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Issue #1509      13 July 2011

Editorial

The Greens – “a real threat”

When the nine Greens took their seats in the Senate earlier this month, the Queensland Courier Mail (04-07-2011) ran an all out attack on page 1, warning they “could severely undermine the nation’s economy and sacrifice 200,000 jobs.” The Greens, if you believed the gutter tabloid, were about to slash Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by up to $36 billion a year and put a $6 billion dent in the federal budget.

“Power-mad Greens” was the headline in the Business section of the same paper. This scurrilous, fear-mongering piece by Tim Hughes from the finance sector, carried the sub-heading: “Disastrous policies will ruin our nation”. He accused Greens leader Bob Brown of being “a man seemingly drunk with power, gloating over the Green’s ascension to control over our national Parliament and national economic policy.” Hughes continues: “… he is a fish out of water, with policies of economic lunacy that would do disastrous damage to our economy.” The references are to Greens policies on reducing carbon emissions and developing renewable energy sources. Nowhere does Hughes or The Courier Mail honestly report on the Greens’ policies.

Hughes conveniently ignored the fact that in the House of Representatives the Greens have one vote and in the Senate they only hold the balance of power if the Coalition opposes Labor’s legislation.

The Courier Mail is not the only tabloid from the Murdoch stable determined to destroy the Greens’ credibility. The Sunday Telegraph (10-07-2011) in Western Australia, carried a piece by climate change denier Piers Ackerman: “Gillard, Swan and their claque of handsomely paid shills from Tim Flannery to Ross Garnaut have been trying to scare the bejesus out of the young and impressionable with their catastrophic forecasts of environmental doom, none of which have any sound scientific validity.” He accuses Bob Brown of being “philosophically corrupt” and “ready to say anything to strike fear into the uninformed”.

Perhaps the most vicious of the attacks, in another Murdoch publication, The Australian (07-07-2011), comes from former Labor minister Gary Johns: “Labor remains essentially humanist, concerned with the needs, well-being and interests of people. The Greens, by contrast will never defend humanity against nature.” Johns played a leading role in the Hawke/Keating era, taking the first steps towards dismantling the award system of wages and working conditions. He showed little humanity towards workers and their trade unions.

He takes a side swipe at the Greens implying Labor is drifting in their direction: “Labor toys with population policy, it toys with gay marriage, it toys with euthanasia and it toys with animal rights. But if at the margin, there is a choice to be made between people and nature, it will, if it knows what is good for it, remain wedded to a human conception of history.”

The pitting of humanity (Labor) against nature (Greens) is misleading. Labor pits profits against nature by protecting the profits of mining corporations, allowing them to pollute and poison the environment and by failing to take action to address climate change. Labor puts corporate profits before humanity. It has failed to protect the health and safety of workers in their workplaces. It has hammered the living standards of families, particularly those on low incomes, through such means as privatisation and cuts to public health, housing and education. Its callous treatment of refugees is inhumane. Labor (and the Coalition) have failed dismally on humanity and nature.

Johns real agenda, real concern, is contained in the headline of his article: “ANTI-HUMAN GREENS WON’T USURP LABOR”. He warns Labor that “if it wanders down an anti-humanist path in search of green votes it risks its major-party status.” The Greens, with their progressive, green and humane policies, won 1.6 million votes in the 2010 federal elections. They have been steadily increasing their presence in state and local government. They pose a serious threat to the ALP and the two-party system, under which Labor and Liberal have taken turns in government as they successively fall foul of the electorate with anti-people policies.

The Greens pose a real threat – not to the economy or humanity – but to the two-party system and the corporate interests that it serves.

Next article – 19 Boycott Israel protestors arrested

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