Richard Di Natale Samantha Ratnam Greens Victorian Election 2018

Progressive voters face an invidious choice at the state level in New South Wales and Victoria. The chaos, dysfunction and scandals of the two major parties of the left in those states have left the engaged, conscientious progressive with nowhere to turn. At a time when ideological civil war is wracking the Liberal Party federally, the failure of the parties of the left in our two biggest states is just as damaging to overall perceptions of politics.

NSW Greens are worse. The NSW Greens — long bitterly divided between moderates and the far left, to the extent of squandering valuable chances to take federal seats off Labor — are now a smoking ruin of a party, blown apart in the quest of some MPs to destroy another, Jeremy Buckingham, over allegations of misbehaviour that the party’s own formal external investigatory process dismissed on the balance of probabilities.

The Buckingham case is a difficult one. That investigation found no case against him, but his accuser insists on her allegations. Those who believe women have been ignored for too long, and had their experiences of assault and harassment dismissed and trivialised, aren’t content with a legalistic investigation, but a political organisation can’t act extra-legally. But the problem for the Greens is the context around the case of internecine warfare over a long period, with the result that the NSW Greens currently are focused on tearing each other down rather than serving the voters of NSW. Some party members even showed up to Greens MP Dawn Walker’s valedictory speech to abuse her this week. Why on earth would anyone vote for a party so angrily self-obsessed?

The problems of NSW Labor need little introduction. Now onto its third leader since losing government, the party will discover that the policy-barren years of Luke Foley will make rebuilding under Michael Daley problematic. And has Labor really changed from the notorious outfit of yesteryear? Last week, Daley held a Chinese language media-only media conference in which he held open the possibility of negotiating a deal with the murderous Beijing regime to participate in its “Belt and Road” mega-project, in defiance of bipartisan federal policy. Foreign donations — which the NSW ALP have long been the undisputed champions of cultivating — are now banned, but donations from local interests linked to foreign corporations and governments such as China’s will continue to be a problem, and explain why the NSW and Victorian Labor parties seem so eager to co-operate with the agenda of the world’s most brutal dictatorship.

Daniel Andrews went one better than Daley and rushed a secret deal with the Beijing regime through before caretaker commenced in Victoria. Andrews’ government has not featured the blatant corruption that characterised much of Labor’s last years in power in NSW, but the “red shirts” scandal, in which MPs rorted hundreds of thousands of dollars of money from taxpayers for partisan activities, remains unresolved, while no one has been held to account for the appalling attempt by Andrews to attack opposition leader Matthew Guy via a massive document dump that breached the privacy of a number of Victorians.

And while not the basket case that the NSW Greens are, the Victorian Greens have their own issues around the treatment of women including, now, rape allegations against Greens candidate Dominic Phillips, and damaging internal divisions that were on vivid display in the implosion of the Batman campaign earlier this year.

Bitter internal divisions and a serious concerns about candidates’ behaviour toward women or rorting, misconduct and an eagerness to pander to one of the world’s worst human rights violators — that’s the rotten choice for progressive voters in NSW and Victoria as they head to the polls tomorrow and next March. Don’t think all the alienation and disaffection toward politics is located on the right.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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