Jun 27, 2017

What happens if the Greens expel Lee Rhiannon?

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon will still technically be a Greens senator but won't sit with the rest of the party, in the event the party room kicked her out.

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


If the Greens party room expels New South Wales Senator Lee Rhiannon over their internal disagreements about the Gonski 2.0 legislation, it would set in motion events unprecedented in the history of the Greens.

Reports suggest that the nine other federal Greens politicians are actively considering removing her from the party room with meetings to be held this week over Rhiannon authorising anti-Gonski 2.0 leaflets distributed in New South Wales while the party was in negotiations with the government over the education funding legislation.

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30 thoughts on “What happens if the Greens expel Lee Rhiannon?

  1. Barbara Haan

    The faster the Greens get rid of Rhiannon the better.

    1. Dog's Breakfast

      Times two!

  2. Dion Giles

    There’s a lesson in the fate of the Democrats. In betraying their party’s members and voters to pass Howard’s regressive GST their party room pollies shot their party in the foot with a bazooka, leaving hem legless ever since.

    1. Mike M

      Interesting point….but this is probably not a GST moment.

    2. PaulM

      Dion, you have a poor memory for history. At the 1998 election, the Democrats policy was for a GST which excluded food and the “necessities” of life. This was clear prior to election date, and is what they were able to deliver when Howard was left with nowhere else to go after Brain Harradine and Len Harris (of One Nation) would not support a GST at all. Three of the Democrats’ Senators did not support the all of the policy, and voted against the GST. Their vocal dissidence began the myth which you perpetuate, partly because of the”disunity is death” syndrome.

      1. Dion Giles

        The adoption of this election policy in 1998 by an executive group was a blatant betrayal of the membership-approved platform of the party which was well known to the voting public as being diametrically opposed to regressive indirect taxation especially when it was part of a Howard economic package to fund a handout to the Liberal Party’s donor corporations. It was the bazooka shot to the foot which left the Australian democrats legless forever. The vote of the venal pollies in the Senate party room to pass a GST was the opposite of the party’s platform and served as the coup de grace.

  3. Mike M

    The Greens is a party of protest, much like One Nation….they would be well advised to stick to “horse trading” instead of wanting to own the government’s policy outcomes.

    1. Nudiefish

      Never have I heard a sillier suggestion. The uncomfortable truth is that people are sick of the two main parties giving each other tugs behind the bike shed. If this has not dawned on you by now that explains why they don’t even get it. They labeled Corbyn an old protesting Trotsky until he stole May’s majority. The days of the old comfortable government swap arrangement are over. The Greens may, or may not, amount to anything, but it would be a mistake to think that this “protest” is going to vaporize.

    2. John Newton

      Protest? No, policies. The only sane policies on most topics. Gonski 1 or 2 is thorny. And sabotaged from the outset by both Libbies and Labbies.

  4. SQuinny1

    They become the ‘Eco-Liberals’ their bourgeois genealogy was always developing into.

    1. Mike Smith

      Liberal, small l, sure. Always been far to the left of either of the other two. Lee did what her state wanted her to do, in the state’s house (the Senate) Other Senators in other parties should not be afraid to follow her lead in this.

      1. SQuinny1

        Liberalism, the small ‘l’ kind, is centrist. Leftists know that political attitudes are the product of material culture, the proximity to the means of production etc. Like it or not, The Greens are a party of property. So the capital ‘L’ it is. Anything else is fantasyland.

          1. SQuinny1

            I’d love to see the methodology supporting the graph, and in the meantime will argue, pace Hobbes, that ‘liberty and necessity (he meant of an authority) are consistent’. Indeed, if you want to see the inconsistencies most starkly, look at the authoritarianism of rightward libertarians.

            I’m more than happy to allow that the ALP embraced economic rationalism during the eighties, and that embrace dragged them rightwards economically. However, the individualism preferred by the progressive libertarian element of the Greens doesn’t necessarily drag them leftwards economically. It just underlines their bourgeois values.

          2. Mike Smith

            Did you bother with the quiz that shows where ‘you’ are?
            Methodology is probably assessing where the parties policies answer the questions in the quiz, and where the supporters of the parties are.
            But it’s approximately correct, IMO. Especially in how it shows up the me-too-ism of the Labor and LNP party positions.

  5. Teddy

    Lee is a curious case… She was prickly this morning on ABC-RN, expressing anger at Fran for being part of the hated mainstream media who have raised questions about her role in the Greens.

    Unlike other pollies with radical pasts she hasn’t explained or brushed off (”we’re all young once, ha ha…”) her role as a member of a pro-Soviet communist micro party right up until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Instead she has always gone on the attack, accusing anyone who ever mentions that of being a “red-baiter.”

    After communism collapsed she joined up with the Trots, the ones who’d been expelled from the ALP or left in disgust after their entry-ism had failed, and formed the NSW Greens.

    They’ve been a dismal electoral failure ever since, the most poorly performing branch the Greens. But I’ve always wondered how she got on with all those Trots… As we know, Stalin and Trotsky didn’t exactly see eye to eye. But, like Lee, they’re all getting pretty long in the tooth now so I guess they managed to bury the hatchet (or ice-pick), and work on NSW Greens infamous platform of absolute opposition to absolutely everything!

    1. John Newton

      Another idiotic remark. Opposed to coal but in favour of renewables. Opposed to dumping penalty rates. But in favour of decent pay. Opposed to gender inequality. But in favour of equal pay. Opposed to environmental destruction. But in favour of sustainable solutions. Suggest you go to their website and see their policies Teddy.

      1. Teddy

        John they opposed Rudd’s ETS and helped produce a government which approves of Adani. They opposed Gillard’s Malayasian solution and now we’ve got the human wreckage of Manus. The opposed the marriage equality plebisicite and now we’ve got NOTHING. In my neck of the woods (inner west Sydney) they opposed a metro underground railway (and are continuing to oppose it) and now we’ve got the WestConnex motorway. Who is the real idiot here?

        To all those who are saying the Greens are a protest party, they don’t have to actually compromise to produce outcomes for a better world for us, I say, yes – you are dead right. They haven’t.

    2. SQuinny1

      Like all other Trotskyites, they’ve become neocons riddled with ‘the white man’s burden’ that seeks to educate us all into better moral shape. Thomas Frank’s “Listen Liberals” should be compulsory reading for the lot of them.

  6. klewso

    I’m out of my depth fathoming this crop of Greens – it’s willing to do whatever it takes to prolong the life and electoral chances of a government so anathema to it’s core values, in some “quest” for relevance – as though the Coal-ition will still respect them in the morning?
    (I find myself thinking of Godley & Creme’s “Cry” : with Di Natale morphing into Meg Lees as I watch)

  7. Murray Scott

    In comments so far (except by John Newton) I cannot see any recognition of Greens’ focus on outcomes rather than combative politics. In continuing to echo Left Renewal’s claim that they “waver on Greens principles so far as to fail to rule out any cuts to public schools.” I presume the alleged cuts are from the ALP’s negotiated deal, intended to bind subsequent governments. That deal however was itself compromised to give special deals, neither sustainable nor ijustifiable, to private schools including several recognised as Over Resourced. Looked at as a new “Gonski 2” scheme, the public sector funding grows steadily from a base less than private schools because the States agreed to continue provide their traditional funding for State Schools. All this makes comparisons difficult.
    Most Crikey readers are I think committed Lefties but we should recognise the folly of compliant solidarity with senseless campaigns. Remember the AWU’s wide-comb shearing ban? The confected outrage by ALP/unions/Left Renewal smells much more of maintaining the rage than does the effort by De Natali and all but one Greens Senators to achieve a prompt, fair redistribution of school funding, blessed by Gonski, whether or not based on a coalition proposal.

    1. SQuinny1

      Teddy listed the outcomes above. The Greens’ supporters would do well to focus on them for a while.

  8. AR

    The Black W(r)iggler is determined to deracinate the Greens to make them adaptable enough to be a junior government ally – coz that worked so well with the German party which between 1998-2005 coalesced with the SDP, its leader became Vice Chancellor & Defense Minister and happily bombed th shit out of the Balkans.
    He wet himself in his eagerness to join the big boys by agreeing to Talcum’s first attempt at Senate manipulation to only allow preferential voting Above the Line – in defiance of 2 decades of Green policy – before the public and members opposed such a sell out.
    He wont be happy until he has a seat in Cabinet – screw principles.
    Rhiannon may be an unreconstructed hard left but that’s the only hope for the future, not more of the same shit sandwich of stagnant/declining wages, crumbling infrastructure & record megacorp profits – there’s a link there if I could just put my foot on its neck.

  9. peterh_oz

    The NSW Greens are a drag on the party nationally, in the largest and most important state (being the home of the national media).

    Left Renewal, and people like Rhiannon, are reasons why.

    Good riddance.

    1. CML

      Except that ‘…people like Rhiannon…’ are correct…Gonski 2.0 is a conjob.
      You would do well to take a closer look at what this ‘policy’ will produce…more money for the private/independent schools.
      In fact, the Commonwealth will fund 80% of government largesse to the private sector, and only 20% to government schools…this from the government which has the most money. The smaller states and territories will never be able to provide 80% of needs based funding for public schools…some of which are in the greatest need. Northern Territory, for example.
      But I guess that’s alright if you live in the populous states…the I’m alright Jack principle is alive and well!

      1. AR

        CML – are you feeling alright?
        That is the first time that you’ve ever made a fair comment on a Green.
        There may be hope for you yet – finally the scales may fall from your eyes and you’ll see that gumBoil Shlernt (and the rest of the chancers, apparatchiks & time servers) masquerading as the ALP that you have loved for over a hundred years are not worthy of your faith & respect.
        They are indistinguishable from the “other side” – apart from the gNats who are a carcinoma on the face of democracy.

        1. SQuinny1

          Unfortunately, you’ve not understood that CML’s comment damns the parliamentary party’s position. It is the rebel who’s about to be expelled that took the ethical position along side the ALP. The rest of the Greens were cooperating with the Liberals (as usual).

          1. Mike Smith

            It’s a house of review, not automatic opposition. That means, sometimes, voting with the government, and cooperating. On this issue, I agree with you (CML) and Lee. FWIW, the ALP vote with the LNP more often than the Greens.

          2. SQuinny1

            Mike Smith
            June 28, 2017 at 8:34 am
            Viz your closing sentence – probably because a lot of legislation is procedural and uncontroversially so. However, if I may direct you to Teddy’s list above…

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