I have long wrestled with the themes behind Friedrich Nietzsche’s famous lines “If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” After attending a New South Wales Greens event, I now truly appreciate its harrowing truth, emblematic of the moral and intellectual void in which our homegrown basket weavers have established their utopia.
Let me set the scene. A good mate, who shall remain nameless, and I arrived at The Eveleigh Hotel in trendy Redfern (how appropriate) to attend one of Senator Lee Rhiannon’s events as covert agents, spying on the enemy and their ways like poachers studying a pack of Lions. It was to be a truly formative experience for us both. We went in with open minds, trying to understand who these people are and why they think as they do.
Remember, any event of Senator Rhiannon’s is no ordinary Greens event: it represents the loony fringe of the loony fringe. The moment I heard one of them describe Richard Di Natale’s leadership as “Turning the Greens into a right-wing puppet party”, I knew we were in for a treat. As it happens, this was her “Results Party”, where she discovered the fate of her NSW Senate preselection battle, one that left the woman herself, and her supporters, brutally wounded after losing to the Di Natale backed Mehreen Faruqi. Though the tab at the bar was most certainly established to ease their wounds, I wasn’t questioning their motives. In fact, I think our choice of beverages (think nothing below $10) was the greatest public service we completed on the day, depleting their valuable campaign funds, all the while paying homage to the famed guerrilla tactics of socialists/communists throughout history.
We walked solemnly into the pub and were directed to a function room at the back. It was a godless, godless room. Dark walls, dark floors and furniture, barely lit if it weren’t for the sunlight coming through the windows. No doubt a noble attempt at energy saving, but it created a fitting atmosphere given their political circumstances, and to me at least, seemed rather emblematic of their movement as a whole: unenlightened.
As introductions were made, the conversations began to flow freely. We heard fervent opinions as to why Australia must have a political revolution (of the socialist kind, naturally) and why, to ease affordability pressures, the whole housing market should be socialized. We learned that the NDIS had been corrupted because private care providers have been allowed to work with disabled people.
But of course, it was mining; that despicable, unforgivable industry, tasked with extracting the resources that build and power our modern world, that received the greatest insult. I can’t remember their phrasing exactly, but I do remember the word “archaic” being used. Obviously, the gentlemen proposing this perspective was also the owner of a brand-new smartphone. For the party that constantly labels itself “progressive”, as opposed to acknowledging its blatant socialism, it was refreshingly honest.
Though, what was more interesting was the surprising homogeneity amongst those present. The Greens is the party that supposedly supports multiculturalism and immigration, and treads ever so lightly and progressively on issues of diversity. Sure, there were some present who had multicoloured hair, unique piercings and tattoos. But that whole event, of around 40 people, was completely, 100 per cent white, and from what I could see, almost entirely Caucasian.
Scanning the room, the largest single group were older, white males, and, from what I could gauge through conversations with others, no one was struggling under the burdens of poverty or unemployment. Even under their own lens of identity politics, they are a party of privilege.
Despite the Greens’ longstanding claim that they’re the party of working people and the lower class, the whole event seemed to confirm their obliviousness to the hypocrisy of their circumstances, and the hypocrisy that the policies they so despise happen to have put them in the privileged circumstances they enjoy.
Obviously, we had incredible differences in our political persuasions, though we did a damn near excellent job in maintaining our cover. I might’ve given it away when I let slip that, at a state level at least, I would vote Liberal over Labor any day, to eye-rolls from the others. Nevertheless, I couldn’t say we were treated with anything but warmth and kindness. We were obviously new and not known to them, but they welcomed us, offered their company and their stories, and engaged us in honest conversation. Senator Lee was more than generous, walking around with a plate of food and obliging us with a photo.
I can’t say I’ve warmed to their policies. If anything, it has signalled to me the importance of freedom and the need to defend our societal values more passionately. But I can say that I gained a valuable lesson in understanding a common thread of humanity, no matter one’s political beliefs. To those who were there, I hope to see some of you at the occasional conservative-leaning event, and I hope to join you at another Greens soiree in the not too distant future.
That is if you’ll still have me.
Tom Lukic is a Year 12 student from Sydney and is available for birthday parties.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.