Domestic / Federal / State

Goodbye Greens

By Michael Quinn

In a decision that showed a blatant disregard for working people, the Greens Party earlier last year helped pass arguably some of Australia’s worst anti-union legislation. As a result of working with the Liberal’s, The Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Amendment Bill 2011 passed the NSW Parliament. Unions now will no longer be able to make financial contributions to political parties.

Already struggling with cost of living pressures, this is just another kick in the guts for honest, hardworking people. Working Australians need an effective voice within the chambers of our decision makers. The Greens Party support of this legislation makes this effort an even harder task.

And this is not just an isolated incident. In the most recent Victorian Parliament, the Greens Party voted with the Liberal’s 69% of the time.

The Greens Party can pull stunts off like this because they are not a party for working people.

The Greens Party took the gold medal for receiving the highest donation to any political party in 2010-11 when businessman Graeme Wood chipped in $1.68million. It then shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Greens Party supporters have the highest average income of all Australian political parties, higher than even the Liberal’s.

Why then should Labor preference a party that doesn’t care about the interests of working people?

In July the NSW Labor conference successfully passed a motion to end automatic preferencing to the Greens Party.  Although a motion to automatically place the Greens last would have been a better result, this still represents a welcome development.

NSW State Secretary Sam Dastyari told the conference, “The Greens political party are not our friends, they are not our allies, they are our political rivals”. Nor are they a friend or ally of working people. They do not crusade for the interests of working people. They put the environment before the jobs.

The Greens Party represents as much of a threat to working people as the Liberal Party.

Real reform that helps the lives of working people can only be done in government, by a Labor government, and not from the cross benches. A vote for the Greens Party is a vote for the Tories. For every Green MP in parliament there is one less Labor MP to form government. Whilst the Greens Party arguably hold the prize of being the most progressive party in Australian politics, they don’t have a record of reform, because they are not a party of government.

Preferencing the Greens Party for such a long and sustained period has damaged the progressive vote for Labor. It has also played a large role in their rise through Australian politics. They now hold the balance of power in the Senate, have defeated Labor in its heartland(Melbourne-Federal, Fremantle-State) and look to seriously threaten other Labor seats.

It is now time for the rest of Labor to follow NSW’s lead. Labor doesn’t need the support of the Greens Party. Working people need the support of a Labor Government.

Michael Quinn is a Commerce and Economics graduate in March this year and former President of the University Catholic Society; the opinions expressed here are his own.

 

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