To understand why Richard Di Natale is stepping down as Greens leader, you have to appreciate two things. The first is that the Greens are not a party in any sense of the term as we understand it in Australia. An attempt has been made to portray them as the political wing of the non-government organisation movement; environmental, human rights, feminist, refugee groups coming together in the way trade unions came together towards the end of the nineteenth century to form the Australian Labor Party and similar parties around the world. This sounds plausible but is wrong. The unions and labour guilds that formed the ALP had a common purpose. The Greens lack that.
Instead, a much more accurate description exists. It rightly says that the Greens are a flag of convenience for left-wing groups to sail under in a bid to make into parliament. Unfortunately for the party, these are competing left-wing groups. This is most clear in New South Wales, with the influence of the watermelons and their brutal war against the deep greens, the genuine environmentalists within the party.
Second, these groups not only jostle for control but fight like cats and dogs. It was good old fashioned ratfucking, as Kevin Rudd might say, that saw the Greens lose their chance to win the now-renamed inner-Melbourne federal seat of Batman at the by-election two years ago. Similarly, the hard left in NSW have done their best to purge the party of anyone who will not obey their will. Party founder Bob Brown found it impossible to exercise authority over the watermelons, the red greens; not just as leader but working behind the scenes after he stood down. It’s a dead giveaway that he now conducts his campaigns through the Bob Brown Foundation rather than his own party. Richard Di Natale has had nothing like his authority. He’s washing his hands of the mess.
The Greens are both a fraud and a farce. They only stay afloat because of a mixture of rich fools, naive do-gooders, virtue signallers, vacuous student types, trendies — and hard work by hard-leftists who have realised these “useful idiots”, as Lenin called them, will get their people into parliament. Even their old media supporters have slowly wised up, with the ABC, The Sydney Morning Herald and news websites such as Buzzfeed reporting on division and the weaponised use and abuse of bullying and even sexual misconduct charges within the party, along with a lack of transparency unmatched by any political party represented in the parliament.
Ironically, just as Marx said about capitalism, the party will collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.
Rebecca Tenerife is a former member of the Greens.
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