Last week saw two events in Australia that should give all right thinking people (ie people who agree with me) a little chilly shiver. The first was barmy, the second much more substantial.
Unlike the UK where climate change is often seen as an issue for people far away in Australia they *are* far away and have seen bush fires, droughts, floods and disasters over the last ten years on a really frightening scale. They've even had record hail storms.
There really is no excuse for anyone to be a climate denier in Oz, but the main opposition Liberals (read Tories UK people) had a mini-coup last year deposing one leader who was seen as too reasonable on climate with an out and out denier.
However, under pressure from the right Labor has taken it's traditional position of buckling. This has led to Labor's leader, Julia to issue instructions to the troops to distance themselves from their Green partners, even as the Greens are welcoming the deal both partners just signed. As per usual the electorate have scented weakness and signalled that they just don't respect it.
Meanwhile in the New South Wales state election we saw a massive swing to the right giving the Liberal/National Coalition seats they never dreamed they might win. Of course, the small crumb of comfort here is that the Greens also achieved their best ever result including electing their first ever representative in the NSW lower house (who's from the midlands). However, in the context of an incredible swing towards the climate denying right that win is a very small chink of light.
At least we know there is a growing audience for left and green ideas as Labor's failure to deliver a progressive agenda becomes more and more apparent. Right now they're lost and in government, a terrible combination. Here's the results.
For the geek minded I thought I'd also compare percentage seats to percentage vote under AV, just because it backs up the contention that AV accentuates trends which can, sometimes, lead it to less proportional than First Past the Post. That's by the by though.
What's clear is thatthere is a space for a clear left progressive party in Australia, despite the growing vigour of the right, and that Labor's capitulation to the right's agenda does not just signal a lack of principle but is going to cost them dear over the next few years.