The Radical Greens

16 April 2012
Terribly sad to see Bob Brown retire as Leader of the Greens this week. Mr Brown was a leader of great courage and dignity, and having been lucky enough to have met him, just as inspirational in person as he was on the national stage. (I speak in past tense - he has said that he will remain involved with the Greens "till the day I die" - luckily for all of us).

Out of all the coverage of Senator Brown's retirement though, I was bemused to see him and the Greens repeatedly described as "radical". The idea that the Greens are a nutty fringe group with little to offer "ordinary Australians" is one peddled by both major parties and the media; PM Julia Gillard said in a speech earlier this month “The Greens will never embrace Labor’s delight at sharing the values of everyday Australians, in our cities, suburbs, towns and bush, who day after day do the right thing, leading purposeful and dignified lives, driven by love of family and nation.” What is she saying? That we're so busy sitting around inner city coffee shops with our fair trade soy lattes that we don't care about work, families or Australia? What are these values, anyway?

The Greens policies include such issues as increasing education and health funding, improving access to child care, reducing environmental impact and creating high-tech jobs, improving housing affordability (and legalising same sex marriage)...all issues a majority of Australians say they want. Most Australians when surveyed support same sex marriage and decriminalising abortion, which the Greens support and the major parties do not; it's Labor and the Coalition who are aligned with extremist groups here. Most "working families" would be appalled at companies getting away with polluting the environment, at the levels parliamentary superannuation, at the two-tier health and education systems we are developing. But the major parties need to paint the Greens as dreadlocked extremists in order to hide the truth; that it's the Greens who are more in step with the values, needs and aspirations of "ordinary Australians" than Labor and the Coalition will ever be.


  1. one of the many reasons i continue to support the greens is that they don't cynically imitate the lowest common denominator straight from 'today tonight', but are able to stick to their humanity and show some real leadership.

    frankly, labelling the greens as radical and extreme to me shows they're still there and still standing up - and hopefully still able to voice an opposing argument, and basic left wing point of view (they're the only ones doing it, after all!)

  2. Labour and Liberal take corporate sponsorship. Until they take a stand and stop accepting money and start representing people, they'll be just as compromised as one another.


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