new Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman’s earliest activities — as promised — have included starting work on tearing up the controversial Tasmanian Forests Agreement entered into by his predecessor; Hodgman has excluded the
Communist Party Greens from the process, refusing to meet with them. It’s a welcome, long-overdue marginalisation of the Greens that should be emulated across Australia.
If it drives the Left into paroxysms of rage, it’s probably a good thing; if it utterly eliminates the Greens from the loop of governance, so much the better.
So it is with Tasmania’s shiny new Liberal government, which has been elected with a thumping mandate to radically overhaul the way things are done on the Apple Isle, and Will Hodgman’s approach to the Greens in relation to forestry policy is one mainstream politicians of all stripes should emulate.
I read an article in The Australian early this morning which reported on the steps Hodgman is taking to implement his policies on forests, in keeping with the Liberals’ theme of breathing fresh life into Tasmania’s traditional industries, which the ALP/Greens junta either closed down or rendered moribund in the purported interests of sound environmental policy.
Hodgman and his party have been elected on a very explicit pro-business, pro-jobs, pro-family agenda that will, when implemented, sweep away most markers of the 16 years of Labor government that has just concluded, along with a great proportion of the symbolic concessions Labor made to the Greens to keep them sedated, and which have slowly strangulated Tasmanian industry in the process.
We have to be abundantly clear about the nature of the Liberal victory: Hodgman was elected with well over 50% of the primary vote, won (by Tasmanian standards) a thumping majority in Parliament, and achieved these markers on a platform that had been openly (and rather bluntly) presented to voters well in advance of last Saturday’s election.
In other words, the Greens can’t play their favourite semantic games about the Liberal Party not winning a majority of first preference support, or about the election result being in any way ambiguous, or about some “hidden agenda” now being readied for action; simply stated — impotent and diminished — the Greens are going to be forced to watch these policies spring into reality, an affront made worse for them by the fact this is precisely what the Tasmanian electorate has voted for.
The outgoing government was smashed, and the Greens smashed — proportionately — even harder than the ALP was.
It’s an important point.
I’m not going to bog down in detail over what “tearing up” the TFA entails; I think it’s commonly accepted this is a euphemism for re-opening sections of Tasmania’s forests to the timber industry, which in turn is one of the industries that traditionally underpinned the Tasmanian economy, but was decimated by the ideological fervour of the Green tail wagging the ALP dog.
(As an aside, comment by Greens’ leader Nick McKim that the Liberal Party wants to “rape” Tasmanian forests should be treated with the contempt it deserves).
Rather, I want to focus on the approach Hodgman has signalled he will take to the Greens in government. It is refreshing to see the party of the über-hard Left finally dealt with on the terms it deserves; the Greens have no place in or anywhere near government in this country, and it is to be hoped the uncompromising stand Hodgman has taken in relation to them on forests is not only maintained, but replicated across the country.
To be clear, the Greens are not an environmentally based party. Perhaps they once were; certainly, that time is long gone. It’s worth remembering that at their genesis, the Greens were started in Germany in the 1930s by the Nazi Party as an attempted foil to Communism, which even then was looking to advance through Europe and represented a threat to German ambitions to do the same. But as we’ve discussed before, the Greens didn’t simply fail to stop the progress of the red juggernaut — they were ingested by it.
Too many people for far too long have looked on the Greens as some benign party of harmless fruitcakes with whom it is safe to park “protest” votes. In turn, the Greens have used this bloc of votes to extract concessions from governments both Labor and Liberal; firstly on environmental issues, yes, but increasingly across a raft of issues that have nothing to do with the environment whatsoever.
As we have seen from the hapless experiment in co-governance with the Greens that was the Gillard government — and as Tasmanians have seen from a similar arrangement in their state over the past four years — the end consequence of this process is to cripple businesses, destroy jobs, inflict punitive financial imposts on families to the point many can no longer make ends meet, and to jeopardise economic activity altogether.
Not content with these successes — in the clear but unspoken aim of obliterating industry and traditional standards — the Greens, increasingly, have come to represent a flint-hard agenda of the Left that has nothing at all to do with the environment: the disgusting so-called “Boycott, Divest, Sanctions” campaign it pursues with relish against Israel and Israeli interests is an excellent case in point. Their pursuit of openly socialist objectives in areas of social policy such as gay marriage, immigration and media censorship is another. There are plenty of others.
There are those who share these views, and those people are quite entitled to do so. The overwhelming majority of Australians, however, clearly and emphatically do not, and this fact has been reflected to varying degrees in the election of state and federal conservative governments across the country in the past few years and a corresponding collapse, in most cases, in Greens’ support at the ballot box.
For a party with so little popular support in the grander scheme of things, the Greens have too often and for too long yielded a disproportionate influence over both elected governments and the legislative programs they implement, and it’s high time somebody told them — to use the vernacular — to bugger off.
And this takes us back to Tasmania — the supposed “cradle” of the Greens in Australia — where 40% of their 2010 voters deserted them last Saturday.
Hodgman won last weekend’s election, in part, by promising to govern outright or not at all; cognisant of the fact any kind of Coalition with the Greens is an eventual and self-inflicted political death warrant — and of the fact relatively few Greens preferences leak to the Liberal Party anyway — it was a safe position to take that will probably be repeated in four years’ time.
As The Australian notes, it is quite possible the Greens in Tasmania will end up with fewer seats in Parliament than they need to qualify for party status, and should that occur Hodgman would be well within his rights to slash allocations of staff and other resources to them. In fact — given the toxic obstructionism they invariably utilise such resources to engage in — I would go so far as to suggest he would be culpable if he failed to do so.
There is a certain irony in the fact that Hodgman’s stand on locking the Greens out of negotiations on forestry policy is being made on what is an environmental issue as well as an industrial one. Still, one has to start somewhere, and Hodgman has certainly done that.
Even so, as Premier of Tasmania, he is under no obligation to involve the Greens in the processes of governance: they are a party of opposition, a fragment, and have no official stake or legal standing in matters of state in Tasmania.
I’m not interested in any arguments about “consultation” or “inclusion” — after all, these insidious justifications were how the Greens were able to worm their way into spheres of influence in Australia in the first place.
And it goes without saying that the Greens have absolutely nothing of merit, value or meaningful substance to contribute to political debate or policy in this country, or beyond for that matter. Those might be the words of a political conservative, but there is nothing to recommend such a dangerous band of ideologues on any level.
The shoe fits — and the Greens can wear it.
And with the exception of the tiny percentage of people who vote for the Greens’ socialist and communist policies, rather than from some misguided sense of environmentally centred protest, I don’t think people will disagree with that sentiment to any great extent.
Will Hodgman is to be congratulated: finally, someone in charge of a government has told the Greens, in no uncertain terms, to butt out. Their input is neither desired nor required. Nobody will be at a loss on account of the absence of their input — not even some of the hypocrites in their ranks who drive cars, fly on aeroplanes, or even switch on the lights at night with nary a pang of remorse.
Hodgman has thrown down the gauntlet. It is to be hoped others now follow his lead, and set about ensuring the permanent and total exclusion of the Greens from governance in this country once and for all.