Even for a tactically challenged party on the edge of electoral oblivion, it seems a bizarre misstep. Why are Labor MPs jumping on a bandwagon of union thugs dissing the Greens?

Any reading of polling — and Bernard Keane crunches the numbers compellingly today — would tell you there are only votes to be lost, not gained, in an attack on more progressive minds.

As for the values argument — “we have different values and different policies, and we certainly distinguish from them,” Greg Combet said this morning — that’s fairly laughable given Labor’s principled stand on almost nothing except a carbon tax the Greens forced it into.

No, this is just political desperation. It veritably reeks.

Are Greens’ policies really as “extreme” as One Nation? Impractical and superficial, perhaps, and certainly deserving of scrutiny given the party’s powerful parliamentary position. But some have been adopted by Labor. And at least two — gay marriage and euthanasia — are more in line with public sentiment than both major parties.

They’re no more hollow than the heart of Labor, an administration that shuns desperately-needed organisational reform and tries desperately to walk a middle ground that pleases no one.

Christine Milne and her cohort won’t be why Labor is wiped from the map next year. It will be Labor’s extraordinary ability to blame anyone but itself.

Peter Fray

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