May 21st 2016

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY It's a queer theory, with 51 closets to come out of (Part One of two parts)

CANBERRA OBSERVED Labor may find it's not easy to avoid being green

EDITORIAL Double-dissolution trigger may have misfired

ENVIRONMENT Cut tax breaks to wonky green groups: committee

HUMAN RIGHTS Honorary fellow means to dishonourable end

POLITICAL BIOGRAPHY Remembering "populate or perish": Arthur Calwell

EUTHANASIA Belgium: where the devil is refining the details

RESEARCH The scientific objectivity of gender difference (Part Two of two)

MUSIC The muse, leisure and the importance of play

CINEMA Technology and war's cost: Eye in the Sky

BOOK REVIEW Preserving essential social values

BOOK REVIEW Putting postmodernism in its grave



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Labor may find it's not easy to avoid being green

News Weekly, May 21, 2016

The prospects of another Labor-Green alliance should send a shiver up the collective spine of the Australian electorate, but Greens leader Richard Di Natale has made it clear this is his definitive objective should Labor manage a narrow win in the coming poll.

Senator Di Natale tries out

a cabinet decorating idea.

Labor has sought to downplay the possibility of such a union, but may have little choice if it does not secure power in its own right if the Greens have their way.

Over recent years the Greens have graduated from their origins as a purely protest party on the fringes of politics to a party that regularly returns MPs and that now wants to possess and use executive power.

Having tasted office in Tasmania and in the Australian Capital Territory in shared-power arrangements, as well as having a huge say in the running of the Gillard government, the Greens are no longer prepared to sit on the crossbenches.

Greens MP Adam Bandt does not even try to hide the party’s ambitions.

“The Greens are not in Parliament just to make up the numbers. We are not a ginger group trying to force another party to change its position,” he wrote in The Age at the start of the campaign.

“We are not a faction of any other party. Nor are we there only to secure a handful of concessions while other parties get to implement their agendas.

“So we need to be in the House of Representatives as well as the Senate, especially because the house leads to government, providing an opportunity to exercise power in a very different and important way compared with being in the Senate alone.”

So, there you have it: the Greens ultimate ambition is government itself. But if they cannot have government, they are pushing to enjoy some of its power.

Senator Di Natale is already planning for the spoils of office, declaring early in the campaign that he wants an actual cabinet post should Labor win government on July 2.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten quickly tried to bat away the prospect of an alliance with the Greens, insisting that the Greens were “dreaming” if they thought another joint government was in the offing.

There is at least a small chance of a hung parliament or a narrow Labor majority in the House of Representatives, but it is also likely that the Greens will emerge with the balance of power in the Senate in the double-dissolution election, whatever the outcome otherwise.

In this circumstance “Prime Minister Bill Shorten” might have little choice but to agree to a power-sharing arrangement, which might include cabinet positions.

Senator Di Natale has previously declared he wants a cabinet post.

“We should be open to cabinet posts, we have done that already in Tasmania and the ACT,” Di Natale told Fairfax in an interview.

“My view is you are in politics to get outcomes. I would relish the opportunity to be a health minister in a future government. … Why couldn’t we see [Senator] Larissa Waters as an environment minister in a future government?”

Indeed the Greens leader is already measuring the curtains in the Cabinet ministers’ offices.

“I think we can enter into an arrangement with the Labor Party to support them in government in the same way we have [in 2010] – you offer confidence and ask for key policy outcomes and you do that election by election.”

A return to power sharing with the Greens at a federal level would be disastrous for Australia, and would serve only accelerate the Green agenda, which is at its philosophical core a form of social Marxism that seeks to revolutionise society and break down institutions.

In practice the Greens are anti-farming, anti-business, anti-industry, anti-defence, anti-religion, and anti-family.

Unlike other major parties, whose policies (for good or ill, wise and unwise) are largely aimed at improving the economy and to make life better for individuals and families, the Greens have a rolling agenda that aims to alter radically all facets of society. Each policy victory is merely a stepping-stone towards that goal.

Even at a practical level, a new Labor government would mean a reintroduction of a carbon tax (something Senator Di Natale has promised too) as well as a raft of higher taxes such as a sugar tax, and other environmental imposts.

Labor’s rejection of the Greens plan has been firm, but it needs to be unequivocal in its rejection because at a state level it was also firm in rejecting power sharing before the poll but succumbed afterwards.

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