The marriage took place in August 2010.
All the Greens in the House of Reps, that is one, plus three independents made an alliance with Ms. Gillard that brought her the honour of being our Prime Minister. Meanwhile, back in the Senate the Greens held nine seats which gave them the balance of power. With the consent of the Greens Labor can govern.
On the face of it, it seems a cosy alliance. They are the so-called progressive parties and any number of Labor back benchers would be quite at home as Greens.
Green consent, though, has come at a price. The obvious payments were in the form of policies such as the Carbon Tax that Julia promised we would not have. A hidden cost has recently surfaced. By giving the Greens a role in government a fringe party has been given the chance to look like a serious party, one that could govern in its own right.
Mr Fitzgibbon is from Labor’s Right faction. He is frustrated that since he was elected to parliament in 1996, the Greens’ primary vote has blossomed sixfold at the expense of the ALP.
Forget for a moment their support for boycotting Jewish businesses, forget their desire to abolish the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, axe the public health insurance rebate and change the constitution so parliament could veto any overseas military action. Leave aside the desire for a world government and a grand reception, dear earthlings, for visitors from outer space. Being part of the government has conferred legitimacy. Whilst the tail has been wagging the dog its muscles have been growing.
The dog, itself, has been growing weaker and less popular. It is likely that it will soon be kicked outside for peeing on the carpet.
Time, then, for the dog to differentiate itself from its tail.
Yesterday, Senator Doug Cameron joined in, taking issue with the Greens’ approach to key policy areas such as asylum seeker legislation.
“The Greens’ intransigence, their lack of flexibility, their complete incapacity to take a mature approach on key issues is the major problem for me, and I don’t think that’s a good thing for the left of politics,” he said.
Senator Cameron says it would be far better if Labor could govern in its own right.
“Hopefully we can move from a position where we are reliant on people that are intransigent and immature,” he said.
And last night, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen called the Greens “naive” in relation to asylum seekers.
He has backed calls for the Greens to not automatically get Labor preferences at the next elections. <ABC>
Even less temperate words have been used such as “loopy”.
This isn’t just a case of persuading the punter to buy one brand of canned beans rather than another, the differences between the two parties are very real.
The Labor party is essentially owned and operated by the unions. The dividend to its shareholders is in the form of legislation like the Fairwork Act, it makes safety inspectors of shop stewards, it ensures that unionists can get a fine wage in return for little work in such worthy ventures as desalination plants. As far as possible, its mates are shielded from the consequences of their wrong doings. Just as kidnappers need a victim to extort a ransom, unions need businesses.
The Greens don’t approve of businesses.