Labor's Greens attacks: an attempt to mask their own lack of relevance
Matt Hrkac 31 December 2015 Return to Index

It seems to be a thing from within some sections of the Labor Party - attack the Greens, instead of the Government. It is merely masking their own lack of credibility or spine when it comes to certain political issues. The flavour of the month, for the Labor Party, seems to be attacking the Greens on the issue of multinational tax avoidance, and as alluded to previously, they are spending it up big time on (presumably) prominent billboard advertising - attempting to give the impression that Richard Di Natale is somehow in bed with Malcolm Turnbull; and that the Greens voted against measures to increase tax transparency.

In reality, it is the Labor Party who voted against measures to increase tax transparency, not the Greens. Indeed, Labor were aiming for a higher tax disclosure threshold of $100m instead of the $200m that the Greens were able to negotiate with the government for; which is still better than nothing - nothing being the case before this legislation was voted into law. However, Labor conveniently forget the fact that the government didn't support their $100m disclosure threshold; and if that amendment passed the Senate with support of the Greens, it would have been returned to the House of Representatives, where the government hold a majority, and the legislation would have been defeated. We would still have nothing - all so Labor can use it as an issue to campaign on at the next federal election.

Indeed, Labor also had six years to introduce legislation to address multinational tax avoidance. They chose not to until literally the last minute, and by then, it was already too late. Indeed, also, Labor throwing a tantrum at the Greens for voting in support of increased tax transparency shows they have absolutely no credibility what so ever in this area. That they would rather use the issue as a political football leading up to an election rather then get something done.

It is also very disingenuous of Labor and its supporters to still continually parrot ad nauseam, and in the same attack ad mind you, the fact that the Greens voted against emissions trading in 2009. That is despite the fact that, at the time, the then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd shut the Greens out of any negotiations on the matter and instead went and negotiated with the Liberal Party, watered down the legislation to the point where it would have compensated big polluters rather than tax them; and when Tony Abbott became opposition leader and the Liberal Party voted against the severely watered down legislation; Rudd threw a tantrum and dumped the legislation completely. All the while calling climate change the "greatest moral issue of our time". Of course, Labor were later forced to do carbon pricing properly under a minority government and a new Prime Minister.

Nevertheless, it is incredibly rich for the Labor Party to be accusing the Greens of 'selling out' by voting in favour of the rare piece of decent policy that comes from the Liberal Party, accusing Richard Di Natale of being the 'next Meg Lees' and 'doing a Democrats' (even if the difference is that the Greens didn't say one thing and do the exact opposite) - when the Labor Party have voted in favour of some of the most awful, draconian legislation that has been put forward by the government. Think metadata retention. Think national security legislation. Think bombing Syria. Think jailing journalists and whistle blowers for public interest disclosures. Think temporary protection visas. In fact, on the same day that Labor had been complaining that the Greens 'sold out' on tax avoidance; they voted in favour of turning the student startup scholarship into a loan, and in favour of allowing the government to revoke citizenships without trial. The hypocrisy is truly stunning, and breathtaking.

It is also rather ridiculous that Labor would be choosing to focus its resources on attacking the Greens, when we have a government that announced cuts to health services, and to education, during the Christmas period. One would think that they would focus their resources on exposing this sneaky, deceptive, manoeuvring by the government, instead of slinging mud at the Greens.

One would also think that they'd learn that attacks on the Greens never go down well with Labor supporters, either that, or their MPs and their staffers never read the comment sections of their social media posts. If they did, they'd probably get the picture that mudslinging at the Greens is woefully ineffective for them and that it doesn't win anyone over. But what's more - this mudslinging shows how truly irrelevant Labor are becoming, if they aren't so already, and how scared they are. 


About the Author:

Matt has a keen interest in politics, elections and progressive activism, and has had extensive involvement in a number of campaigns in his hometown of Geelong, in regional Victoria. He has also worked with a number of elected representatives and election candidates. He is a former member of the Australian Greens, and was Secretary of the Geelong Greens Branch.
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