It’s true – the Anti-Green Smear Campaign 2010 really is warming up. Here’s Lindsay Tanner – whose miserably dishonest efforts last election were so frustratingly asinine that I actually recorded video responses to them (complete with Polly bells in the background) – running the typical misleading ALP attack lines:
- The Greens are fanatics who won’t compromise their principles;
- The Greens are tertiary-educated snobs who hate battlers;
- The Greens are in bed with the Liberals because the Liberals occasionally put Labor last behind the Greens and because the Greens don’t ALWAYS give preferences to Labor;
- The Greens are mean to Labor and don’t do what they’re told.
On one – they’re not “fanatics”, Lindsay, but they are clear about what they advocate and their voters can rely on the Greens doing what they say they will. “Broad church” parties like the ALP pretend to represent groups who fundamentally disagree, giving none of their voters any confidence whether it’s them or their opponents who the party will represent.
Point two illustrates this – the ALP wants people who are concerned about “asylum seekers, forests and civil liberties” on BOTH sides to vote for it, and then it will choose what it feels like doing with those votes. If you’re clearly in favour of these things, and you vote ALP, then your representative in parliament may well oppose these things with your vote.
Lindsay defends Family First in 2007
Points three and four are particularly amusing – the ALP thinks it’s “entitled” to Greens support no matter what it’s doing. But if Greens voters wanted that, we’d vote for the bloody ALP directly. We want a party that will stand up for principle even when (“even when”! Yes, I know how ironic that is) the Labor Party declines to do so. And as for preferences, let’s be quite clear about this: the only place where a party actually allocates preferences is in its Senate ticket, and the ALP is almost always listed ahead of the Liberals in the Greens’ Senate ticket. In contrast, of course, is the ALP preferencing Fundamentalists First ahead of the Greens in 2004 and tricking its voters into inadvertently voting for Steve Fielding. (Let’s also note that the Greens advocate for voters to have the choice to preference above the line, but the ALP and Liberals oppose that move, since it’d greatly reduce their power to trick their voters.) Lindsay complains about “how to vote” cards that occasionally, in certain electorates, include a split card that shows voters how to preference whichever major party they prefer. (In the ALP’s traditional last-week attack leaflets, they cynically edit out the pro-Labor half to tell the lie that the Greens are preferencing the Liberals.)
Lindsay’s ALP wants power much more than they want to actually advocate for progressive causes. That’s why they regularly take on conservative positions – hell, Rudd’s on record as an “economic conservative” – and base their strongest claim for your vote on the Liberals being worse.
Unlike the ALP, the Greens are a party that consistently represents progressive voters and our views in parliament. And, in a representative democracy, that’s exactly what we want them to do.
A loose Green-like coalition took control of our city council about 2 years back. They were assisted in many cases by ALP members campaigning and helping at the booths.
Since being elected they have not covered themselves in glory. Rates have gone through the roof, and curiously, the only action they’ve taken with respect to conservation is to relentlessly criticise the Bligh Government, snuggling up to the LNP in the process, with the full backing of the local Chamber of Commerce which owns the press and hates Labor. They’ve completely alienated Labor voters and done buggerall else.
So I wouldn’t be too hard on Tanner. I reckon he’s entitled to his opinion, and lucky enough to be able to get it published.
I’ve no issue with Tanner being critical of the Greens – hell, they’re critical of his party – it’d just be nice if his attacks were a bit more honest (the stuff the ALP says about the Greens in the last week of each campaign when it’s too late to contradict is shameless) and actually made sense. The Greens don’t always vote with the ALP? Well, duh – what makes him think progressive voters want them to?
And I think it’s a pity he’s much more energised attacking the Greens than the conservatives. The Greens do attack the ALP – but for not being progressive enough. The ALP attacks the Greens for being both too progressive and yet somehow linked with the conservatives – it’s a bizarre scattergun approach that makes Tanner look incoherent and silly.
Most of the commenters at the Age are not buying Tanner’s tired anti-Green rhetoric. It’s ironic that he accuses Greens of being in bed with the Liberals while recycling many of their most offensive right-wing memes.
Could 2010 be the year that Labor’s dirty tricks campaigns really start to backfire on them?
FWIW, here’s my posted response to his article:
Lindsay, I marched next to you in the anti-Iraq war demonstration, and was impressed by your courage and integrity on this issue. I am one of the tertiary educated people that Labor has lost (in fact I am a former member of the British Labour Party) The reasons I will always preference Greens above Labour (State and Federal) are as follows:
Preferencing Family (read: Fundamentalists) First over genuine progressives in 2004
Conroy’s internet filter
Garrett (the Greens dodged a bullet the day this clown joined Labor)
Labor’s refusal to support gay marriage
An ETS scheme
The huge sums of money your party takes from gaming, interests, big developers, logging companies and the big end of town generally
Labor’s continuation of Howard’s anti union laws (worse than Reith)
Your belief that Labor have an automatic right to progressive votes, regardless of your party’s actions
Labor’s cynical and mendacious attacks on the Greens at election time, which read like the worst of Andrew Bolt’s demagoguery.
Your reactionary anti-intellectualism in this article.
State labor’s love of big, dumb expensive projects (Southern Cross, Docklands, Desalination) to name a few.
Treatement of asylum seekers
The abandonment of Labors social democratic ideas when your party jumped on the economic rationalist privatisation bandwagon.
That’s a pretty long list and I could go on, but you get the picture. If you actually want to re-engage educated, progressive people instead of alienating them further, these are the areas you need to look at.
Good luck with that.
He was right on one thing though – the Greens are just another political party.
Just one question – why is progressive always such a good thing? Change for change’s sake is not always positive.
And such policies as:
“introducing a tax on extreme wealth applied to the wealthiest 5% of people.”
“abolish the requirement for secret ballots before industrial action.”
“end the exploration for, and the mining and export of, uranium. ”
“close the OPAL nuclear reactor at Lucas Heights. ” Whoops – what about all that medical research and products?
“immediately close Australia’s ports and territorial waters to nuclear-powered or nuclear-armed vessels.”
“allow and encourage the United Nations Human Rights Council to investigate alleged and potential human rights abuses in Australia, and comply with any recommendations” – this effectively means ceding our sovereignty by the way.
do not encourage me to think that they have fully thought through all of their policies. But horses for courses I say.
Cemil, “progressive” was adopted as fresh new name to replace others which became untenable after the fall of communism. Same pig, different lipstick!
“He was right on one thing though – the Greens are just another political party. “
Depends what you mean by “just another”.
They’ve never denied being a political party.
But, unlike the two major parties, they stick to their principles. They don’t sell them out to try to cover both sides of an issue.
That’s very attractive to those of us who want actual representatives in parliament.
“Just one question – why is progressive always such a good thing? Change for change’s sake is not always positive.”
Because at the moment we do not have enough public services. The shift has gone from public to private. We have a two-tiered health system, a two-tiered education system. The two major parties have no interest in seriously expanding public transport networks. They both want to continue discriminating against gays. They both support locking up asylum seekers. Neither wants to tackle the risk of climate change.
Those are important issues to me. Not you, obviously, which is why you’re a conservative. But those of us who share the above concerns deserve representation in parliament commensurate with our numbers – and that’s what building the Green vote is about. About making sure that those who do feel as we do aren’t scared off being democratically represented in parliament by the scare campaigns of the well-funded parties of the status-quo.
What other names, SB? We’re not communists. What names would you permit us to call ourselves, great decider of what is permissible and not?
I am not suggesting that people not choose their own names or labels. I am merely interested in why that name has become suddenly popular in recent years. It seems to cover a multitude of sins.
Of course you are not communist. Communism is dead as an ideology. No one wants to identify as communist or Marxist or Trot or Maoist anymore. “Progressive” seems to be the nom de jour of the modern radical. It seems to have great cachet among the latterati.
Yes I resent the ‘watermellon’ label that is tagged against fellow Greens.
Just because you care does not automatically make you a communist.
It just signifies an opposite approach to that espoused by “conservatives”.
I’m also happy with “lefty”.
Yes ‘lefty’ is a less confrontational term.
The term ‘leftard’ I find offensive and I think that we can do better then reffering to thoose of the right as ‘rednecks’, wingnuts or my favourite.
There are those who think wanting better provision of public services or more socially liberal policies makes you EVIL, and will accept no name for you that isn’t insulting and repulsive.
I suspect SB won’t be happy unless we call ourselves commie-fascist child-raping junkie freedom haters. With herpes.
Good article by Tanner – most of what he says needed to be said, esp wrt the CPRS.
What has really disappointed me with the Greens since the 07 election is how much more populist they are. They used to stand up for their principles, but i’m struggling to see evidence of that since we’ve had a Labor government.
Come the next Senate where they are almost certain to hold the BoP in their own right they will need to work much more effectively with the government of the day, and their role in the Senate will be placed under much greater scrutiny by the media than it is now. I wait with interest to see how they handle it.
“Populist”? An ALP supporter criticising the Greens for being “populist”?!
What “principles” do you think they’ve betrayed? They disagreed with Labor’s half-arsed ETS that made taxpayers pay out the biggest polluters, and was manifestly inadequate. What else?
Their role in a democratic parliament is to do as their voters want, not what the ALP wants.
Howsit, is there another Doktor Rudy here?
I agree with everything the other one said, though…
I’d better think of a new name..
They voted against means testing the private health insurance rebate (first time round), and have since backed away from supporting the break up of Telstra, having given initial support for it – crucial to achieve the NBN.
I was also unimpressed by Bob Brown’s cheersquadding of Abbott’s regressive PPL proposal which will further entrench social inequality. While the Greens policy is at min. wage, Brown’s siding with Abbott gave the Libs scheme a credibility injection in the eyes of the mainstream.
But the CPRS is the biggest let down. You can console yourself all you like about the half arsed scheme (I agree in principle btw), but at least it would be a start, and much more difficult to reverse once implemented. As it stands now we are nowhere near having a price on GHGEs. The Greens need to be held accountable for their role in that failure, which Tanner’s article does.
Funny some can bring themselves to celebrate Obmama’s half-arsed health scheme, but not to support the CPRS.
You and the ALP are absolutely shi1ttin yourselves.
Dr Rudi – no, stick with your name. It’s good to see you back after Life Support was so cruelly cancelled.
The troll (numbers appended to his name) can get stuffed.
Confessions – I’m not sure of the specifics of the incidents you raise, but whatever the reason for the Greens’ approach you can rest assured it wasn’t because of trying to pander to rightwingers, which is why the ALP keeps betraying progressives. If any Green voter is concerned about why the Greens voted in a particular way, ring them. They’d be happy to explain it. There’s always a good reason.
It’s like Lindsay’s crap in 2007 about the Greens voting against Labor’s “plebiscite on nuclear power” proposal. Labor made it sound like the Greens were taking people’s voice away on the subject, and printed leaflets with people being gagged by the Greens. The reality was that Labor’s proposal wasn’t a real plebiscite, in that it could only be called by the Minister. Which, since the Minister’s Government would be the entity approving such a plan, was completely pointless. The Greens wanted a real plebiscite that any MP could call; the ALP, for obvious undemocratic reasons, didn’t.
But if you believed the Labor attack, you’d have it arse-backwards. I suspect the examples you raise above are likewise, and if anyone’s concerned, ring the Greens and ask why they did as they did.
“in bed with the Liberals while recycling many of their most offensive right-wing memes.
How about just enacting their policies eg spending untold amounts to make sure asylum seekers can’t get here, locking them up on remote islands, or the handing of hundreds of millions to our richest private schools.
No wonder Tanner hates the Greens, they’re a direct threat to his livelihood.
Jeremy, I can’t even log in as RobJ, says I have the wrong password – I don’t.
“The Greens need to be held accountable ”
They were right not to support a shit, ineffective scheme.
As best I can determine the Greens voted against the PHI rebate the first time because their policy is total abolition of it. As with the CPRS, this is the inflexibility that pisses me off – if something isn’t 100% perfect first time around it should not be legislated. I think the Greens voted in favour of the PHI means testing the 2nd time it went to the Senate, but can’t be sure. It went down because the coalition blocked it.
Brown’s PPL cheersquadding of Abbott’s scheme seemed to be solely to put the spotlight on the Greens policy. What he did almost backfired because for a while there it looked as if the coalition were going to vote against the governments PPL scheme altogether! No scheme. Thankfully the government called Abbott’s bluff and he backtracked.
Rob: if you want to know how to change your screen name, see the comment I left for Gavin at PP in the weekly open thread. 🙂
Yeah, thanks confessions, I saw that, I might change it but suppose my new handle makes it clear who I am, as does the content of my posts 🙂
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