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Crikey says: the Greens must get a little loose

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It’s like a husband being upset that their ex-wife went off and had a cup of coffee with some other man.”

It was a nice line from Treasurer Joe Hockey on Radio National this morning, speaking about Labor’s reaction to a deal struck by the Coalition with the Greens to scrap Australia’s debt ceiling.

It is just a coffee, after all, not the illicit affair Labor had with the minor party for the last three years. And for the Greens, it’s a rare bit of economic sense — most economists will tell you Australia doesn’t need a ceiling on debt levels, and we certainly don’t need the sort of bitter brinkmanship seen in America’s Congress on the issue. Greens leader Christine Milne successfully negotiated the right outcome.

The base might scream at Milne — a less electorally popular leader than her predecessor who’s on reasonably shaky ground after a poor performance in the September poll — for doing deals with Abbott. But if the Greens are fair dinkum about playing politics in the new Tony Abbott-led world, they need to work with the government on issues they care about and not just knee-jerk against them.

The marriage is over. The Greens must play the field a little.

17
  • 1
    Shakespeare
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Given the way the Coalition carried on every time the previous government ever negotiated something with the Greens, it’s a little more like the ex-husband getting annoyed because his ex-wife slipped off for the the weekend with the parish priest. It’s not the deal that annoys - its the #*@$ing hypocracy.

  • 2
    Professor Tournesol
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Perhap the Greens are more sensible and economically informed than you give them credit for? Too much time swallowing the Laberal propaganda I think

  • 3
    drmick
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    The last time they slept with fatso the wombat and his fiends we got the GST. This time, fatso and the vermin will subsidise health and schools for the rich, that the poor cannot afford for themselves, and the poor and the kids will pay for it; and thats the “right outcome” according to this thickhead. they will continue to make partisan ideological cuts to whatever they choose, and change laws to aid and abet their crimes; it has already started; and this thickhead still says its the “right outcome”.

  • 4
    zut alors
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    The trick will be for the Greens not to appear aligned with any party.

    They should play hard to get - but not have conversations on phones or in offices when discussing their tactics amongst themselves.

  • 5
    Ian
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely. The Greens did the right thing. And Prof its not a question of “perhaps the Greens are more sensible and economically informed than you give them credit for”, they are but they think in the longer term and they think about whats good for society and not just for exploitation now.

    All we have to do to see how badly flawed the current way of doing economics is is to look at the northern hemisphere debacle which, I fear has set their economies back decades.

  • 6
    dazza
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Greens position on debt was crystal clear before the election so why are you so surprised?
    The problem here is the hypocrisy of Hockey. All those years beating up a national emergency, and all he can do now is beat up a national emergency.
    This is what jolly joe has been saying, which is another back-flip with a pike and a somersault.
    ” ..now they are saying they are living within their means but are also saying, ‘Just in case, please give us an increase in the credit card limit to $300 billion.’ It does not sound like a lot if you say it quickly but it is a hell of a lot of money that Australians have to repay. Enough is enough..”
    And what’s Barnaby Joyce’s take on this? well, he thinks that: “..If you do raise the debt ceiling, you have a rather large train rolling off the edge of a rather large cliff.”? and so forth.
    The chutzpah and gall involved is almost unimaginable and yet, all crikey can manage is a beat up on The Greens. A bit like the OZ really.

  • 7
    Professor Tournesol
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Ian, I agree with you, the Greens are often seen as economically naive because they don’t pander to sectional interests or make electorally popular short-term decisions

  • 8
    Professor Tournesol
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    dazza, Crikey is surprised because like most people Crikey journalists get most of their Greens ‘policy’ from Laberal politicians without actually reading the policy themselves. as you say all the information is there if anyone bothered to look.

  • 9
    Perry Ryan
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    Crikey’s obviously been reading too much of The Australian and involuntarily swallowed some of the toxic sludge.

    Since when do the Greens make ‘a rare bit of economic sense’? Read their economic policies and you’ll find a lot more orthodox economic realism than either of the mainstream parties, caught up as they are like the other Anglo mainstream parties in yesterday’s Chicago School fantasy land.

    Not to mention, your high-handed prescription of what the Greens ‘must do in order to be credible’ read like vintage ivory tower fulminating from The Australian.

  • 10
    Paul White
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Megg (Lees) Milne is on course to lead the Greens into Oblivion.

  • 11
    Ian
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Paul, what an inane comment. I.N.A.N.E. If you are going to post something try and make it a sensible comment.

  • 12
    AR
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    The failure of Crikey to acknowledge that the Greens are the only party that is sincere, honest & realistic is sooo tired and tiring. Group think seems comforting until reality bites the backside - as it ALWAYS does, eventually.

  • 13
    rachel612
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    But if the Greens are fair dinkum about playing politics in the new Tony Abbott-led world, they need to work with the government on issues they care about and not just knee-jerk against them.

    Are you mad? If you’re a politics insider, it looks like the Greens need to work with the Government. But drmick is correct: the last time a 3rd force did this (the Democrats) it ended badly.

    People don’t vote for the Greens expecting them to do things. They vote for them expecting them to stop other people doing worse things. To think that the Greens need to work with Government more is to completely understand what their base wants. Completely.

    Only someone inside the political process could make this mistake.

  • 14
    Professor Tournesol
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    rachel you have a poor understanding of the Greens, they are not there to keep the bastards honest, the Greens have a goal of achieving Government in order to enact policy. This may be some time off but the Greens are an activist Party trying to change Australia

  • 15
    mattsui
    Posted Thursday, 5 December 2013 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure what part of the greens “base” (a wholly inappropriate term when applied to an activist party) will be screaming at Milne. Most of us don’t care for the populist economic squabbles that often derail good policy.
    The confected debt limit fit squarely into this category and it’s better off gone (on that we’re agreed, Crikey).
    It’ll be up to Hockey - who’s Collegues are behaving more like socialists every day - to justify where the money goes.
    Blaming all his spending on the previous Government is not going to work beyond the long awaited MYEFO.

  • 16
    Ian
    Posted Friday, 6 December 2013 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    The Greens need to do whatever is best for the country and fits within their value system. In the case of not opposing the raising of the debt ceiling the Greens did the right thing IMO. Labor was trying to pull a Republican trick on the government for no good reason. Or put another way they were trying to do an Abbott on Abbott and his gang - not a constructive way to act.

  • 17
    Michael Jones
    Posted Friday, 6 December 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    The Greens show ‘economic sense’ far more often than the major parties. Their rational approach to debt, and their demand for a carbon tax over a built-to-fail GTS, their understanding of the economics costs of unsustainable exploitation, show this quite clearly.

    And if anyone’s knee-jerking, it’s Crikey for indulging in the still-fashionable but laughably false free market consensus. You mobs need to read more Keen and less Friedman (of either variety).

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