Apr 13, 2012

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. Christine Milne has been handed awesome responsibility.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

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.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

190 thoughts on “Brown: our most successful third-party pollie

  1. Holden Back

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

  2. Freja

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

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

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details