WE’RE WHAT LABOR USED TO BE
Personally, I have always had a problem preferencing the far right first.
Photograph via smh.com.au.
Labor’s commotion around preferencing the Greens last would give first preference to parties like Family First – which think homosexuality is a sin; the Shooters and Fishers party – which last month won support from the NSW Government to open up shooting in national parks; or the Coalition – which would try to dismantle so many environmental and human rights wins we’ve forged through this parliament.
And they call the Greens ‘extremists’.
Three hundred and thirty eight bills have passed through both Houses of this Parliament. The Greens have pushed and pulled, discussed and debated, and together we have brought in some impressive reforms, including putting a price on pollution; half a billion dollars for dental health; $20 million towards developing high-speed rail and $5 million for the most disadvantaged childcare centres.
Two private members’ bills introduced by the Greens and supported by the government include compensation for fire fighters if they contract certain kinds of cancers linked to their dangerous work, and restoring the rights of territory governments to prevent the Commonwealth overriding their laws.
‘Dangerous’? ‘Gutless’? ‘Extremist’? Hundreds of bills passed. One we blocked. No, we haven’t agreed on everything. Why should we?
I think it’s quite clear why some members of Labor now feel threatened by the Greens.
We reflect the ideals that Labor used to stand for. We’re not stealing constituents, we’re gaining them. I have worked very successfully with many Labor MPs in the past – I am proud of the good work Bob Carr and I did together.
I served my time in the New South Wales parliament with a full 16 years of Labor government under various premiers and I saw in that time a degeneration from a great deal of cooperation to a loss of personality and a loss of expertise on the part of the government, as they went through successive premiers, and until they crashed disastrously in 2011.
I challenge anyone to look at my record on committees, my diligence in estimates and what I believe to be a respectful working relationship with the government, particularly in the early years when Labor was more creative and reformist.
Now, the most curious of all the attacks the Greens have sustained is for being ‘too moral’.
Politicians have always been called cynical, but has our political opinion sunk so low that members of the ALP – failing to defend their own policies – dismiss our ideas for being too good?
We’ve been attacked a lot lately on our approach to asylum seekers. Protecting asylum seekers is not an easy task.
It’s easy if all you care about is ‘stop the boats’ – it’s easy if you don’t care about endangering people’s lives, insulting Indonesia and whipping up hysteria around guns, diseases and boat people and making outrageously insensitive claims that asylum seekers are ‘un-Christian’ (according to Tony Abbott) and unpatriotic (according to Alexander Downer) for fleeing their war-ravaged homes. It’s harder to find a solution to the very real concern that many people are risking their lives fleeing desperate situations.
We, the Greens have always stood by our policy of assessing the claims of people seeking asylum onshore. It is an absolute core policy.
We’ve been attacked for being ideologically ‘pure’ – again interesting that this is used as an insult by cynical politicians and pundits – we simply stand by the right thing to do.
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