Former Australian Greens leader senator Bob Brown (right) and former deputy Christine Milne (Image: AAP/Alan Porritt)

A quarter of the way through Paddy Manning's detailed history of the Greens we reach the Getting Together conference when, in Easter 1986, the various strands of green politics in Australia resolutely failed to coalesce into a national party.

In Inside The Greens, Manning (who previously worked at Crikey) reports the debate as various groups attempted to mold the party's philosophy. The real problem to be fought, argues one attendee, "is the patriarchal ego", while another says an early draft of the credo is too "eco-human-centred". Both are defensible positions, and both sound like a parody of left-wing politics.