Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

I’m swinging from unripe Greens

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-10-12

The Greens won’t be getting my first vote, even though I’m very happy with most of their policies.  My vote has swung.

It’s unfortunate and ironic that the same harm-minimization logic advocated by the Greens for recreational drugs is abandoned by the Greens when it comes to actual legislation.  The Greens’ "holier than thou" attitude to bills going through parliament is "just say no".  Perhaps they are "green" in the sense of not yet ready for picking.

I’ll be voting first for the Democrats because they have proven they are extremely capable when it comes to improving legislation while in Senate Committees.  The dissenting opinions in Senate Committee reports written by the Democrats also seem more solid than those of the Greens, and often the ALP, especially since the me-too-ism of Howard’s mini-me, Rudd, has taken charge of the ALP.

I’ve read through a few reports from the Senate, and reviewed some of the associated legislative changes.  In my opinion, the Dems have concentrated on their duties as politicians rather than on opportunities for grabbing headlines.

As reported in "The Sunday Age" a few weeks ago, the Greens have not managed to make a single change to legislation, while the Democrats have made hundreds of amendments that constrained at least some of Howard’s more objectionable efforts.  That’s an admirable pragmatism.

It is also worth considering that a Rudd regime may well continue the Howard practice of putting forward inadequate bills to create happy headlines and the illusion of prompt action to gain the approval of the tabloid-viewing troggies.  The Rudd ALP is trying to make a Faustian deal to gain power – and it’s hard to see the ALP getting it’s soul back.  Australian legislation will suffer, and will need good scrutiny.

The Dems, choosing to spend more time in front of computer screens than cameras, seem to read bills closely enough to find flaws and offer suggestions that can be accepted by the party in power.  Boring, I know, but that preference for substantial work rather than seeking popularity with latte-sippers is what I want to see in politicians.

It’s fair to say that the Dems have stayed truer to their founder’s ideals ("Keeping the bastards honest") than have the ALP and the Liberals to the ideals of their own founders.

Despite the above criticism of the Greens, they’ll be getting my second preference.

I urge those of you who label yourselves "thinking" voters to do two things:

  • Vote "below the line" for the Senate so your preferences flow according to your wishes rather than the machinations of back-room party hacks;
  • Examine the legislative achievements, not the just the policies and rhetoric, of the minor parties before deciding on your preferences.

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One Response to “I’m swinging from unripe Greens”

  1. […] their reluctance to engage, compromise and find ways to accommodate opposing views mean that their style would be almost as effective were they outside the Senate doing the same thing. (Given there is a […]

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