Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Australian Greens are sweet camouflaged poison

The signs are looking good for the Australian Greens whose rise in the polls has gone hand in hand with the right veering wildly into climate denial and Labour descending into an organisational crisis. However, in a bizarre election twist the Catholic Church has stepped in to denounce the Greens as horrid lefties.

The Archbishop of Sydney no less, Cardinal George Pell, took time out from his busy schedule to warn voters off voting for the Green Party in the up-coming election describing the party as "sweet camouflaged poison". Mmmmm, sounds delicious.

Pell went on that "One wing of the Greens are like watermelons, green outside and red inside, a number were Stalinists, supporting Soviet oppression." He added that they were "thoroughly anti-Christian".

Glorious! You couldn't by this kind of publicity. If you can get someone to denounce you, do make sure they're clearly absolutely bonkers, so well done Cardinal McCarthy, or whatever your name is.

The Sydney Diocese followed up the remarks with an intemperate press release that made it clear that the objection to the Greens was based on the "Greens' hostility to private schools", that they wish to "replace the Judaeo-Christian beliefs at the heart of Australia's values with the law of the jungle", their "enthusiasm for abortion and euthanasia" and that "they favour homosexual marriage".

These Greens sound like the worst sort of fiend don't they? Abortion and gay marriage? Whatever next? Votes for women? They also expressed concern that the Greens economic policy would lead to hardship for the poor. Of all the criticisms at least this one would be worth having, if it were true. Which it isn't.

I suspect this story, which highlights the progressive social policies of the party, will do everything to help attract disaffected Labour supporters *to* the Greens and cause great embarrassment among the many Australian Catholics who have absolutely no sympathy with the Archbishop's red baiting nonsense.


Cllr Jason Kitcat said...

The watermelon label seems to be doing the rounds again. Tories here in Brighton love to shout and point at us while calling us 'watermelons'. Like saying we're "reds" is going to instantly have us investigated for being unpatriotic or something.

It's depressing that in 2010 we're still seeing parties labelled with such old-school monikers. Ok well it's true some politicians have yet to move on, but Greens cannot be so easily pigeonholed.

DocRichard said...

Watermelons - green on the outside, red on the inside. Fisrt heard in the 1970s, it is coming round again. I always reply that I would rather be like a watermelon than like a babboon's bottom.

Dave Riley said...

Tony Abbott-- the leader of the 'Tories' (Liberal and National party Coalition) -- is a right wing Catholic who once was a seminarian. At the heart of this is Pell's morality agenda as the Church is the cutting edge of anti gay/anti women campaigns in Australia in sync with the 'born againish' Family First party.
The Catholic Church has the lions share of the private schools market. They also run universities. The Labor Party has been the main vehicle for sponsoring cash to private schools who receive more state dollar subsidies than the state system per student as the AL:P has traditionlly been associated with Australia's Irish working class Catholics even though the church split the party in a strident fit of anti communism in 1953 as part of its campaign against the Communist Party in the trade unions. This sentenced the ALP to 20 years out of federal government.
Ironically Pell's cousin is an ex nun and gay....
This is sure to be the Greens election as the main parties are offering very little difference from one another except more of the same.
The key issues that may fuel support for third parties are refugees and climate change.
Whatever happens it is likely that the Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate and this is why the red baiting has grown.
So theres' a political shift here that Pell's outrage is registering.
I suspect that here our electoral situation is much better than Britain's. That's mainly because of preferential voting and the fact that we have currents on the left who aren't registered sectarians like the English basket cases.
The Greens have mopped up almost all the voter preference left of Labor but it has taken them 20 years to do that.
There is a right wing/left wing debate growing in the Greens has sections begin to smell the leather on the font benches so it's well worth checking out the situation in Tasmania: link and Sylvia Hale's call for the Greens to turn left .

Derek Wall will be addressing the Climate Change/Social Change conference here this year as will members of the Greens. It is conference (now biennial) organised by the Socialist Alliance.

Dave Riley said...
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Dave Riley said...
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redcliffe62 said...

The sad thing in Oz is that the Greens are seen as an arm of the labour party for good reason.
Despite saying they would accept the mandate of the people of Tasmania and support the biggest party, they reneged on that commitment promise within days and got in bed with the labour party, as we knew they would.

It means any conservative with environmentalist views like myself is wary of voting Green as I might as well put a cross in the labour box as that is where my preferences go, in this election to EVERY seat.

Green preferences will mean that a party with 5% less support then the conservatives will get elected as the government.
Another way to loom at democracy I guess.

The watermelon line is silly, but at least in tasmania, and to a lesser extent across all of Australia, there is sadly a ring of truth to it.

The fact the media do not allow Bob Brown and the Greens to participate in election debates is a farce and shows like in the UK that the media is sewn up by vested interests, as teh greens would have around 10% plus support nationally and therefore a right for their policies to be heard, and debated.

Pippa said...

Redcliffe - of course the Greens usually preference Labor ahead of the Libs/Nats. They share more policies etc. (or perhaps it's better to say that they share even less policies with the libs/nats)

You, of course, are free to ignore the how to vote card and allocate your preferences as you see fit.

Jim Jepps said...

RE: watermelon. Every time I've seen the term it's always been from the mouths of the fringe right who are so lost in their own dogma they've forgotten they need to sound sane to other people. Brighton Tories seem to have quite of few of these - not sure why that would be, but it was lovely when they denounced us as communists over recycling proposals.

RE: dave's points. The conference sounds interesting and I've been perusing the SA election videos on YouTube which were pretty interesting, particularly the very strong emphasis on environmental issues - far beyond how the left pose themselves here.

On preferential voting (AV yes?) what's your opinion of it? They're preparing for a referendum on moving to AV here and it would be good to hear the experience from places where they have it.

Redcliffe: I agree that both the watermelon thing is silly and that it has a kernel of truth - in that the Greens are a progressive, left of centre party (well, in most places) although I think saying they are an arm of labour maybe laying it on a little bit too thick.

Dave Riley said...

There's preferential and then there's preferential. The Greens broke through first in Tasmania because of the Hare Clarke system there but on the mainland it is much less democratic.(Today with changes in the Tassie system they would unlikely have succeeded)The problem is that the game becomes --and the Greens play it very undemocratically and very cynically -- one of trading and manipulating preferences. So that the Greens can/could foster in the Tories by splitting their preferences as they refuse to formally align between the two major parties -- playing up to both sides despite their platform being left of the ALP. Here in Qld that resulted in a change of government in 1992. This caused a lot of bad blood from Labor Party supporters and esp trade unionists.

Of course you can win on primaries but lose on preferences. Now that preferential voting is not an imperative there's more wild cards in play. Parties can also direct preferences or individual voters can chose how they fall.So if you vote #1 in the Senate or Lower House, the party's voting card decides how your preferences fall.

This election some Greens candidates have directed preference -- #2 -- to the Socialist Alliance as there is a groundswell in the Greens that prefers local control over preference flow. We also have better climate policy than they do.In the last election the ALP directed preferences to the right wing Family First in the Senate (rather than direct them to the Greens) and their candidate got up on a niggling primary vote return. They had done the same with the right wing and Catholic DLP at the Victorian state level.

If Labor wins this election it will do so I expect on the back of Greens preferences. But will it win is the question. All we know is that Greens will hold the balance of power in the Senate.

As for being environmentalist -- sure and thats' us not just on polling day either as we are an element in most environment campaigns across the country from forests to power stations. Some of our members are permaculturalists, organic farmers,and even ex coal miners! I think Derek's new book covers the Australian example in that regard.

Our updated environment policy is here .

Derek Wall said...


the link may be of interest, I have been off the case with the deputy leader contest but I would love to post some details of how we can support the Australian Green Party (and transfers to the Socialist Alliance one of the few left groups who are serious about ecology),

I know Australian citizens can vote if they are London

Dave Riley said...

The election heralds a major split within the indigenous community away from the ALP.

Only the Greens and the SA oppose the NT Intervention among national parties as does the newly formed First Nations Political Party (FNPP) in Western Australia.

Postal voting closes on the 19th: "Apply for a postal vote by printing and filling out thisPostal Vote Application formthen returning it to the AECIf you are overseas you will need to return your form to your nearest overseas polling place."