Last week Labor and the Greens may have signed a historic alliance, but left-leaning Australians probably shouldn’t crack into the goon bag just yet.
With a government formed under such tenuous circumstances and with the slimmest margins possible, it was a clear from the start that this was always going to be a rocky ride for the winning party.
No doubt Labor wasn’t tickled pink by Bob Brown yesterday raising the prospect that the Greens may side with the Coalition on some issues (i.e. paid parental leave) should he and Tony Abbott wish to hold hands, albeit temporarily.
As this emerged, sections of the press began ringing alarm bells about what the Labor-Greens alliance could potentially mean for Australian businesses.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
The so-called “rainbow alliance” is already not looking so colourful. The cracks have well and truly emerged; here is what the pundits are saying:
Greg Sheridan: Cleave boldly to the centre
While the balance of the federal parliament seems to have swung to the Left, with the Greens to gain sole balance of power in the Senate, and a Green and a left independent displacing two Labor members in the House of Representatives, any future for Labor still lies, as it always has, in the centre.
Andrew Probyn: Greens, Coalition ‘may gang up’
Bob Brown has opened the door to siding with Tony Abbott and the independents to pass legislation against the Government’s wishes. In a new dimension to what already looms as Australia’s most complex Federal Parliament, the Greens leader said he would work with the Opposition as well as the Prime Minister to further his party’s agenda.
Tom Arup, Katharine Murphy and Michelle Grattan: First cracks appear
The first cracks have appeared in the Gillard government’s alliance with the crossbench MPs, with the Greens signalling they may side with the Coalition on some issues, and a country independent clashing with Treasurer Wayne Swan over the mining tax.
The Sydney Morning Herald
When the Great Ent of Australian politics – more tree than man – assembled his Green team for the benefit of the press, the message of the occasion was unity, steadiness of purpose and discipline.
Phillip Coorey: Abbott offered a slice of power
As the political establishment comes to grips with the concept of minority government, the Greens leader Bob Brown said the Parliament belonged to everybody, not just the government.
The Herald Sun
Phillip Hudson: Greens warn they may vote with Abbott
Greens leader Bob Brown has fired a warning at Labor that his party would be prepared to join with Tony Abbott and independents to pass laws the Government did not like.
Ben Power: Markets on green alert
A Greens-backed Labor Government could seriously damage Australia’s economy. It’s easy to underestimate this risk: there hasn’t exactly been a business outcry about the Greens’ alliance with Labor and the environmental party’s control of the Senate from next year, has there?