Australian Greens

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The Australian Greens, posing as a traffic sign/warning label since 1992.
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The Greens are a left-wing Australian political party founded in 1992. Currently led by MP Adam Bandt,[1] the party was led from its inception until 2012 by founder Senator Bob Brown, whose homosexuality (which Brown pretty much never makes note of) is renowned for its ability to draw rage from the bile-ducts of Tony Abbott and the Liberal Party of Australia.[citation needed]

After gradually building up 9 Senate seats over the course of a little over a decade, the Greens acquired one lower-house seat in the House of Representatives in the 2010 Federal election, with Adam Bandt elected to the Division of Melbourne.[note 1] As of April 2019 the party holds a total of 3 seats in the state Legislative Assembly of Victoria, 3 in New South Wales, 2 in Tasmania and 1 in Queensland. With 10.40% of Australian votes in the 2019 Federal election,[2] the Greens are the third-largest Australian political party, after Labor and Liberal.

Political stance[edit]

The Greens were practically the only party in Australia to support same-sex marriage until well into the 2010s,[3][4] and have a more comprehensive plan to deal with global warming[5][6] than the two major parties, with even Labor being wishy-washy on the crucial topic of coal and fossil fuels.[7]

The Greens policies are said to align with the values of European-style social democracy,[8] planting them firmly within Labor's old territory before the latter's shift to the Right in the 1980s and 90s. They support expanding publicly-funded universal health care,[9] better funding for public education and free higher education,[9] public ownership of important services,[10] the rights of First Nations people and of refugees,[11] closing the gap between the rich and the poor[12] and ending political donations from large corporations[13]

Internal divisions[edit]

Internal tendencies within the membership of the Greens tend to revolve around the following:[14]

  • Those who argue that the party should negotiate with the government of the day over policy and act as a clean, credible and responsible party of government (the pragmatists/centrists), and
  • Those who argue that the party should remain a protest option, put forward bold policy initiatives and only support legislation if it's near 100% of what is stipulated in the party platform, or to oppose policy no matter what (for example, if put forward by the Liberals or another right-wing party) on ideological grounds (the purists/radicals).

During the 2010s, the division between these two tendencies has become ever starker, exacerbated by the rise of the likes of Donald Trump and the emergence of other anti-establishment figures on the Left such as Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn who actively challenged the political consensus and gained considerable support. By contrast, the Greens, in being a sensible, pragmatic, establishment voice that doesn't challenge the political consensus as much as some on the Left would like, are seen as stagnating and allowing far right populism to flourish where it otherwise might not.[15]

Criticisms[edit]

The Greens are accused of being the second coming of Stalin by various wingnuts within the Liberal Party and by parties, individuals and groups further to their Right.[16][17][18] They are also accused of being Christian haters[19][20], destroyers of morality, antisemites,[21] "appeasers of Islam", of wanting to drag Australia back into the Stone Age for their opposition to fossil fuels[22] and last but not least, have also been accused of being the second coming of Hitler (yes, really).[23] They are also panned for being "economically illiterate".[24][25]

They also draw a fair-share of critics from the political Centre for being too uncompromising, unwilling to negotiate, and not budging on their principles[26]. The irony here is that these same critics have been lashing the Greens for negotiating policy through the parliament in recent times.[27][28][29]

A few moonbats, both within and outside of the party, also criticise the party on its pro-vaccination stance (they have been known to staunchly call out anti-vaxxers in their ranks).[30] Other moonbats even criticise the Greens for being too right-wing,[31][32][33][34] even though the party continues to vote most often against the neoconservative and right-wing agenda of the Coalition.

Legitimate criticism[edit]

The Greens are less moonbatty and more sensible and pragmatic than some of their international counterparts (helped largely due to the influence of Richard Di Natale's leadership and an increasingly diversifying membership) and declare themselves proponents of evidence and science-based policy (which is true for much of the party's platform); thus, you won't find them supporting homeopathy or pandering to the anti-vaccination crowd or the anti-fluoridation proponents. Unfortunately, however, they still oppose genetically modified food on the basis of its apparent adverse effects on human health and the environment, despite scientific evidence to the contrary,[35] although there has been some pushback on this by some within the party.[36]

They are also opposed to nuclear power,[37] although a lot of this opposition largely centres around the costs and necessity of establishing a nuclear power industry in a sun-stricken country with a relatively small population (and thus less energy demand) compared to countries such as the United States and Canada with larger populations and less-favourable climates for solar energy, rather than blanket opposition to it at all costs.[37] However, many within the party do remain opposed to nuclear power regardless of its benefits. The Western Australian branch of the Greens, in particular, was born partially out of the anti-nuclear movement.

Notable members[edit]

  • Adam Bandt, current Federal leader of the Australian Greens (2020-),[1] lower house MP for Melbourne.
  • Larissa Waters, current co-deputy leader, Senator for Queensland.
  • Nick McKim, current co-deputy leader, Senator for Tasmania.
  • Richard Di Natale, former leader (2015-2020), Senator for Victoria. Good at taking down anti-vaxxers and other conspiracy cranks that the Greens seem to unfortunately attract into their ranks.
  • Christine Milne, former leader (2012-2015), Senator for Tasmania.
  • Bob Brown, party founder and former leader (1992-2012), former Senator for Tasmania.
  • Scott Ludlam, former co-deputy leader, former Senator for Western Australia. Notable for his speech calling out Abbott for his callous attacks on society's most vulnerable and general wingnuttery.[38]
  • Mehreen Faruqi, Senator for New South Wales.
  • Sarah Hanson-Young, Senator for South Australia.
  • Rachel Siewert, Senator for Western Australia.
  • Janet Rice, Senator for Victoria.
  • Jordon Steele-John, Senator for Western Australia.
  • Peter Whish-Wilson, Senator for Tasmania.
  • Lee Rhiannon, former Senator for New South Wales. Often a whipping target for wingnuts because her parents were members of the Communist Party of Australia.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. This was their first seat to be won in a Federal election; they had previously held the Division of Cunningham from 2002 to 2004 as a result of a by-election.

References[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Adam Bandt has won leadership of the Greens so where are they heading? ABC News, February 5, 2020.
  2. [https://results.aec.gov.au/24310/Website/HouseStateFirstPrefsByParty-24310-NAT.htm First preferences by party]. AEC Tally Room.
  3. Chronology of same-sex marriage bills introduced into the federal parliament: a quick guide. Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library, August 25, 2015. (archived)
  4. Inquiry into the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009 (see page 7 of the report). Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, November 24, 2009.
  5. Renewable economy & climate change. Australian Greens.
  6. Protecting our environment. Australian Greens.
  7. McKenzie, Amanda. ALP climate policy: What you need to know. Climate Council, April 2, 2019.
  8. Fredman, Nick. Watermelons or tomatoes? Social democracy, class and the Australian Greens. Links: International Journal of Socialist Renewal, January 2013.
  9. 9.0 9.1 World-class health, education & social services. Australian Greens.
  10. Public ownership, not privatisation. Australian Greens.
  11. A fairer, more equal community. Australian Greens.
  12. A home for all. Australian Greens.
  13. Clean up politics. Australian Greens.
  14. Miragliotta, Narelle. One Party, Two Traditions: Radicalism and Pragmatism in the Australian Greens. Australian Journal of Political Science 41 (4), November 28, 2006.
  15. Hillier, Ben. Into the mainstream: the Australian Greens. Red Flag, May 2, 2019.
  16. Bolt, Andrew. Greens either communists or fools. But I repeat myself. Herald Sun, August 30, 2010. (archived)
  17. Bacon, Wendy. The character assassination of Lee Rhiannon. ABC News, April 27, 2011.
  18. Fyfe, Melissa. Power at last, but have the Greens got the goods to deliver?. Sydney Morning Herald, June 12, 2011.
  19. Muehlenberg, Bill. The Greens’ War on Christianity. billmuehlenberg.com, November 13, 2015.
  20. Maddox, Marion. The 'Godless Greens': Pernicious myth or political reality? ABC Religion & Ethics, August 27, 2013.
  21. Salusinszky, Imre. Greens' Israel ban bid 'is anti-Semitic'. The Australian, August 24, 2011.
  22. Bolt, Andrew. No to cheap power, say Greens. Herald Sun, May 11, 2012.
  23. Nazi Greens an enemy of democracy, government decrees. Sydney Morning Herald, October 29, 2003.
  24. Greens' economic vision needs sharp reality check. The Australian, April 16, 2012.
  25. Hoggett, Jim. The Australian Greens' Election Promises. Institute of Public Affairs, September 2004. (archived)
  26. Daley, Paul. Labor needs detente with the Greens. Sydney Morning Herald, May 15, 2010.
  27. Wicks, Peter. True Colors – The Greens, a real mix of yellow and blue. wixxyleaks.com, March 16, 2016.
  28. Matthewson, Paula. Greens become the very thing they rebelled against. ABC News, 27 Apr 2015
  29. Hurst, Daniel. Greens accused of 'selling out' over deal with Coalition on tax transparency. The Guardian, December 3, 2015.
  30. Wilson, Lauren. The Greens denounce a regional branch of the party following a Facebook post saying vaccines kill children. News Corp Australia, April 9, 2015.
  31. O'Neill, Brendan. Article 50: down with this legal coup against the masses. Spiked Online, November 3, 2016.
  32. Byrne, Liam. A good hard right hook at the Greens. Overland Literary Journal, August 18, 2016.
  33. Hillier, Ben. A Marxist critique of the Australian Greens. Marxist Left Review 1, Spring 2010.
  34. Head, Mike. New Australian Greens platform marks further rightward shift. World Socialist Web Site, January 17, 2013
  35. Genetically Modified Organisms. Australian Greens, November 2018.
  36. Anderson, Stephanie. Richard Di Natale breaks with Greens' policy on genetically modified crops, says argument lacks evidence. ABC News, January 7, 2016.
  37. 37.0 37.1 Nuclear and Uranium. Australian Greens, May 2018.
  38. Knott, Matthew. Greens senator Scott Ludlam's blunt speech to an almost empty room goes viral. Sydney Morning Herald, March 6, 2014.