It was Labor’s Shadow Defence Minister, Kimberley Kitching, who spilled the beans by forcefully declaring that Labor should not do any more deals with the Greens. This came after a mind-numbing pronouncement by Greens leader Adam Bandt who, in essence, said it was ‘okay – really – if China rolled over Australia as long as they respected our concerns about climate change’.
Canberra’s defence establishment collectively shuddered, momentarily imagining WA Greens Senator Jordan Steele-John or Adam Bandt as a future Treasurer.
The Labor-Green Coalition – let’s call it for what it is – has rolled on and over Labor’s objections ever since Julia Gillard signed up Labor with Greens leader Bob Brown.
This was not, in retrospect, Labor’s best move – but it was a necessary one to bolster its currently flagging inner-city vote. Even Canberra’s once devoutly onside veteran unionists, the Vintage Reds, are rolling their eyes at Labor’s mini-carbon-target stance, with one member moaning, ‘New teeth, new glasses, new hair, but still no good policies with Albo.’
You only have to look at the ACT to realise the inroads the Greens have made, and the concessions they have dragged out of Chief Minister Barr (somewhat Green himself, despite his Labor credentials).
There are now five Greens sitting in government in the ACT: two are Cabinet Ministers and three are on the crossbench. The ACT’s fastest-growing party holds the balance power for the fourth time. As Greens Leader Shane Rattenbury crowed, ‘From the north of Gungahlin to the deep south of Tuggeranong, every suburb in Canberra has a Greens representative.’
Yes, indeed. Rattenbury himself holds the position of Territory Attorney-General.
Labor needs the Greens to hold power, but perhaps Labor power-brokers should revisit the old saying that ‘to sup with the devil you need a long spoon’…
The Greens in Canberra have been busy little bees, fervent in their desire to save the planet, forge a more sharing and caring society (today the ACT, tomorrow Australia!), and create what they term ‘a new normal’ partnering with ACT Labor in what Rattenbury termed ‘stable yet progressive’ government.
There’s a rumour running around Canberra that if the Greens win the next election for Labor they will mandate a new Office of Peoples Affairs. This is set to be a Stasi-type organisation to monitor what modes of transport Canberrans will use (Canberrans will remember that it was the Greens that persuaded Labor to bring in the now dangerous Spanish trams), what schools children will attend (and what is taught in them), what vaccines you and your family will be delivered (penalties being enforced ‘staycations’ and possible ‘counselling’ if a public servant), how much tax you will pay (plenty!), and even the kind and the number of pets you may keep.
New Greens MLA Emma Vassarotti, Minister for Mental Health, said it best:
‘We’ve only just started. We’ve got a lot of work to do.’
Canberrans can only wait.
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