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Brown: our most successful third-party pollie

Bob Brown ends his long and successful parliamentary career with the Greens at the peak of their power.

The former medical practitioner has travelled the long journey from the United Tasmania Group, which won just under 4% of the vote in the 1972 state election, to leader of the party with the balance of power in the Senate, a deal with a minority government and a House of Representatives seat.

After a medical career, Brown served 10 years in the Tasmanian parliament (taking his seat the day after he was released from prison for protesting against the Franklin Dam) and, as he would do in the Senate, oversaw the rise of the Greens to balance-of-power status in Tasmania.

Brown entered the Senate in 1996 and was, from 1998 to 2001, the sole Greens representative (and parliament’s first openly gay member). A decade later, he leaves the Senate with nine Greens senators, after the Greens Senate vote reached 13% in 2010.

At a time when politics is increasingly professionalised and parties are pushing younger, less experienced people into senior positions, Brown was a traditional conviction politician, forthright in attacking the most sacred of cows in Australian public policy on economics, the media and foreign policy, including challenging George W. Bush when he addressed Parliament. He most recently attracted criticism for his now-famous “fellow earthians” speech arguing for a global parliamentary democracy.

What was missed by most commentators was that the speech was to a Greens party conference; when Barnaby Joyce plays to his party’s base it is seen as canny retail politics; when Brown did the same, it was “looney left” stuff.

A key challenge from the rise of the Greens to balance of power status (and the spread of Greens senators to all states) has been managing expectations from the party’s base — which varies significantly in different states, with the Australian Greens still notionally being a composite of separate state parties. But this was deftly managed in relation to the carbon price with Christine Milne convincing Labor to establish an all-party process to develop a package, enabling the Greens to shape the package from the outset, which led to a significant array of “direction action” measures, including a massive Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment vehicle.

The result is that, so far, the threat of alienating the party base through the necessary compromises that come from the balance of power has yet to eventuate. ”I’ve always waited for a protest outside our window saying we’re too weak,” Brown told Crikey recently, “but I find myself in a situation where we’re taking a stronger stand on environmental issues than key mainstream long-established environment group — I never thought I’d find myself in that position.”

Despite media portrayals of him as a soft liberal, Brown’s early political experience was torrid.

Twenty years ago I could not go up the street without getting abused,” he said. “Quite a lot of it was homophobic abuse, but it was coming out of the fact that I was an environmentalist, wanting to change the economic direction, the skill set and the employment base of this state … it was threatening, it was abusive, it was foul language, car windows down when people drove up the street … having the personal wherewithal to go through that sort of ever-present abuse … is a bit of a crucible for toughening up and a bit of a learning curve.

But,” he added, “I’m not in Syria.” And, he says, now he has the opposite problem of being stopped by well wishers.

With the carbon pricing package about to start and the party at historic levels of strength federally, Brown leaves politics as the most successful non-major party politician of his generation, having twice built up a parliamentary third-party presence to balance-of-power levels.

Brown’s Tasmanian colleague Christine Milne will succeed Brown; like him, Milne has considerable state parliamentary experience and led the Tasmanian Greens in coalition with the Liberals in the 1990s (after succeeding Brown). It was Milne who drove the Greens’ involvement in the carbon pricing package.

But she is less of a party icon than Brown, and the Greens will be closely watched to see whether the leadership transition sees more fractures within a diverse party room and membership.

University of Tasmania economist Peter Whish-Wilson, who was second on the Greens Tasmanian Senate ticket at the 2010 election, is the likely replacement if he wants Brown’s spot; Whish-Wilson is highly regarded within the party.

Brown today rightly declared himself proud to be leaving the leadership of a growing party. But he is less optimistic about the overall direction of progressive politics currently.

Progressive politics, he told Crikey, is in a “stunning and very troubling retreat … it’s being totally eclipsed by the power of the corporations … I see this disconnect where people are so frustrated with politics generally that they don’t see that there’s any hope in the political arena whereas there is no hope anywhere else.

The simplistic dictum I have is democracy or guns, take your pick, and if you’re gonna be in a community movement, you have to relate to the politicians.”

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  • 1
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Should that be “democracy or Gunns”? Slightly, only slightly, less melodramatic.

  • 2
    Freja
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Are you absolutely certain that the Greens are at the peak of their power? Sounds a little Andrew “Bob Brown’s decision to quit leaves the Australian Greens with nowhere to go but down” Boltish.

  • 3
    David Hand
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Bob Brown can rightly be credited for his very good political leadership and spectacular success. Though some may argue that the hung parliament gave him an unprecidented opportunity, lesser politicians would not have capitalised on it with the skill and conviction that Brown used.

    He’s definitley not my cup of tea politically, but one has to acknowledge talent when one sees it.

  • 4
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Worst time ever for him to leave, seriously.

    He’s effectively deputy Prime Minister of Australia and now he’s handing it over to Christine Milne who we have no idea will behave. Meanwhile in comes a Carbon Tax the Greens demanded Labor introduce within a few weeks and Labor are polling at disastrous levels and look to be wiped out politically across the nation.

    But then again why stick around to watch the mess you have created when you can retire on a big fat taxpayer funded salary?

  • 5
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I predict greater support for the Greens federally and at state level in the coming years and the change to Christine Milne will give the party an extra boost. Milne is an intelligent and excellent media performer.

    One of the great disparities of our system is that the Greens fail to win lower house seats despite huge support. Evidneced by the ludicrous situation in QLD where a party can sweep the board with just 49% of the vote.

    It has always been a mystery to me why country people vote for a fool like Barnaby Joyce and his party which continually betray their interests when the Greens would be far better choice but as crikey correctly points out, Barnaby with his haysead act is treated seriously while the very moderate Greens have editorials written in the Australian saying they must be destroyed.

  • 6
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Michael the problem with the Greens is that they like spending other peoples money.

    When they start spending their own we might take them seriously.

  • 7
    Filth Dimension
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz you are a sad individual and no doubt a wholly owned subsidiary of the whinging LNP. It’s always other peoples money.

  • 8
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Why would a star like Bob Brown leave his party of neophytes at this crucial point?

    Brown’s hubris after Abbott rolled Turnbull (echoed by most progressives and the media), in which he predicted the Greens would supplant Labour and progressive Tories in seats like Higgins would vote Green, has crumbled. He’s looked tired for months. Brown is too intelligent not to realise that he mistook an accident of history (Gillard and minority govt) for a worm-hole through political time: a unique opportunity to impose a carbon tax. A fatal temptation. The ALP is paying the price, but with Gillard gone and the ALP a rump, Labour will turn on the Greens. There are no carbon warriors among ex-union officials who, as it happens, sit in safe seats. The Greens will be lucky to maintain their 10% of the vote, as I’ve said here for the past two years.

    Milne is exactly the leader you don’t want. Sonorous, dignified Brown, forever a genuine hero of the Franklin and the forests, threw it all away on climate millenarianism. Milne is the shrill, rasping, cliched voice of the climate zealot- spruiking a cause which is already lost. Worse, neglecting the parlous state of the real environment now threatened by a resurgent Right.

    Milne has the poisoned chalice and will drain every drop.

    Milne will be dumped after the election (or leave a la Brown). Hanson-Young was checkmated by Brown’s tactical move this time, but it makes no difference who rules- no one will take the Greens seriously until they’ve liberated themselves from climate extremism.

  • 9
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    A dam good article Bernard, obviously done under time and deadline pressure.
    Although Brown is not my political first choice, I do acknowledge, willingly, he has served this nation well throughout his tenure.

  • 10
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    So, when Liberal Governmentss spend, what do they use for money- their own? Gosh.

  • 11
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Geewizz you are a sad individual and no doubt a wholly owned subsidiary of the whinging LNP. It’s always other peoples money.”

    No No No. Hang on. Some people out here in the real world actually run business and make money and then they pay taxes. It’s not always “someone elses money”, there are people who actually produce wealth for this country…. small, medium and big business… just the sort of go-getters the Greens Party hate with a vengence.

    They hate us, but they love our money. They want to tax us more at every point for daring to be successful, the Greens hate successful business, but they love our money. Do they ever praise business for the wealth they generate? No they attack it then put their hands out for another handout. They sure love people who bludge off the hard work of others.

    BTW because of the Carbon Tax, Campbell Newman is pulling out of the Southern Hemispheres largest solar project near Chincilla to the tune of $75 Million Dollars. I’m wondering just how many dollars the Greens members and the party themselves have invested in the project with their own money, because from what I can gather… not 1 red cent of Greens money has gone into it.

  • 12
    jags@chariot.net.au
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    geewizz is right re the timing of Bob Brown’s retirement, but from my viewpoint no time would have been good,as
    he stood tall for his commitment to a better Australia and will be sorely missed.
    Congratulations Bob and thanks for being there and making a difference. It took GUTS to do what you have achieved.

  • 13
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    @ Geewizz, 1.55pm: ‘But then again why stick around to watch the mess you have created when you can retire on a big fat taxpayer funded salary?’

    You’re right again, Wizzie! The nerve of that Bob Brown - no other politician from any Australian political party has ever retired on a taxpayer funded salary before, it’s an outrage against democracy and the Free World.

  • 14
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    So, when Liberal Governmentss spend, what do they use for money- their own? Gosh.”

    Money generated from business for whom they endlessly thank and try and cut taxes and redtape to make it easier for them to do business.

    The Greens meanwhile endlessly attack business and then complain they aren’t getting enough of our money to spend. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.

  • 15
    Kristian
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Something’s missing in the comments here…

    Oh, I know!

    Suzanne Blake
    Something, something, Gillard lies, something something, Swan credibility

    Ahh, that’s better…

  • 16
    Holden Back
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Cheezwizz, Gotcha. (snicker)

    Number 358 in a series entitled: “When we do it, it’s funny!”

  • 17
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    For those who missed, Bob Brown explained why he is retiring now. Basically it is because in June or July the nominations for the next 6 years of the senate are due. It was probably a fairly easy decision for him to decide not to do another 6 years. Retiring now gives the Tasmanian branch time to prepare to nominate someone new.

    I think Bob Brown’s greatest achievement is maintaining integrity throughout his political career. Many don’t agree with his values, but all thinking people should acknowledge that Bob was always true to his values.

    Thanks Bernard for so quickly writing an article to celebrate Bob’s retirement.

  • 18
    rinaldo hernando
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    i really hope they don’t succumb to infighting, as has been reported (although i’ve learned never to take medias speculation too seriously). that would be sad, i think bob brown had a stabilising influence and i hope they party can consolidate now and keep up the momentum.

  • 19
    LacqueredStudio
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Take a minute to marvel at Frank Campbell, folks. The same Frank Campbell who rails against climate science while claiming to be a Greens supporter.

  • 20
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The Greens can’t spend anything at all. They can only vote for or against government spending bills.

    Gee is obviously 12 years old and as ignorant as anyone who ever put fingers on a keyboard.

    Bob Brown is an amazing human being and I hope he remains a loud environmentalist and human rights campaigner.

  • 21
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Lacqueredstudio;
    No, I stopped reading comic books sixty years ago.

  • 22
    marcus
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    spending other peoples money” like a government spending taxes? or a political party spending corporate donations? what the hell are you talking about?

  • 23
    Stiofan
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    @MICHAEL WILBUR-HAM (MWH)
    “I think Bob Brown’s greatest achievement is maintaining integrity throughout his political career. Many don’t agree with his values, but all thinking people should acknowledge that Bob was always true to his values.”

    Much the same could be said of Hitler, Robert Mugabe, Stalin, any of the Kims, most serial killers, etc.

    Consistency in folly is not a virtue.

  • 24
    Stiofan
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and don’t bother flaming me: I’m about to log off :-)

  • 25
    marcus
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    not 1 red cent of Greens money has gone into it” how much of any of the two major parties’ money do you think goes into anything except their own advertising???

  • 26
    Johnfromplanetearth
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    The biggest nutjob in Australian political history has finally seen the light or felt the probe and is off before the whole damn thing collapses around his feet. A Green vote is a vote for insanity, this raving lunatic has made a fool of us all in the eyes of the world. Bob Brown will now have a pleasant time watching Dr Who in retirement and allow the Labor Party to hang themselves over the course of the next 12 months without his assistance! Bob Brown knew this Government hit the Iceberg and is sinking fast. Insane policies, insane thinking and an insane leader now thankfully gone!

  • 27
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    @Stiofan - is your post meant to make sense?

    Surely the ideal of democracy is that people stand for parliament espousing a clear position and we can vote for the person who best represents our values. Bob Brown has always made clear what he stands for, and has always remained true to his values. You might not agree with what Bob Brown wants, but it has always been clear what he stands for.

    Compare this with both Labor and Liberal. For example I challenge any Liberal supporter to tell me what Abbott would do on climate change actions if elected. And even the strongest Labor supporter must admit that Labor has suffered from over spinning what it is doing.

    Yet I challenge anyone to come up with a good example of Bob Brown being anything other than honest.

  • 28
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Johnfrom planet mars, you are a tripper.

  • 29
    calyptorhynchus
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    And stand by for a torrent of Green-hatred from the MSM in the next few days. Like many of the comments here, it won’t make sense, but it will make up for it in vehemence.

  • 30
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    What would be funny if it were not so serious, is how the MSM (including I suspect the ABC and The Age) will make a HUGE fuss over any leadership uncertainties in the Greens over the coming years, and act as if this proves that the Greens are doomed.

    Yet ‘won by one vote’ Abbott will be leading a stable party, and some of us might remember some recent leadership issues in the Labor party.

    Perhaps we will get the first of this nonsense in the reporting of who gets the deputy leader role.

  • 31
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Keane says: “With the carbon pricing package about to start and the party at historic levels of strength federally, Brown leaves politics as the most successful non-major party politician of his generation…”

    Bernard’s missed the point. By using his accidentally acquired power to enshrine the carbon tax and “clean energy’” fantasy, Brown has condemned the Greens to a long decline. And consigned Gillard to the rubbish bin of history.

  • 32
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Keane’s logic is inverted:
    “this was deftly managed in relation to the carbon price with Christine Milne convincing Labor to establish an all-party process to develop a package, enabling the Greens to shape the package from the outset, which led to a significant array of “direction action” measures, including a massive Clean Energy Finance Corporation investment vehicle.
    The result is that, so far, the threat of alienating the party base through the necessary compromises that come from the balance of power has yet to eventuate. “

    Well of course. The Greens got more from Gillard than they could ever have imagined. Gillard stared at personal political oblivion after the 2010 election result. If you think Latham is reviled by the ALP, that’s mild compared to what would have been Gillard’s fate if the ALP had been forced into Opposition.
    She had to capitulate to the climate demands of the Greens. A Faustian bargain.
    Brown knows the game is up.

  • 33
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    “spending other peoples money” like a government spending taxes? or a political party spending corporate donations? what the hell are you talking about?”

    Marcus my point is that the Greens are constantly attacking people who generate wealth in this country and then want a handout from them.

    I’ve yet to see a Greenie drop any of their own money into renewable energy projects yet, always after another taxpayer handout.

  • 34
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Frank is not only wrong about climate change, but he also has his politics totally wrong.

    Frank says that the Greens are doomed because they support action on climate change.

    There are many in the community who deny climate change. How many of these people would change their vote to Green if the Greens changed their mind on climate change? Very few.

    But how many people who now vote Green would stop voting Green if the Greens denied climate change? I’m sure that it is doing what Frank wants that would doom the Greens.

    We can also ask how many in the community support action on climate change yet don’t yet vote Green? The answer is many more than currently vote Green. So on the issue of climate change the Greens have a large pool of potential voters.

    It is interesting to note that those who deny climate change tend to be totally illogical in other areas as well. Frank might not like the Green’s view on climate change, but his opinion that they are doomed because of this is pure madness.

  • 35
    GeeWizz
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    how much of any of the two major parties’ money do you think goes into anything except their own advertising???”

    Thats why Campbell Newman pulled out of the project… it’s a leftwing project by Greenies… why should the QLD Taxpayer pay for it?

    If the Greens want to be taken seriously they need to start dropping their own money into these projects not someone elses.

  • 36
    Stiofan
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    @MICHAEL WILBUR-HAM (MWH)
    You seem to regard consistency as a virtue, regardless of the content: “Bob Brown has always made clear what he stands for, and has always remained true to his values. “

    Hitler always made it clear that he was out to get the Jews, a position he maintained to his dying day. Does that make Hitler praiseworthy?

  • 37
    CML
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    While not a supporter of the Greens, I too acknowledge the humanity and decency of Bob Brown. What you see (hear?) is what you get with that man. A few others would do well to watch him and learn.
    Having said that, Christine Milne is not, and never will be, a leader of the calibre of Bob Brown. And she has to contend with a squabbling pack of ego-driven (mostly) females of the Sarah HY variety - all just waiting, impatiently, to replace her.
    I agree with those who say that there is only one way for the Greens from here on in - slow death - the same fate as the Democrats. These “flash-in-the-pan” third parties always go too far, and the carbon tax is the Greens “too far”. While I absolutely agree that something had to be done about climate change and pricing carbon, their way has been a total disaster, especially for the Labor Party.

  • 38
    David Hand
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Michael,
    As I understand it, if elected, Tony Abbott would directly interven in major carbon polluting industries to reduce their emmissions, such as converting brown coal power stations in the Latrobe Valley to gas.

    This is not very orthodox coming from the right of politics but it does have the handy benefit of actually reducing carbon emmissions, something Bob Brown’s tax with all its wealth redustribution elements, will not do.

  • 39
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Bob Brown - a class act.

    I was most impressed by the anecdote he slept under his work desk at the end of arduous campaigning days, to protect a wonderful heritage, that some called a leech ridden ditch.

    I can speculate on many implications of the announcement today but for now, a simple thanks for BB’s contribution will have to do.

    As for Sally Neighbour’s piece in the The Monthly - tightly written but she got some things wrong. For Example it was Lee Rhiannon’s love affair with Geof Ash a refugee from the ALP of the 80ies that drew her into The Greens. To not write up architect and numbers man Geof’s role in the foundation of the The Greens (NSW) evidences an incomplete and thus flawed understanding of the biggest branch of the Greens nationally (I presume being the biggest population centre).

  • 40
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Bob Brown is smart, he sees the writing on the wall for The Extreme Greens.

    They vote in Queensland went back over 1%, and they picked none of the 15+% swing against Labor. He realised that if this is matched Nationally, his legacy will be dented.

    Very smart move on his behalf.

  • 41
    mikeb
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    I well remember the incident, many years ago now, when BB was assaulted by red-neck loggers in an incident which made international news. We were in a quite crowded pub and the video news came on TV. A couple of yobs made loud comments along the lines of “ya…kill the p**fter”, or words to that effect. Thankfully most of those there went quiet and got a bit reflective at what they’d seen - a peaceful, fairly frail looking man being manhandled by big fat cowards. Fortunately a few people spoke up about what had happened, noting that it was not the Australian way to attack defenceless people with whom you disagree. I reckon 90% of people in that pub were not greens, but just about everyone agreed with that sentiment. I’m a Tasmanian so I’ve seen and heard a lot about BB and his politics and the way he has presented himself. AFAIK there has never been a shred of doubt that his integrity and honesty is untainted - which is a pretty big call in Tassie where the Laberals are all beholding to big business and vested interests. His leaving politics will leave a big hole in Australian politics. Unfortunately for Christine Milne, she is filling very big shoes. Also to her detriment is the fact that she is a woman with a voice that grates many (a bit like someone else). Although CM is enormously intelligent and talented with an equally unblemished political background, I can’t see her as being as effective as BB. I wish her luck however.

  • 42
    shepherdmarilyn
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/a-bit-rich-unions-fight-over-huge-salaries/story-e6frea6u-1226325369748

    Here is a small aside - Jackson’s pay is $270,000 per annum + that volvo while she cries poor.

    Sarah Hanson-Young is not remotely radical.

    She is a good christian young woman raised in a small town on the banks of the Murray whose first job out of uni. was to work for a pittance at Amnesty international.

    I have known Sarah for the past 10 years and she has always been mature beyond her years and extremely sensible.

    It seems the tea party trolls think anyone left of Ghenghis Khan is some sort of ‘radical”.

    Name all her radical ideas.

    Come on trolls.

    Name them.

  • 43
    Jolyon Wagg
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    GeeWizz

    When they start spending their own we might take them seriously.

    Perhaps you should start now…

    oura-oura-reserve-handover

    And perhaps you could enlighten us as to your contributions to the public good.

    BTW, incessant grumpy and whining posts don’t count.

  • 44
    Karen
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    I tip my hat to Bob Brown and express my agreement with the article and other positive comments about Brown expressed by others above . He was truly a strong, courageous, principled and just politician who left others in the shade.

    A man who supported the working man, the small business man, and had the courage of his convictions to stare stare big capital in the eye. Can’t think of another contemporary politician who has done that.

  • 45
    lilac
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Would today’s flight by Qantas powered by a mixture of avaition fuel and re-cycled restaurant oil, have occurred had it not been for the pressure put on Australian companies to become less dependant on fossil fuels and to adopt green alternatives?
    If Bob Brown’s legacy is that Australia moves into renewables, changes its energy consumption habits and becomes a leader in climate awareness, then whether the Green’s fold or not will be irrevelant.

  • 46
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    @ Lilac

    Bob Brown’s legacy?

    Every Green scheme has been a failure?

    1. Green loans
    2. Cash for clunkers
    3. Solar Rebates (costing everyone)
    4. Green electricity (how many have gone under)
    5. More I can’t recall
    6. The wind turbines, that make noise, blight the landscaoe and have caught fire overseas.

    You will say its not his fault, but he was pushing them.

    His best legacy was Frankline a few decades ago. Nothing recent.

  • 47
    lilac
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    @SB #3 was a Howard government policy, #5 sums you up.

  • 48
    Karen
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    @ SB - your comments are rather hypocritical given that you use solar energy yourself and have saved yourself a sh*tload on energy bills. You have lauded the use of solar energy many a time on this site, a view with which most of us here would agree. I also think you’ll agree that BB has been a major protagonist in pushing Australia down a renewable energy path, including solar energy. I think BB deserves more generosity from you.

  • 49
    rinaldo hernando
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    going by suzanne blake’s past predictions i guess means the greens will go from strength to strength!

  • 50
    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Friday, 13 April 2012 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

    The Greens will prosper and unlike the two major parties, they will hold their ground for the next 6 years or do people who read crikey not understand how the Senate works ?.

    No-one should under estimate Bob Brown’s contributions but it was a superbly united Green Party behind him that prospered and took the middle ground left vacant by the Democrats who fatally got into bed with the Coalition.

    It’s wishful thinking that Christine Milne will not perform and conspircay theories on why Brown is leaving now is fantasy. He’s 67-why would he want another 6 year stint that would take him to his 70s. He does deserve a life.

    My prediction on record now-the Greens will inctease their vote in 2013 when people are wary of giving Abbott a clean sweep to decimate worker’s rights.

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