Opinion and Analysis

Greens leader Richard Di Natale wants to be included in the federal election debates leading up to the next election. So he should, I say.

Senator di Natale said the Greens presented an alternative set of policies on climate change and refugees that challenged both Labor and the Coalition.

“Absolutely, I think the time has come to include the Greens in a televised leaders debate,” the Deans Marsh-based senator said.

“When you have the level of representation that we have in the Federal Parliament with 10 senators and a presence in the House of Representative, it’s important that our view be heard.

“One of the great challenges for us is lack of awareness and a leadership debate is one of those times when there’s more focus.”

Aside from this, here is why I think that the Greens deserve to be thrown in with the 'grown ups', per se.

  • The Greens represent more than a million voters. This is compared to the five million voters who voted for the Coalition parties, and over four million who voted for the Labor Party, at the last federal election.
     
  • They have a clear and coherent set of policy positions on a whole range of issues.
     
  • They have been represented in the Australian Senate, and have had its representatives consistently elected into the senate, for more than two decades. They have also been represented in the House of Representatives for nearly two terms, likely to go onto a third following the next election. No other minor party has ever been able to achieve this.
     
  • They are represented in the lower and upper houses of many state parliaments, and have been instrumental in forming governments in Tasmania and the ACT, and have held considerable sway elsewhere holding the balance of power in many state upper houses, as well as federally in the Senate. Again, no other minor party has ever achieved this feat.
     
  • They have been instrumental in forming government at the federal level - the only minor independent non-Coalition party that has been able to achieve this feat.

So yes, if the Greens are to have considerable sway as far as government policy is concerned, and in the event that they do regain the balance of power following the next federal election, they should very well be included in the debates leading up to the election so that more people can know what they are about. A lack of knowledge of what the Greens are about being a common argument used by people who speak against them.

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Looks like there will be some outstanding Greens candidates contesting the two Geelong-based seats of Corangamite and Corio at the next Federal Election. The Greens have announced Patchouli Paterson as its Corangamite candidate:

The casual academic has been preselected as the Corangamite Greens candidate ahead of next year’s federal election, the second time she has stood for public office.

Ms Paterson said Greens leader Richard di Natale and former Greens candidate Lloyd Davies influenced her decision to run.

The Geelong resident was the only contestant for the party’s preselection process, which wrapped up earlier this month.

“I think coal seam gas will be a big issue, particularly with the grassroots groups like Lock the Gate that are active in the electorate,” Ms Paterson said.

“With Richard (di Natale) living locally, it’s a great opportunity to increase our vote.

“More people are starting to understand our views on climate change and refugees, that we’re different to Liberal and Labor and offer a fresh perspective.”

Ms Paterson has worked as a casual academic at Deakin University and has also worked as a migrant support officer.

Some rather impressive credentials there, and a rather good write-up by the Geelong Advertiser too. Needless to say, this bodes well for seeing an outstanding Greens candidate in the neighbouring seat of Corio too.

What's more: Corangamite is going to be a three-woman race at the next election between Labor, Liberals and Greens. Likely the only seat in Victoria where this will be the case.

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There is a serious argument for reform when it comes to parliamentary entitlements, and when it comes to our elected representatives claiming expenses on taxpayers. The recent scandal involving now resigned speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop, concerning helicopter flights, limousines, private chauffeurs and other such travel expenses, many to private functions and Liberal Party fundraisers, highlights that these scandals are merely a product of a broken system, a system that is in serious need of reform.

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There is often talk among advocates of electoral reform in Australia in favour of reforming Australia's electoral system. The case, when it comes to the House of Representatives, is often to replace the preferential voting system with a first past the post electoral system or, to a lesser extent, replacing the current single-member constituency system with some form of proportional representation. When it comes to the Senate, advocates for electoral reform almost always universally speak of replacing group voting tickets with optional above or below-the-line preferential voting.

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The appointment of Richard Di Natale as leader of the Australian Greens, and Larissa Waters and Scott Ludlam as deputies, following the retirement of Christine Milne (anyone who says that she was "rolled" is deluding themselves), gives the opportunity for the Greens to reach an entirely new demographic of Australians, and will likely steer the Greens in a new direction compared to what we saw previously.

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It is clear that the Australian community is undoubtedly against racism; and the so-called "Reclaim Australia" against Islam (read; fascist, hating on all Muslims, not just merely criticising the religion) rallies held over the weekend are an example of this.

In Melbourne, anti-racism protesters in a counter-rally outnumbered and overwhelmed the "Reclaim" Australia rally (organisers of the counter-rally estimate more than 3,000 anti-racism protesters to about 300 "reclaimers") in Federation Square. A similar counter-rally was also held in Brisbane to counter the "reclaim" rally there.

And for those in doubt that the "Reclaim" Australia rallies weren't actually racist (the "reclaimers" would have you believe this, and if that was actually the case, they are certainly fascist, though the "reclaimers" deny this too) in any way what so ever:

1. It seemed to be a pretty strong magnet for Neo-Nazi's, and participants in the counter rallies can attest to this. It is actually hilariously appalling that "reclaim" supporters are actively denying that Neo-Nazi's are a part of their movement, especially when the movement was founded on the basis of Neo-Nazism masquerading as "patriotism" from the beginning. By having these types show up at their rallies, the "reclaimers", by default, have lost all credibility, regardless of whether they 'endorse' it or not.


(Yes, the men in both of the above photos have swastikas tattooed on their heads.)

2. Pauline Hanson, the very same one who prattled on about the whole "Asian invasion" nearly a decade ago when it was fashionable, spoke at the Brisbane "reclaim" rally. I don't think I need to say any more on that.

We can take solace in the fact that anti-racism counter-rallies outnumbered the "Reclaimers" where they were held, but it is an absolute shame that such anti-racism counter-rallies were even necessary, and that there is a Neo-Nazi presence and other extreme racist and fascist elements in Australia, and enough of such a presence that allow them mobilise, which is a scary prospect.

Anti-racism and anti-fascism wins this day, and so it should. These so-called "patriots" are anything but, and they certainly aren't representative of a majority of Australians.

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Tony Abbott claims that "Australians are sick of being lectured to" by the UN over the government's treatment of refugees - joining the leaders China, Russia and North Korea as despots who are "sick of being lectured to". Here is what I am sick of regarding your government, Tony:

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One has to hope that Labor is listening to the backlash that it has been receiving over the last few days regarding its apparent cave-in over the Coalition's Data Retention legislation. Labor would be wise to know that it isn't just The Greens (i.e; ya know, their (non-)opponents) opposing this draconian legislation, this opposition to data retention is coming from within their own ranks as well.

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If you don't like something, simply shoot the messenger - this is what we can now be expect under the Abbott Government, if we didn't before, as it tries to push its thuggish, narcissistic, bully-boy agenda to appease the lowest common denominator in Australian society. Nowhere is this more exemplified then in the attacks being directed towards Gillian Triggs by Tony Abbott and Attorney General George Brandis, the current (at the moment at least) President of the Australian Human Rights Commission.

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This screenshot shows something that you would expect from a crackpot Right-wing political page, but it came as a shock to me that something like this would pop up on the Facebook page of the supposedly Centre-left Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party - a party that is known for at least some common sense in its decision making and working with others to achieve common goals and outcomes.

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