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Greens will survive the Brown-out

There’s something cruelly ironic about the departure of Bob Brown, and the subsequent coverage of it — the acres of identikit propagandorial cost the death of countless trees to cover the career of a man whose life’s work was to save them.

Throughout News and Fairfax, national correspondents with zip to go on — because they rarely bother to talk to individual Greens senators about their beliefs, priorities and pollies — tried to conduct some sort of guessing game about the likely effect of Brown’s departure. Was Christine Milne too strident for the public to take to? Would the Greens go the way of the Democrats? Was this departure a product of factional splits within the Greens? The Democrats, would the Greens go the way they had gone? Was there conflict between state and federal branches? Would the Greens, suffer, well the Democrats, you know what happened to them?

And on and on. It was mainstream Australian political commentary at its usual worst, devoid of ideas, insight, or any anchoring to the greater political and social movements of the world. The cynical and intellectually limited people who make up the bulk of the mainstream press gallery are instantly at sea when dealing with a political movement that is effective in the mainstream and yet connected to a wider and more comprehensive movement. When they look at the Greens, they are as the colour-blind looking on a Jackson Pollock — they can discern general shapes but none of the real essence.

So the story, repeated ceaselessly across all media, has been one of a crude factional split between the so-called “greenies” — identified with Brown, Milne and one or two others — versus the “watermelons” — ex-Trotskyites and Communists identified with Lee Rhiannon. Adam Bandt tends to get lumped into this latter category, due to his involvement in the “Left Alliance” student group in the ’90s, and a PhD on a Marxist legal theorist, which has acquired an occult mystery status second only to the lost Gospel of St Thomas. The general story/hope of many commentators is that, without Brown’s charismatic presence, these factions will fall on each other like wolves, and the public vote will collapse.

This, it must be noted at the first, is a pretty recent reversal in the press gallery’s group think about Brown. For year he was the charisma-free, mung-bean eating, pious and ascetic, blah blah, when he was not, in the words of someone like Greg Sheridan a “sly and cunning” leader, an ideologue having maintained deep cover as a dutiful doctor and nature lover, called to politics in his mid-30s, his long “sleeper” nature as a normal human being complete. He was described, utterly erroneously, as a “deep ecologist” — one who believed in radical population reduction, deindustrialisation, etc, to fit humanity back into nature.

But this endlessly repeated narrative had to be abandoned when Brown and the Greens began to win seriously and consistently — otherwise it would be an affirmation of deep ecology itself. Furthermore, as Brown spent more time in the public eye, and became known for a plain-spokenness, an anti-charismatic speaking style, and a wry humour, the frame didn’t fit. So two new narratives were introduced. The first was that Brown was the reasonable man holding back the deep Greens he had hitherto been accused of membership of. Now he was the guy in the suit, fending off the bush crazies who would come into town ahead of the Greens AGMs, take over the party, nominate a whale to the Senate, and mandate vegan dog food.

This story didn’t last a hugely long time either — once Brown was joined by more than one other Senator, and it became clear that their concerns were more than merely environmental, the non-emergence of the ferals had to be explained. By the mid-2000s, the Greens had been reshaped by external events — the refugee crisis and the war on terror. Standing firm against the “emergency” politics of both, they earned a decisive switch from a whole social class who had been wavering between they and Labour for most of a decade. The “cultural producer” class — policy workers, teachers, culture and knowledge creators — those who formed the base of the Labor Left for a couple of decades (after the dissolution of the old industrial left), once they were convinced of the Greens bona fides, switched across and didn’t come back. The solidity of the Greens also dealt a death-blow to the Democrats, as a whole tranche of somewhat more culturally conventional leftists and social liberals made the decisive switch from the old party to the new.

So a third narrative was needed. Brown now became not merely a bulwark against craziness, but a rule-proving exception — a brave and wise man of the people, the Green who wasn’t a Green, the adult in the room. He was now someone to be supported in his lonely struggle against the Red Regiments surging into the ranks of the placid and gentle Greens. As NSW state member Lee Rhiannon, whose past had attracted little attention hitherto, prepared to enter the Senate, her past membership of the born-moribund pro-Soviet Socialist Party of Australia (it had split from the CPA in 1972), became a focus of manufactured obsession.The attack on Rhiannon was full or ironies — the Australian Right is currently full of people like Christopher Pearson and Keith Windschuttle who rejected SPA’s line as hopelessly moderate, and enthusiastically supported the Chinese cultural revolution and Pol Pot’s auto-genocidal Kampuchea. In today’s Oz, another screed on Green “watermelons” is cheek-by-jowl with a piece on New Guinea by Helen Hughes, who was a member of the CPA during its mid-’60s remnant Stalinist period. Then, she advocated revolution in New Guinea and Aboriginal Australia. Now she advocates withdrawal of aid, compulsory imposition of individual land tenure, whether people want it or not. The Stalinist impulse, the adamantine certainty about reconstructing people’s lives survives wherever the politics ends up — yet you won’t see any exposes of Hughes’ past politics in the Oz.

However, it was also true that the attitude of the small but active and influential Marxist “far-left” to the Greens had changed. Having made various serio-comic attempts to create a unified electoral bloc, and gaining about 1% of the vote, this was abandoned in favour of supporting or even joining the Greens. By and large this wasn’t a strategy of “entrism” as practised by Trotskyite groups in UK Labour in the ’80s, but it was an attempt to give activist backbone to a party whose branches were often composed of nice people, wanting to make the world a better place, and yet as dippy as a three-tier chocolate fountain. The increased effectiveness of the Greens over the past decades has come to a significant degree from the tried-and-tested organisational skills many of these people brought to the party.

The rise of Rhiannon, and of a red phalanx allowed the Right to construct a simple narrative of red versus green. The “reds” in this analysis were watermelons — they allegedly had no real concern for the Green causes they wrapped themselves in, using the party only as a vehicle for a century-old Marxist struggle. The idea that Marxists might believe that the destruction of the planet as an entity supporting human life might constitute a genuine historical emergency, and an inevitable consequence of capitalist alienation, was too complex to understand (and would require the acknowledgement that there was a genuine historical emergency), and would involve recognising them as full human beings. So the mad conspiratorial theories became obsessively dominating.

The red/green pseudo-split underestimated the degree of environmental concern on the left — and also the degree of leftist critique on the Brown/green side. The green Greens had never been indifferent to the idea that capitalism, by its very nature, must expand its productive base to retain its level of profitability, and that this eventually brings it into conflict with social and natural life — the movement globally, had simply rejected doctrinaire notions of class struggle, and revolutionary socialism. Green politics is implicitly social democratic/democratically socialist in that it believes that the key production decisions — output levels, pollution levels and costs, etc — should be in democratic hands (whether through the state or interlinked co-operatives or a hundred other possibilities), rather than set by capital, and enforced by an unquestioning growth state.

Furthermore, the notion of a simple red/green split obscured the most interesting development of a “third force” within the Greens — the post-Marxist leftism represented by Adam Bandt and a half-dozen leading figures who entered the Greens (many as senior advisers) in the 2000s, and began to reshape its politics. For the dim-bulb depress gallery, there was only one Marxism — far-left Trotskyism, with its political schema of classes, labour theory of value, etc, essentially unchanged since before the First World War. But the “Left Alliance” group with which the “Bandt faction” had been involved since the ’90s had constituted itself in direct opposition to this sort of Marxism. Using theorists such as Ernesto LaClau, Foucault, Giorgio Agamben and others, there has been a long-standing attempt to theorise a world dominated by intellectual production, global fluidity, the changed role of culture in personal formation, etc. A pretty clear statement as to how this approach to the world fits with a green philosophy was contained in Bandt’s maiden speech, republished in The Age, in which he affirmed that a Green politics of collective ownership of the planet fits into a wider notion of radical equality — which then necessitates a commitment to same-s-x marriage. Rather than being a grab-bag of progressive policies, this approach puts a whole series of social and environmental policies on a common ground. It’s a philosophy with which the Greens can go consistently into the future.

What’s most noticeable is that this “third force” Greens faction’s ideas fit more neatly with the Green Greens rather than the Red Greens they are supposed to be in alliance with. The Bandt faction want to distance themselves as much as possible from old crude anti-imperialist struggles — such as the pro-Palestine BDS campaigns in NSW, on the grounds that left politics can no longer be squeezed into such simplistic strait-jackets. Ditto, the Bandt faction support for involvement in Libya, which was crucial to the party adopting the stance in full. Interestingly none of this complexity appeared in Sally Neighbour’s one-dimensional article on the Greens in The Monthly, which brought that publication’s obsessions to the issue, and missed the wider story. Indeed, the major factional struggle in the future will be between the Bandt greens and the old red Greens, something the MSM has missed entirely.

The Greens have nearly 40 years continuous history in one form or another; they are part of a global movement — which they did much to foster — which has held government in numerous places. They have a deepening and expanding philosophy which makes factions possible without tearing the party apart; they have a class base. I reckon they will survive the departure of their key figure. Whether the MSM depress gallery can survive their continued existence remains to be seen.

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  • 1
    Hugh (Charlie) McColl
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    The MSM depress gallery”. Classy. I like it.

  • 2
    Pamela
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy for a more intelligent analysis of the Greens and Bobs decision than the glut of crap in the weekend papers , many repeating endlessly known facts, it is refreshing to read a more insightful piece.
    Particularly sickening was the Henny Penny- Bobs Gone- sky will fall scenario- wishful thinking more like it.
    Christine has more intelligent ideas to contribute to this nation than the flock of far right fundos currently masquerading as LIBS and LABS in the Parliament.

  • 3
    cairns50
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    great article, its such a pity the labor party does not

    listen to what its members want, ie for the labor party to return

    to being the progressive force in australian politics, not just another

    right wing party

    i would like to ask anna bligh ex qld premier, one question

    assuming you would have lost the election just held anyway

    do you think you would have lost as many seats at the election

    , if you had not pursued your stupid idiotic privatisation

    agenda ? which a large marjority of qld voters did not want

    if your answer is yes, than that just tells me how far removed

    the alp is from progessive thinking australian voters

  • 4
    paddy
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Well worth the price of admission Guy.

  • 5
    wilful
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. There’s a reason or three you don’t get a gig in News Ltd papers…

  • 6
    bmason6
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Great article. Although, whilst Deep Ecology is about ‘fitting man into nature’ (what kind of nature does man not fit in?) I think you have misconstrued it. It is about embracing ecology as the science of the 21st century and reconverting economics accordingly rather than an Atomistic/Hobbesian/Newtonian world order. Whilst there may be some who suggest that we have to radically depopulise, shut down industries and live on carrots, there are some serious thinkers promoting inspiring visions i.e. Arran Gare, John Cobb Jnr.

  • 7
    Fry Suzie
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    …a Green politics of collective ownership of the planet fits into a wider notion of radical equality — which then necessitates a commitment to same-s-x marriage. Rather than being a grab-bag of progressive policies, this approach puts a whole series of social and environmental policies on a common ground. It’s a philosophy with which the Greens can go consistently into the future.”

    Here’s hoping you are right about that Guy.

  • 8
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I’ve done some blogging on this kind of thing after mulling over it for a few days (metaphorically not literally, a clarification perhaps necessary when discussing “greens”).

    I’m not convinced the critics of Rhiannon’s socialism are being honest about sick capitalism post GFC, and expected GFC 2.

    (Can one estimate be true of cost greater then WW1, the Great Depression, WW2, Vietnam War and Space Race combined?)

    Perhaps the critics might also say she was not transparent about her past either. As for the provenance of joining the Greens NSW - until the big media learn up on the Geoff Ash dimension they are just displaying their ignorance.

    As for the BDS - two words will suffice - Yigal Amir.

  • 9
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Christian Kerr of the Australian is the worst offender. He makes no effort to understand teh party he despises so much and looks like a goose talking about ‘factions’.

    a challenge to the deputy spot was likely to come from Ludlam, also from the left faction”

    What a tool.

  • 10
    Pete from Sydney
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Throughout News and Fairfax, national correspondents with zip to go on — because they rarely bother to talk to individual Greens”….you wrote this from where?

  • 11
    Tom Jones
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Watching the transformation from the Wicked Wizard of the South into St Bob now he is retiring is only possible by the MSM because they think that their readers will not recognise the huge shift in position. Possibly the geriatric readership will miss it.

  • 12
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Guy, I think you are falling into the same trap though, by the end of the article, the ‘factions’ become real and not imagined.

    I don’t think there is enough patronage and frankly MPs for ideological factions to exist. There are individual members, with their different emphasis on issues, but these have to be resolved in the party room, just like the other parties.

    One day factions might exist, but there are no such things as ‘blocs’ yet. Perhaps with the exception of a dominant group in NSW.

  • 13
    Jan Wositzky
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Be interested on anyone’s view on the attitude of ABC 7.30’s Chris Uhlmann towards Bob Brown/Greens: I though he had a particularly particularly nasty undercurrent whenever he interviewed Bob Brown.

  • 14
    mattsui
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    It is my experience that factionalism doesn’t exist within the Greens at all. Free thinking and speech are central to the Greens’ ethos. No two party members will agree on everything and there will be some who have more in common with each other. But there’s a long stretch from social, common interest, geographical (remember the Greens are a National coalition of state based parties) groupings to the sort of factionalism that has brought shame on the Labor party.
    The day there is a leadership spill among National Greens MPs is the day thousands of their members will walk away from the Greens forever.

  • 15
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    The Greens will survive, just drift back to a handful of seats and will loose the balance of power.

  • 16
    Modus Ponens
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Jan - agreed. Maybe being married to the ALP Member for Canberra might have something to do with it.

    Spousal job protection syndrome or something…

  • 17
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    The watermelons are out in force today, proping up their new leadership

  • 18
    cairns50
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    surprise surpris suzanne blake does not like greens or reds

    how do you ever go to sleep lady ?, having always to be on the

    look out for these nasty people who threaten the right wing

    society that you so admire

    give every one a break and drop off posting re this subject,

    have a valium and try and get some shut eye

    when you wake up you might even find that things are not

    as bad as you think they are with all of these green and red

    nastys in our midst

    ps christine milne has blonde hair, what colour is yours ?

  • 19
    Bo Gainsbourg
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, I think the Greens will survive, probably go up and down a bit, but there is at least 8% more of the vote for them out there to get. Unlike Guy I’m not sure that there is quite the overriding need for the overarching guiding theoretical basis to ensure their health, I think that’s pretty important for the academic/self labelled intellectual class, and I’m not dismissing it, but I’m not sure it is as important as some think. When you look at the Greens parliamentary team there is a fair bit of depth there. Most if not all of them have solid civil society campaigning backgrounds, they are in touch with a range of natural constituencies and have first hand experience in that world. Aside from that I think the mundane work of party building, policy development and slog in the electorates is what’s needed. Not perhaps particularly exciting, but if they stick to that there’s votes out there waiting for them.

  • 20
    zut alors
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Ageing conservatives will now have to paint over those old placards: ‘Milne’s b*tch’ lacks the ugly connotation and resonance formerly enjoyed by their rank. And I do mean rank.

  • 21
    drovers cat
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    listened to Chris Milne on Fran’s show this morn: fluent, informative, confident, no horses scared. Move on: nothing to see here.

  • 22
    mattsui
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    @ Drovers cat…….
    listened to Chris Milne on Fran’s show this morn: fluent, informative, confident, no horses scared. Move on: nothing to see here.

    Any Brumbys culled DC?

    Chrissy Milne will make a fine leader but do the Greens really need a leader?

  • 23
    cairns50
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    could not agree more with the posts of pamela and drovers cat

    the right wing rednecks and there toadies in the mainstream media

    just dont get it do they ?

    actually they do, but they are shit scared that the rest of the people

    will one day wake up and see the light and the progressive forces

    in this country will prevail

    put it this was, im hoping anyway

  • 24
    TormentedbytheDs
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy for some serious discussion of the Greens. Bo, I agree about the hard slog but they already have an overarching ideology. If they did not exist then someone would have to invent them. The major parties of the world are completely unable to cope with the reality that the earth’s carrying capacity is limited. The current economic thinking, that all the major parties subscribe to, has no way of accommodating this fact and so the only reaction they have is to stick their fingers in their ears. An example is to try them on the idea that most of that coal will have to stay underground and never be burnt. Only the greens seem to be able to accept a finite earth and how we can operate with this fact.

    One reason for this has been the relentless anti-intellectualism of the major parties. They bang on relentlessly about education but are utterly contemptuous of learning except applying that learning to making money or weapons. Even then they are torn, as we can see, in their ambivalence to the “tech” billionaires.

    This was clarified to me by Gerard Henderson’s reaction to Bob Brown’s speech. In his opinion piece on it and again on Insiders there was no nuance. To even contemplate the existence of life anywhere but on Earth was utter madness. This seems shared by all the other commentators from that political stream. This is extraordinary when compared to current scientific thinking.

    The support for the Greens will fluctuate but until the main stream can accept that we have to adapt to a finite planet the Greens support base will grow.

    The only problem I had with Bob’s speech was “Earthians”. The usual term now is Terrans, replacing the old fashioned Earthlings.

  • 25
    TormentedbytheDs
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    F*** me sideways I am being moderated. Does this happen to everyone? I thought I have always been the very example of moderate.

  • 26
    Andrew Bartlett
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    OK, I take back my comment about Guy jumping the shark a while ago (just don’t write about live exports again)

    That’s quite a good piece. Even though I quibble with the use of the term ‘factions’, which I think implies far too much structure and organisation between groups and people than can realistically exist at present. But there are certainly differences on emphasis, process, priorities and degree which broadly coalesce around different groupings - rather as human beings tend to do when they are active participants in largish groups.

    It’ll interesting to see where the Greens go from here. A real opportunity to take things up to the next level, whilst also some risk of ebbing support. And as always, some of it will depend on factors out side the party’s control, so it’s impossible to predict with any great certainty. But the potential and possibility for further growth in the breadth and depth of public support is certainly very real.

  • 27
    Liz45
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Well Guy, you almost quietened SB down? Almost! It’s good to read an article that is not dripping with pure hatred like the garbage from the Murdoch stable. Last Friday, the walking advertisement for journalism Joe????from the Telegraph couldn’t help himself with his petty and nasty comments about Christine Milne on ABC local radio. He made some condescending comment about the ‘glint’ in her eye??Funny thing is, he can’t put a sentence together without ums and ers? And he criticises someone for the ‘glint’ in their eye??? What a petty little p***k he is! They’ve been leading the charge re the lying bs about Lee Rhiannon?

    As a resident of NSW I have a lot of respect and admiration for the Greens in State Parlt, particularly in the past, Sylvia Hale and Lee. If it wasn’t for both of them, a lot of vital information would NOT have reached the public. I refer in particular to Killalea State Park and CSG etc among many others. Typical of Joe ‘whatsisname’, that they don’t even bother doing any research - they just print bile!

    I wish Bob Brown all the best for the future. I’ve been a longtime admirer, and recall vividly the fight over the Franklin River. What a day that was when we won! Euphoria! Thanks Bob!

    I sincerely hope that the Greens under Christine Milne goes from strength to strength! Keep on keeping the bastards on their toes!

  • 28
    John Newton
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Three things rarely noted about the Greens.

    1. That loony commo Lee Rhiannon, only interested in foisting Stalinist ideals on the party, was the first and for a long time the only member of any party to visit and support the farmers on the Liverpool Plains in their fight against the coal seam gas pluggers. Where were the Nats? where are the Nats? Oh, yeah, there they are, lurking behind the Libs and their miner mates
    2. The greens have four principles - up there out front on all their websites: Grass roots democracy, peace and non-violence, social justice and the environment. Every decision made by the party has to be run past these principles. It’s not uncharitable to suggest that these are four more principles than either of the two majors have.
    3. Greens voters, while very proud of Bob Brown, are intelligent enough to know they’re not voting for a leader - who is appointed by the party room - but for the party and their policies - and principles.

    I’m pretty confident we can do well without Bob at the helm. Like Colonel Sanders - he’ll always be there in spirit. Oh, wait, not like Colonel Sanders at all.

    That said, thank you Guy Rundle for the most intelligent and nuanced comment I’ve read on this development

  • 29
    Sean Doyle
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    Another great article that does author and publisher great credit. Thank you.

    It’s areas like the Greens where the narrowness of the media’s political analysis is exposed. They’ve all got the blinkers on, not in an partisan fashion (News Ltd obviously excepted) but in their inability to view politics as anything other that an two horse winner takes all contest. To me, a key example of my cliché filled viewpoint is the reaction to the 2010 election result. The media in the main soiled themselves due to the inability to comprehend that an election could be held without a clear winner. Apart from displaying a clear lack of knowledge of how parliament is meant to work, I think that there was a fear that the cosy relationship of the media and the duopoly was under threat. Obviously that didn’t take hold in a serious way, but the way that the media reacted to a situation that didn’t fit into their strict binary was pretty revealing, I think.

    Can’t see the Green vote going down with Brown gone, even though he will be missed. The Greens actually have a cohesive platform of policies that attract voters no matter who the “leader” is. Combined with the ALP giving away free kicks to them all over the park in an attempt to claim the middle ground of a doughnut and there should be little cause for concern in the Greens camp.

    @Modus Ponens: Veteran Crikey subscribers will remember the days when Kerr/Bray splashed electrons on these pages. While he was reasonably balanced towards the major parties despite being a Liberal staffer, he was absolutely rabid towards the Greens and clearly thought of them as political Untermensch*, where any semblance of balance and reason was clear felled in order to provide enough expanse for his bile to be propelled into. His move to The Australian was about as predictable as an episode of Q & A and I suspect he is considered undroppable as long as Rupert is around.

    *On a scale of one to Andrew Bolt, how much of a Godwin is this? Answers on the back of an IBM punch card please.

  • 30
    rinaldo hernando
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    i heard that tim wilson guy on the drum this evening saying “the greens will go left wing” now with christine milne as “leader”.

    what a douche” i thought.

  • 31
    cannedheat
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    As John Newton pointed out the Greens four principles are four more than either major party. It has been the abandonment of principle (or embrace of MBA style business ethics) that has left any voter with a functioning brain no where to turn. Sigh… same issue in the UK BTW…

  • 32
    AR
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    GR, as usual, mordant and (possibly) over cerebral on what is a fairly simple scenario. A party of integrity, principle and vision is trying to appeal to the lumpen. Good Luck!
    Following an interview with Kernow (WHY FFS??, the ultimate Quisling, charmed by Garrulous Gareth to desert the Dems after their HIGHEST electoral result, duhhh),Uhlman was his usual despicable, “reading from cheat sheet notes” self, tonight interviewing Milne.
    How is it possible that ABC doesn’t realise this bloke is, at best, a runner for real correspondents, but without the slightest concept of BIG PICTURE, for Oz or the future (doubtful if he has any, except maybe the T’rgraph).
    As in the past, with Brown or Gillard, he just reads the questions without listening to the answers, probably beyond his miniscule comprehension anyway.

  • 33
    Tim H
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I always thought the Greens were a moderate centre left party. And will remain so under Christine Milne who will make a great PM after a term of Abbott.

  • 34
    linda domaschenz
    Posted Monday, 16 April 2012 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Guy for your critique of the situation, besides all the analysis and whatevers we The Greens will continue as.
    For all our ethos, nothing has changed. Well except Bob is not at the helm. He is still there for 2 months and also will always be seen as the Father figure of the Oz Greens .
    Yes, it’s a change of leadership but in comparison to the other players, in other parties?
    We are growing/emerging as an alternative real voice and that is why others cant cope with the new powerful third party.
    Christine & crew will continue to serve us well.
    Not much has changed except for Bob the patriarchal father figure spending more time on other important issues. He is not gone, just changed positions.
    We are a big family that will and is changing the face of OZ politics.

  • 35
    Graham R
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    A great piece, vintage Rundle. The first sensible article I’ve read since Brown resigned.

    I hope, for the sake of Australian journalism, there will be others.

    I also hope that a significant portion of The Greens’ vote was not just for Brown himself. Until the next election I have absolutely no idea about that.

  • 36
    barso
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    @John Newton: Well said.
    That’s all.

  • 37
    pritu
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Good to read sane commentary on this topic, Coalition shills notwithstanding.

  • 38
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Here is a good one for aall you greenies, as you eat your rolled oats with billy tea this morning.

    Missed this when it came out a few weeks back, so could not miss the opportunity

    THE most enjoyable thing about the Queensland election results was seeing the Greens’ vote go backwards.

    In the biggest swing against Labor in the state’s history, the Greens actually lost votes and were reduced to a paltry 7 per cent.

    Bob Katter’s new socially conservative party, the much-mocked KAP, outgunned the Greens with almost 12 per cent of the vote.

    Matching their big failures in Balmain and Marrickville at last year’s NSW election, the Greens threw everything they had at the inner-Brisbane seat of Mount Coot-Tha and failed dismally, with the Greens vote slumping 3.5 per cent there. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Chief Earthian Bob Brown.

    The Greens leader must really be from another planet, judging by his grandly titled “3rd Annual Green oration” in Tasmania (where else) on Friday.

    Fellow Earthians,” he began.

    So why has no one from elsewhere in the cosmos contacted us? Surely some people-like animals have evolved elsewhere. Why aren’t the intergalactic phones ringing?”

    Why indeed. Next Bob will be sucking his little finger and asking for Mini-Me.

    Let us here in Hobart, and around the world, resolve that through global democracy we shall save the Earth. Let Australia take the lead in peacefully establishing a global parliament. Let us create a global democracy and parliament under the grand idea of one planet, one person, one vote, one value.”

    There it is. He said it.

    The Greens might have thought joining forces with Labor after the last election was their ticket to the big time but they overplayed their hand. And Australians are waking up to their totalitarian instincts.

    In his hubris, Brown has revealed the true nature of the Greens, in all its loopy glory. Fellow Earthians, from a planet far far away.”

  • 39
    Blaggers
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Here, here John Newton.

    Guy: mandate for vegan dog food gave me a good chuckle.

  • 40
    Coaltopia
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, thanks John. Rhiannon has been a vocal critic of the necrosis that is coal expansion in NSW.

    Maybe one day conservatives will learn to conserve.

  • 41
    Karen
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the ALP/Green coalition, more has been done
    for the community in 18 months than in the last 11 years.
    What single thing of any social value did Howard/Costello
    achieve in 11 pitiful years, other than gun control and
    Reserve Bank independence?

  • 42
    Liz45
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    @KAREN - I’ve asked exactly the same question? I can’t think of ONE policy/program/initiative that helped people - such as Medibank, Pensions, child endowment/family benefits etc? Not one!
    What infrastructures did the Coalition fund? None! It’s always the same. They waste our taxes via giving them to the wealthy companies etc and when Labor is in, they have to spend to fill the bridge; get abused for spending and then get voted out? Along comes the Coalition, who just repeat their past performance/s? Amazes me!

    Another good example of no spending on vital infrastructure. Apparently, there are hundreds of bridges around the country badly in need of repair or replacement(probably more since the recent floods?). Some are upwards of 100+ years old. They’re vital for the distribution of food etc. Local Councils can’t afford to do it - it should be a nationally funded necessity. Just wait until there’s more bridges in fatal accidents?

    If Abbott is elected next time, the same thing will apply? Handouts to wealthy companies and business(large ones, of course) and the country will just be allowed to go backwards! They’ll make it even harder for kids to go to Uni and so it will just go on. Workers???Abbott will make worstchoices look like a stroll in the park. I predict it to be so! They can’t say they weren’t warned, Karen!

  • 43
    Russell
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Suzanne Blake “Matching their big failures in Balmain and Marrickville at last year’s NSW election…” yep doozy of a flop in Marrickville, but they won the seat of Balmain.. Actually, they came third ( the Liberals topped the first count) but the Greens”won” on the back of the preferences of the fourth placed candidate, an independent who only stood to keep them out!

    But you were right about Qld… dismal, dismal dismal, and doesn’t match the the narrative being pushed here at all. What’s that about “not seeing the wood for the trees”?

    That’s Guy and his cheer-squad of wishful thinkers here today…

  • 44
    Karen
    Posted Tuesday, 17 April 2012 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    @ Liz45 - couldn’t agree more - its amazing how Labor as you say have to ‘fill the bridge’ (nice turn of phrase) on urgent social and capital infrastructure thats inavriably neglected by the conservatives, and then get accused of ‘wasting’ tax payers money when they do so. The conservatives, on the other hand, engage in vast transfer payments of tax payers money to miners, bankers, big business, literally in the billions and, of course, that’s not characterised as a ‘waste’.

    The MSM frame the economic debate along neo-liberal lines that favour vested interests, of course, and voters get suckered into accepting this as objective truth and, effectively, vote against their self-interest. It frustrates me to tears.

  • 45
    Ken Lambert
    Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    Ground control to Major Bob

    Earthians listen up. Major Bob has read the signs. It is time to move on to long walks and washing dishes with his pleasant partner.

    The Greens have peaked. Their future was written by Cheryl Kernot and her dulcet tones intoning that in the end we all fall back to the big parties to get something done.

    The Greens place in the sun has been made possible only by the Gillard minority and you cn be sure that the voters have discarded their baseball bats and will be waiting for her gang with chainsaws. Sooner the better.

    When the commodities boom pales and things get really tough for the punters, the Greens will be transported into the next world on the intergalactic equivalent of a size 12 workboot.

    Major Bob will no doubt be using green dishwashing liquid.

  • 46
    Karen
    Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    @ Ken Lambert - thanks to the Greens, the ALP/Green coalition have delivered more policies of social value in the last 18 months than any other predecessor. Name me one other government before this one that has delivered? No, you can’t. I can imagine you scratching your bald head trying to think of single thing of social value the Libs have delivered in 11 hopeless years of continual lies and massive transfer payments of tax payer money to the upper middle classes and wealthy elites. The boot belongs to you.

  • 47
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    @ Ken Lambert

    Yes Ken, Bob Brown is a clever man, he haas seen enough signs of the demise of the extreme Greens and is exiting at the appropriate time, before the decline is such, that it makes his position untenable.

  • 48
    cairns50
    Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    a good comment karen, i think its a waste of time arguing with people

    like ken lambert and suzanne blake, fair dinkum 2 imbicles straight

    out of the caves

  • 49
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    @ cairns50

    What you up on early roster at the hippee commune today. Setting the table for breakfast?

  • 50
    cairns50
    Posted Wednesday, 18 April 2012 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    good morning suzanne, im sitting at my computer in my unit in east

    fremantle thinking about you and how people like you get the minds

    they have to think such rot and write such dribble, perhaps under

    your that brain of yours is a nice pleasant person

    drop in for a coffee Latte of course, thats the drink of progressive

    people like myself as you would be aware

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