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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

? over Queensland Greens « Previous | |Next »
December 24, 2003

I have lifted this from the mailout. It is by Greg Barnes, who picks up on an earlier article in The Australian by Jamie Walker. Walker's article was about how Drew Hutton's Queensland Greens were closely tied to the Beattie ALP Government.

'Closely tied' means a question mark hovers over the relationship between the Australian Greens and the ALP.

Greg Barns argues that Drew Hutton's Queensland Greens are the new face of Beattie Labor, as they prepared to help the Beattie Government back into power despite its appalling environmental record. On this interpretation the Greens in Queensland are little more than the fifth faction of the ALP, as Drew Hutton has already offered the ALP the Greens preferences in next year's State and Federal poll. The Greens have a record of this: they directed their preferences to the ALP in 27 out of 31 seats they contested in the 2001 Queensland State Election (including 10 marginal seats) and 110 of the 150 seats they contested (including all 37 marginal seats) at the last Federal Election.

Barnes says that the Beattie Government does not deserve the support of the environment movement as it has failed to keep most of its promises on the environment, including promises made by Federal Leader Kim Beazley at the 2001 election. He says that the Beattie Government has:

..."* dithered on land clearing, resulting in five years of panic clearing by landholders ahead of its long delayed legislation;

* failed to match the $15 million offered by the Federal Government ...for protecting the Great Barrier Reef;

* cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency this year by $10 million (or 4%);

* opposed the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and continued to build coal fired power stations despite their greenhouse impact;

* failed to stop inappropriate coastal developments such as Trinity Inlet in Cairns and Eastpoint in Mackay;

* insisted on building the environmentally destructive Paradise Dam on the Burnett River and failed to increase environmental flows into the Murray-Darling."

I concur with Barnes judgement that this is hardly an environmental record worthy of rewarding with Green preferences, and that in these circumstances a vote for the Greens is, at the end of the day, simply a vote for Beattie Labor!

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 3:30 PM | | Comments (10)


You obviously believe everything you read. Having seen some of the trash that comes out of Crikey, and how vastly it differs from the truth that I've seen first hand, I can only say that your opinion is worthless.

Since you have seen the truth, where has Crikey got it wrong on the environmental record of the Beattie Government?

I do not wish to be deceived by the mere appearance of things down in Adelaide.

I'm talking about linking the Greens to Labour. We all know how bad the Beattie Government's environmental record is shockingly bad - nothing new there obviously.

The article in the Australian was a complete beat up story put about by one disgruntled Greens member who couldn't get his own way and ran off in a hissy fit. The story was picked up by an opportunistic journalist or two in the Australian. Crikey, which has clear political biases against the Greens, as has been shown in previous articles, picked that up as the gospel truth - as have you.

What the media didn't show is that when the Greens approached the media with proof that the original story was incorrect, the media refused to run any correction.

Crikey is a rumour mill, and as far as I can see from personal experience (i.e. when I've actually seen things happen first hand and then seen them reported) it's about 25% fact and 75% fiction on average. Some of the articles on the Greens have been 100% fiction.

I was there,
okay. We agree on the disastrous environmental record of the Beattie Government.

I accept the Queensland Green Beattie connection was a beat- up by The Australian.

I also accept that Crikey is anti-Green eg. Wendy Wedge--whom I posted on over at

Jamie Walker in the Weekend Australian is running a new variant on the Green ALP alliance: a handshake on Green preferences flowing to Labor in return for ALP concessions on greenhouse emissions and old growth forest protection.

Another beatup?

Dear Gary,

Each local branch of the Qld Greens decides preference allocations. There's no way Drew, or anyone else in the Party is in a position make any sort of commitment about preferences on anything other than a local basis.
Even a 'handshake' agreement would require Drew to believe that he can deliver the party's preferences. Whatever you may think about Drew, there's no way he's as out-of-touch with reality to believe he can do that in the next couple of months.

I'm not a spokesperson for the Qld Greens and I don't want to add to the rumor mill.

Nice work with your blogs, by the way. They often make me a bit more thoughtful after reading them.

Yes, another beat up I'm afraid. What "some guy" is saying is absolutely correct.

Drew doesn't actually have any power to stop QLD Greens branches from making or not making preference deals - apart from normal debate within the party. This is part of the Greens "Grassroots Democracy" pillar - one of four principles that the party is built on. Each branch has delegates elected by the branch - these form the state council that meets to decide on state-wide issues. Delegates are tasked with representing the opinions of their branches who elect them. However, at the state electorate level, branches themselves are handling preferences (if any), unless they want to delegate to the Electoral Campaign Committee. I don't think many are though.

Despite what the press keeps (annoyingly) saying, Drew is not the "leader" of the QLD Greens. He is not even the convener. He is one of the spokespeople for the state - one of a few members elected for that role. He just happens to be the longest standing and most well known one.

How do I know all this? I am one of the delegates for my branch. Nobody tells us how to do preferences. I'm not a state spokesperson though, so I can't sign my name to this.

Apologies for blowing up in my first posting - I'm just a bit fed up with those Australian articles, and innacurate press in general.

I'm not sure about Queensland but in NSW each Green group is autonomous. They are not branches at all. As in Queensland they elect delegates to State Delegates Council where proposals put by the groups are debated but their budget, funding, campaigns, candidates, preference negotiations, and so on are handled by each group itself.

All these descriptions of participatory democracy in action in the NSW and Queensland Greens sure knocks The Australian right out of the water.

A question. How do you cut a national deal with the federal ALP to save the old growth forests in Tasmania, cut back on Greenhouse, and reduce land clearing in Queeensland, save the Great Barrier Reef from the recalcitrant cane farmers, and get the River Murray flowing again?

It would have to be a national deal would it not?

Greening the ALP is not going to come cheaply.

Ah, these are tricky problems indeed. There are several things happening that might influence the federal ALP. Let me just say that I haven't been around for a federal election yet, so the ideas below are a bit sketchy.

Firstly, we keep chipping away at Labour votes. Note that the Greens have lost ground on the federal voting intention polls recently since Latham came in and made a number of Green-sounding noises, such as getting kids out of detention centres, and accepting an invitation to se the forests in Tasmania earmarked for wood chipping, etc. The shift to Labour is almost exactly the same as the shift out of the Greens. Loss of votes motivated a change in Labour.

Other issues, such as the Great Barrier Reef may be subject to specific Greens policy, and may require the cooperation of a number of branches to get together and discuss preferencing options with Labour pollies in the same areas. Some of that might be coordinated (not controlled) with the assistance of a campaign committee at federal level.

We also have state delegates and a national council that might make decisions to recommend certain preferencing patterns. That may form some kind of preferencing deal with Labour I suppose. They would still not be able to direct branches to preference in a certain way. Yes, that makes things tricky indeed! Even more difficult when branches share federal electoral areas.

Personally, I'm not in favour of preferencing Labour at all, and my branch agrees. We will be asking voters at the state election to vote Greens first and then carefully consider any other preferences that they make. If some of the candidates from other parties jump up with exceptionally Green promises, then we might reconsider. I'm not expecting that to happen though.

At the end of the day, we (my branch) just want to see Green policies implemented by whatever means. If Labour changes sufficiently that this happens, then we can all go home and stop worrying.

I guess I'll get a bettter idea of how it all works federally at the next federal election. It's going to be a busy year ...


Sorry I missed this discussion last month.

Jamie Walker's story was a complete beatup and shoddy journalism of the worst sort. For example, he repeated an untrue allegation against the State Treasurer without even phoning her to see if the allegation was true. That to me indicates Walker is nothing more than a political waterboy with an axe to grind, and people such as yourself who are interested in distinguishing facts from biased spin can safely disregard what he writes in future.