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BROWN OFF: The nation straps itself in for the Greens party’s “joy ride of the future”

docbrownwackyNever mind Lee Rhiannon as the symbol of crazed malevolence in Australian politics, Greens Leader Bob Brown’s extraordinary oration at the National Press Club will be very hard for the vast majority of Australians to swallow.

It was a horrifying insight into how his extreme-left, wacky Greens political party will exercise its balance-of-power in the Commonwealth house of review, the Senate.

In his remarks, Brown confirmed that he will side with Labor to ensure even if Abbott is elected PM with a mandate to rescind the carbon tax and scrap any carbon emissions trading system prior to its commencement that the new PM would not be able to pass his agenda.

That’s not an exercise of balance-of-power in any way that has been previously understood in Australian politics. It’s not a balance Brown seeks to exercise, it’s a veto. It’s radically different from how the unlamented and extinct Australian Democrats did business.

And while their position on carbon is clear enough, they’re willing to risk our export and manufacturing capacity in pursuit of warm-inner-glow doom-politics, on other matters they are inconsistent and incoherent.

Their comedienne economics adviser has prepared a xenophobic and hysterical document calculating that 80%+ of mining operations are somehow – shock, horror – owned by foreigners. Of course that entirely depends on how you define foreign.

And yet despite playing the race card on the economy in the style of Pauline Hanson, Brown has publicly called for the creation of a One World Government, with one vote, one value. A global parliament, possibly based here in Australia, that would operate by consensus. Yes, really.

Leaving aside the merits – or otherwise – of letting the world’s biggest and often least democratic countries make decisions over us, it’s the inconsistency and lack of coherence in Brown’s statements that is the most jarring aspect. He’s against foreign investment in mining infrastructure in Australia but in favour of foreigners deciding what our laws would be.

He can say these bizarre and bizarrely inconsistent things – or at least think he can get away with it – because previously it’s not mattered. But now it does.

They are all over the place. They loudly and repeatedly attacked Labor and the Liberals for taking campaign contributions from the wealthy and powerful yet they then took – in secret – the largest political donation in recorded Australian history, $1.6 million from a bloke who got rich expanding the world’s carbon footprint, Graeme Wood, the founder of wotif which flogs cheap airfares, car rentals, sea cruises and hotels to last-minute travellers. Despite making his fortune online he’s against the NBN.

bobbrownleerhiannonembraceLike when the Victorian Greens are cornered by pesky scribes about some aspect of their ill-considered, usually vested-interest driven policy, their VEXNEWS annointed leader Greg Barber MLC’s standard defence has been – off the record – well, we’re not in a position to implement any of this so why are you persecuting us?

They manage to pretend to be pro-immigration (when asylum seekers are discussed) and yet their policy is stridently anti-immigration (when water/scarce resources are discussed). They say they care about education yet want to shaft independent schools, shut zoos and have previously demanded the axing of selective-schools even though they have provided an incredible gateway for disadvantaged but brilliant kids to fulfil their potential. They say they are concerned for the poor yet have policies that would send their power bills soaring and leave them unemployed. They profess to stay awake nights about carbon yet fly first class around the country and frequently go to all-important global enviro-gabfests.

That’s the level of accountability the Greens political party want. None.

Their voters and donors have been remarkably understanding and forgiving. But now they have ten Senators, we suspect they will start to be subject to a genuine accountability.

And it’s what they’ve got used to over a very long time where many journalists – often sympathetic to their cause or at least charmed by Bob Brown – would give them the benefit of the doubt.

We sense yesterday – and more particularly tomorrow – is the end of that beginning for the Greens political party. Yesterday’s speech by Brown was so over-the-top, so bizarre, so presumptuous that even the mostly friendly Canberra Press Gallery reported it for what it was: grandiose and stupid. Tomorrow, is the first of July. From that moment, ten Greens Senators will start collecting the highest salaries any of them have ever had and will be in a position to decide what laws and programmes are passed by the Australian government.

They have never had this power before and it is certain that it will attract unprecedented levels of scrutiny.

Their compromises – should they make them – will be probed. In relation to the carbon tax and its related ETS, it appears likely they will accept from Gillard a much less onerous impost on Australian industry than they refused from Rudd when they combined with the Coalition to vote down his “carbon pollution reduction scheme.”

For any other party, that embarrassment would be enough to cause a leadership change, an epic crisis and huge public backlash. The Greens party have been spared that, partly because size matters in politics and their small size meant they didn’t matter.

But as of tomorrow, they become the third largest party in the Senate.

Are they ready for this new era of accountability? Not if Bob Brown’s bizarre bombast at the National Press Club is any guide. They are a high-speed rail train-wreck just waiting to crash.


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  1. Bob Brown, the Pied Piper of the Stupid. His class war against the productive will be fully validated by Labor starting tomorrow, with most of the flak absorbed by the latter. Could Gillard reach single poll figures by September? Let’s find out.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 30, 2011, 8:28
  2. you are very cruel to Bob – you should pity him – from tomorrow his days are nimbered as Lee goes a hunting!

    Posted by The Insider | June 30, 2011, 10:55
  3. you are very cruel to Bob – you should pity him – from tomorrow his days are numbered as Lee goes a hunting!

    Posted by The Insider | June 30, 2011, 10:55
  4. The sky is falling the sky is falling the sky is falling

    Posted by ansteybranchopolous | June 30, 2011, 12:09
  5. [80%+ of mining operations are somehow – shock, horror – owned by foreigners.]

    That sort of implies that 80% of mining super-profits go off-shore rather than into Australian superannuation accounts. Just point that out.

    [Of course that entirely depends on how you define foreign.]

    Domiciled outside Australia.
    eg Rupert Murdoch.

    Posted by Zaf | June 30, 2011, 12:26
  6. “the pied piper of the stupid” well said.

    Posted by Blackmambo | June 30, 2011, 12:45
  7. prediction: gillard will break with the Greens a few months after the carbon tax legislation is passed. it will then turn right and deal with the libs in the Senate.

    Posted by bravo | June 30, 2011, 12:46
  8. ***prediction: gillard will break with the Greens a few months after the carbon tax legislation is passed***

    Gillard doesn’t have ‘a few months.’ Think Whitlam, post-Khemlani loan, when a grateful nation turned their loving eyes to Sir John Kerr.

    Posted by Byron in Wahroonga | June 30, 2011, 13:20
  9. Why not let the greens have a go running the country?
    All the journos where saying the economy was on autopilot and anybody can do it.This stupid experiment will cost us all and a generation or two.

    Posted by cona | June 30, 2011, 13:35
  10. Easy fix Laborites, pull the DD and admit it was your sort that allowed this crap to start in the first place, take the beating you deserve for being useless shallow incompetents, know that the ALP are now a minor party for such people that can stomach it’s persistent failure. They are no better than the Greens themselves.
    As you said a high speed train wreck but Labor are in the sleeper car.

    Posted by Simon | June 30, 2011, 14:39
  11. Those education policies could have been Labor policies from years ago. I can remember Victorian State Labor being deeply suspicious of selected intake schools in the 1990s. Short memories!

    Posted by James | June 30, 2011, 17:51
  12. What is the problem with democratising international affairs. Not that the international bodies should have more power, but that their existing power should be democratically based! Jeez. It makes perfect sense. The Saudi royal family has their own personal seat. What about the people of Saudi Arabia!?

    Posted by Martin | June 30, 2011, 18:14
  13. If you allow anyone to enter Australia who wants to from the world’s 6.5 billion people or so – what is the point of having a nation?

    Isn’t the premise of the nation state the protection of its’ citizens for their own good?

    Posted by Anonymous | June 30, 2011, 18:58
  14. Scoff at the Greens but yet the major parties will pick up some of their ideas. Denounced this morning as radicals for questioning the extent of foreign ownership of farms, yet be day’s end the Coalition have announced a committee to look at the issue.

    Posted by Rudi | June 30, 2011, 20:41
  15. I have strapped myself on for the ride of my life with my secret lover who is a very important and influential person. He values me for my health expertise

    Posted by Low rain woeful | June 30, 2011, 21:29
  16. Bob Brown will have important books on the study of agnotology dedicated to him.

    Posted by cohenite | June 30, 2011, 21:46
  17. […] BROWN OFF: The nation straps itself in for the Greens party’s “joy ride of the future” […]

    Posted by The reason for a carbon tax « James Board | June 30, 2011, 22:58
  18. I want to strap myself to SHYs boobs. That would be a ride.

    Posted by Taking of Pell 123 | June 30, 2011, 23:20
  19. be afirad, be very afraid. We need to ensure that there is a mechanism that can be used to call a double dissolution at short notice is need be. We must not take too many chances. I predict that a double dissolution will be called before the year is out next year at the latest.

    Posted by Be prepared best motto | July 1, 2011, 0:44
  20. Tasmania should seek to restore its plans to create a hydro electric power station generating clean renewable energy and exporting it to the main land. The plans still exisit. They should be dusted off and we should dam the Gordon and create clean renewable energy and wealth for Tasmania. I would vote for that. Screw the Franklin. Remove stinking Brown coal for the political environment

    Posted by Hydro is polution free | July 1, 2011, 0:50
  21. The Greens certainly need and deserve far greater scrutiny than they have had to date. But there will only be 9 in the Senate – number 10 is Melbourne MHR Adam Bandt.

    Posted by Kevin Butler | July 1, 2011, 0:56
  22. Now lets see what the fairies in the garden can do to stuff our country

    Posted by kermit | July 1, 2011, 9:16
  23. Absolute power corrupts and bobbo and his nutter brigade will make it an art form with jooles, clearly, so dumb she will not see it coming.

    Posted by cynic | July 1, 2011, 10:17
  24. I am shocked at the comments of Taking of Pell – what about the altar boys?

    Posted by The Insider | July 1, 2011, 16:04
  25. I was surprised to see that Bob Brown appeared in a cameo comedy act. Why would he change his normal routine of making everyone laugh at his ability to be taken seriously for something out of his depth

    Posted by chocolate lips | July 4, 2011, 14:07
  26. The latest catch cry is ‘Double Dissolution’
    and make it happen now!
    I would be all for another election right now if I could see a clear leader with backbone and integrity. Once upon a time – in a Galaxy Far Far Away – nope that’s the wrong introduction, so sorry – let me try again. Once upon a time (yes this is still a fairy story) I really believed the Liberal’s might be the right party for Australia, considering the damage the Labor Party has and is and will be doing for the foreseeable future.

    Then I grew up! You see it matters not which party is in power currently, they all have the exact same agenda, albeit under different posh names. There is the Carbon Tax, the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Direct Action Plan.


    Posted by JustMEinT | July 4, 2011, 18:52
  27. How good is John Howard looking these days! Come back John – the country needs you.

    Posted by Soldier | July 4, 2011, 23:07
  28. Why do Labour and oposition keep giving preferances to the?

    Posted by Freddy | July 5, 2011, 11:16
  29. My sides ache reading this comedy skit. Too funny. Bob’s really got you lot running for the hills, don’t he? Imagine, sticking to a policy position – like the ETS Abbott and the Libs promised in 2007! Explain that one and stay credible.

    Posted by Wendy | July 5, 2011, 20:27
  30. Didn’t Abbott support an ETS during the 2007 election?

    Posted by Wendy | July 5, 2011, 20:27
  31. And another thing, don’t the Turnbull Libs support an ETS?

    Posted by Wendy | July 5, 2011, 20:28
  32. I find it amazing that Rhiannon and Brown not to mention the garden knome Milne didnt come out today screaming the house down on the way Sri Lanka soldiers committed Genocide on the tamils. Do they think a bloody cow is more important than a human. Typical of a nothing party to take on the soft issues like cows so that Brownie cant be seen to be out of his depth with.

    Posted by kermit | July 5, 2011, 20:42
  33. If histroy tells us anything that when small protest partys are put to accountability test they fail – See the German Greens. They will by end of this year spend more time attacking each other!

    Posted by JO | July 6, 2011, 12:36
  34. Thank God that the good Senator Boswell. He has shown exactly what the Greens think.

    A motion by Senator Boswell that “condemns the boycott of Israel instigated by Marrickville Council” passed the Senate with the support of Labor and the Coalition. All the Greens voted against it.

    “Senator Brown had the opportunity to put his money where his mouth was and instead he chose to vote with his extremist colleague Lee Rhiannon, a known supporter of the boycott,” Senator Boswell said. “Brown has failed to pull her into line. By failing to support this motion Senator Brown has failed at the first hurdle.”

    The motion also recognised Israel as a legitimate and democratic state and “a good friend of Australia”.

    It seems when Brown said that the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions policy was a mistake that had cost the Greens vote, he wasn’t saying the policy was bad – he was merely saying it was bad to mention the policy because it cost votes.

    This is sheer hypocrisy.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | July 6, 2011, 21:19
  35. Nine Greens Senators equals the Australian Democrats high water mark. Hooray, they are in decline ……..

    When the Liberals and the ALP disagree, they will hold the balance of power from 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2017 and then be relegated to a footnote in history.

    If the ALP is to survive, it must attack the extremism of the Greens. Despite the commonality of many of the Socialist Left policy positions and those of the Greens, I am sure the Labour Unity grouping will push through a tough policy of seeking to destroy the electoral appeal of the Greens by publicising their more extremist policies.

    This was the successful strategy in 2004 of the Liberals in Victoria. It should have been continued in 2007. It again worked in 2010 in the State election. If the policy had been adopted in August 2010, the seats of La Trobe and Corangamite might have stayed/become Liberal and given Tony Abbott the numbers to become Prime Minister. Baillieu was one of the people who backed the Greens preference strategy in Melbourne in August 2010 and soon found that it was dangerous and swapped it for the sensible Greens last position that won him government.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | July 6, 2011, 21:27
  36. Has Julia Gillard made a huge blunder in spending all her political capital on a carbon tax that raises negative net revenue after all the compensation is dolled out?

    My first question to the Prime Minister: if this tax is going to cost the government more in compensation than it raises in revenue, why are you doing it? Isn’t it just the creation of bigger government with a whole new bureaucracy to pretend to be doing something about an issue you are pretending to be able to do something about and which you are pretending to really care about?

    My second question to the Prime Minister: In relation to the impact on emissions of this carbon tax: what do your models show will be the reduction in carbon dioxide emissions between now and 2015 as a result of this tax? How about between now and 2020? Will you need to implement other direct action measures to achieve the target? How much will they cost?

    My third question to the Prime Minister: where are the budget savings going to come from to fund the negative revenue impact of the carbon tax? Will it be a reduction in government services and investment in infrastructure, schools, hospitals or will you just cut other benefits to the most disadvantaged in society?

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | July 7, 2011, 11:19
  37. I have just come across a interesting page on the ABC web-site – see http://www.abc.net.au/news/events/julia-gillard-first-year/abbott/

    The three words the self-selected 4000 people most used to describe Gillard were: incompetent, disappointing, liar.

    The three words most used to describe Abbott the next day were: negative, strong, honest.

    I wonder if these impressions have become fixed in the public’s mind more generally than amongst the politically active.

    Posted by Giuseppe De Simone | July 7, 2011, 12:15
  38. They are truly ignorant. Just because they sit around in self-rightous entitlement sipping their fair trade latte doesn’t make them educated.

    Posted by Anonymous | July 9, 2011, 0:43


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