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Monday, July 09, 2012


The spate of recent Green bashing by various Labor/Union identities is an indication of how much the Labor party fear the Greens movement as a viable alternative to Labor as the gap between Labor and Liberal policies gets barely discernable particularly on issues relating to the environment, asylum seeking boatpeople and defence.

In the most recent attack on the Greens, Paul Howes, a now right-wing (but once hard Left) trade unionist and national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, has told Labor that it ‘must turn on the Greens and destroy them’. In an article published on Sunday, Howes twists Greens policies in such away that is so transparent that it is a wonder his own people aren’t cringing with embarrassment. Howes opens his attack on the Greens by writing:

“As their policy explains, the Greens ‘believe too much emphasis is placed on full body contact sports often causing unnecessary physical damage and confining opportunities for participation to the athletic elite.’
Sorry kids -”

What ridiculous nonsense. To infer that it is Greens policy to ban all contact sports is simply an attempt to marginalise Greens as being wimps and to suggest that the Greens want Australians to become a nation of wimps. As Howes himself goes on to explain, kids will always be kids and the competitive spirit will always be there with them. Greens are not saying ‘no more rugby, no more Aussie rules, no more hockey or netball. Let's all go meditate instead’, they’re simply saying ‘lets minimise the unnecessary dangers that accompany these sports – which is exactly what the various controlling bodies of these sports are already doing.

But then Howes gets to the nitty gritty of his fears. He goes on to write:

“People assumed that the Greens might have some weird ideas, but they are never going to run the show, so we don't need to worry about them.

Well, we can no longer afford to be so complacent.”

This is music to a Greenies ear. The ‘we’, of course, are the Labor party. The Labor/Union movement finally concede that the Greens are a force to be reckoned with.

The fundamental difference between the Labor/Union movement and the Greens movement is that the Greens gives the nation and the planet’s long-term environmental future priority over immediate financial gain and short-term job opportunities, whereas Labor and the Unions are interested only in the medium and short-term interests of business and jobs – in short, the economy from a political point of view. In other words, they, like the Liberals, will do anything to keep the punters (us) happy and them, the right and center, in power and enriched even if it’s at the expense of the environment or other people.

The problem is, as Howes now recognises, many Australians are waking up to what’s going on within the Labor/Union/Liberal ranks. While the Liberals and the Unions will always have their stoushes over profit versus wages, both sides see the Greens as a threat to the short-term viability of profits and wages.

And there are other fundamental issues where the Labor/Union/Liberal ranks are much closer together than many realise. 

With regards to boatpeople for example, the only difference between Liberal and Labor is where to send them; Malaysia or Nauru, whereas, for the Greens, the policy is clear; bring them safely to Australia where they can be quickly screened and, where applicable, released into the community. Increasing numbers of Australians are very concerned about what is happening with boatpeople and the way they are being used as a political football by both sides of the increasingly less obvious divide between the Labor party and Liberal party to placate the inbuilt xenophobic fears of some of our noisier Australian political commentators.

Similarly with defence. Increasingly, spending on defence has been seen more as a necessity simply to provide jobs rather than to actually build stuff (let alone stuff that works) with which to defend Australia. Both the Labor/Union movement and the Liberals see our past involvement in Iraq and our continuing involvement in Afghanistan as being essential for ‘Australia’s interest’ – though exactly what those interests are is never properly explained. Australian’s in the past seem to have had a ‘well, the pollies know best’ attitude rather than to ask to such questions as ‘why are we there?’. Again, though, there are an increasing number of Australians who want to know why we are there, especially as allied soldiers, including Australian, continue to die for absolutely no apparent reason in a clearly unwinnable war. Most Greens don’t want a bar of it anymore – and many Australians don’t either.

Well may Paul Howes call for the destruction of the Greens movement; clearly he sees his own Labor/Union movement under threat from the Greens – and for good reason.

Like our contact sports governing bodies, all Australian Greens want to achieve is a safe, friendly and sustainable environment for all people, regardless of where they are from, to live, work and play in well into the future by keeping our competitive spirit on the playing field and well away from unnecessary battlefields and providing long-term sustainable jobs and growth using renewable energy resources for the good of all.

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