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(From my facebook note)

Why the Greens haven’t earned your vote

I was looking at some polling numbers the other day for the WA Senate seats. They really hate the Labor Party over there because of the mining tax so the Labor primary vote has plummeted, whilst the Green and Liberal votes have soared. In fact, the Greens vote is at 18% – the highest of any State in Australia. But, if people are flocking away from Labor because of the mining tax, why are they flocking to the Greens? The Greens want to actually increase the mining tax and remove any benefits the miners are getting from the mining tax (such as exploration incentives). Voting against Labor but voting for the Greens made no sense for those WA voters.

The problem is, people don’t want to vote for the ALP then they jump automatically to the conclusion that the best party to vote for is the Greens. They don’t stop to ask themselves, if the ALP and Liberals are a policy void, what policies are the Greens offering me? Think to yourself – what Greens policies do you know, aside from the fact they support gay marriage, support the environment and want to impose a carbon tax? Do you think their policies are practical, as well as socially conscious? I’m going to argue that the Greens fail severely not only because they have no policies, but if they hold the balance of power in the Senate that it will be very bad for Australia and it won’t help advance those liberal causes like gay marriage and the environment. But before I do that, I want to tell you how to effectively protest against both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party.

How to Protest Against Labor and Liberal – Vote Green in the lower house, Vote Australian Sex Party in the Senate

Firstly, you should vote for the Greens in the lower house, the House of Representatives. Unless you live in the electorate of Melbourne, there is no chance that they will win a lower house seat. And if the Labor and Liberal primary votes plummet, then (perhaps) it will encourage the Labor party to vote for the left. Right now, the reason both parties are focussing on illegal immigration and the debt and all those unimportant issues is because that is what the swing voters in the marginal seats care about.

Secondly, you should NOT vote for the Greens in the upper house, the Senate. In every State, the Greens have a chance to win one Senate seat without the sort of scrutiny expected of a major party. If you don’t think they have won your vote, but just want to protest against the Labor/Liberal parties, then you should vote for another party. If you think the Greens have earned it, then by all means vote for them.

My suggestions for a good protest vote in the Senate are the Australian Sex Party (Group Q), Cheryl Kernot (Group AE), the Secular Party of Australia (Group N) and perhaps the Democrats. These are all good protest votes because they have socially liberal policies. If you are protesting against the ALP because of their inhumane treatment of refugees, because of internet censorship, their discriminatory approach to gay marriage, then I suggest you vote for the Australian Sex Party. They support all these things without the additional baggage of utterly incompetent policies in economics, health and defence like the Greens. And ultimately, the preferences will flow back to the Greens or the Labor Party (depending on which of those groups you picked).

Why the Greens haven’t earned your vote

The Greens are just like the Labor and Liberal parties – they are a cynical, vote-grabbing political party. Their strategy is firstly to deceive young voters, like yourselves, into thinking they have a modern outlook on life and that they will fight for those causes you care about. But when they get into power, they know that if they make unpopular decisions their primary vote will drop. That is why you hear Bob Brown continually emphasising how “small business” owners everywhere are voting for the Greens.

Let me give you a good example. The Greens have the balance of power in the upper house in the NSW Parliament. If the Labor Party and the Greens voted as a block, they could pass whatever legislation they wanted during the Iemma/Rees/Keneally years. They did not hold the balance of power during the Bob Carr years. So which years were better for the environment? Bob Carr himself passionately believed in protecting the environment. Many more natural areas were designated as protected areas under his government. The planning laws took environmental considerations into account. But when the Greens took control of the upper house, they refused to co-operate with the Labor Party. So then, the Labor Party was forced to negotiate with the Christian Democrats and with the Shooters’ Party. Do you remember when the State government almost passed a bill to allow shooters into wildlife reserves? That was because the government was forced to negotiate with the Shooters’ Party. Do you remember any of the ridiculously pro-Christian things the State government has done, like World Youth Day? That was because the government was forced to negotiate with the Christian Democrats. That is why there has been no progress on environmental issues or social issues. The Greens had a golden opportunity to use their balance of power to force the government to negotiate. They failed us all.

Why Lee Rhiannon, Greens’ NSW Senate candidate is rotten

Now, you might say, John – that’s a NSW issue, a State issue. It has nothing to do with the Federal Greens. But it does. The Greens’ Senate candidate for NSW is Lee Rhiannon, who was leader of the Greens in NSW’s upper house right up until the Federal election was called. She is the one, who instead of fighting passionately for what she claims to believe in, blocked crucial legislation. She is the one who decided to navel-gaze by requesting thousands of documents under Freedom of Information laws and then never actually inspected those documents once.

Lee Rhiannon has instead focussed on campaigning for “accountability” in NSW (and failing miserably). But, like the Labor Party, she has been using taxpayer funds to pay for her election campaign. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/browns-regret-at-candidate-mistake/1880172.aspx She used her Parliamentary office to fund a lettering campaign – an issue on which she has been hammering the major parties with. She refused to resign from State Parliament until the last moment so she could use these resources. She refused to resign despite Bob Brown telling her that she should. Lee Rhiannon is widely rumoured to want to challenge Bob Brown for the Greens’ leadership once she becomes a Federal Senator. And the voters of NSW have a chance to stop that happening.

Why the Greens are just another political party

What proof do I have that the Greens are a cynical political force? Their own internal emails (see http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/greens-fury-at-labor-vote-deals-20100812-121hz.html?autostart=1). The Greens now have an “attack response group” based in Bob Brown’s office. This attack group uses legal threats to frighten off critics. Just like the Labor Party, the Greens’ head office ignores its candidates. They set preference deals for individual seats without telling the candidates for those seats. The emails show that the Greens have their own internal polling and that they change their policies to suit that polling data.

And you can see that change in the Greens’ policies. They no longer support drug legalisation (http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/greens-find-growing-up-is-hard-to-do-20100807-11pig.html#). They want to continue funding private schools with government money (http://www.smh.com.au/federal-election/school-policy-fractures-greens-20100814-1247z.html). They are doing this for the same reasons they failed to do anything in the NSW Parliament. Because if they actually stood up for what they believed in, their primary vote would plummet back down to 7%.

The only policy area the Greens would be willing to actually stand up and fight for is on economic issues. And in this area, the Greens have shown that they still believe in stone age economic theories. They want to increase the mining tax from its current 60% marginal rate (which is already incredibly high) and calculated on top of the corporate tax rate. They then want to use the money from that tax for at least 3 different things – an infrastructure fund, cutting the corporate tax rate and general revenues. Simple arithmetic shows that the mining tax only gives enough money to fund one of those things. The Greens want to cut skilled migration to preserve Australian wage conditions. This is a policy so barbaric that even One Nation agrees with them.

Conclusion

I believe strongly in many of the social issues that the Greens do. We should take a more compassionate approach to refugees. We should place a cap on carbon, and we should do it sooner rather than later. We should fund hospitals better. But I also strongly believe in well-crafted policies and on this criteria the Greens fail miserably. They want to cut overall migration levels by replacing skilled migrants (who fuel economic growth) with refugees. They want to process refugees in the community giving fake refugees the chance to flee from detention whilst giving genuine refugees a bad name.

Whilst I have been strongly critical of many aspects of the ALP’s policies, I believe on the whole they are better than any of the alternatives. The NBN is more costly than necessary, but it will upgrade crucial infrastructure. Their health care reform is bad for States’ rights but best for patient’s rights. And, as flawed as they are, even the Liberal’s policies are better than the Greens, and even in terms of social welfare. Abbott has a $1.5bn mental health funding plan and a $2bn fund to fight climate change. He has a very generous paid maternity leave scheme. On the other hand, the Green’s unfunded policies amount to nothing more than a collection of press releases and media statements made by Bob Brown. They are utterly incompetent at governing.

The Greens have done absolutely nothing to earn your vote, aside from not being the Labor or Liberal parties. So, I say, a pox on all three of their houses. Don’t vote for the Greens in the Senate. Vote for them in the House of Representatives where they can’t do any damage to our economy.

Disclaimer: I shall be voting for the ALP in the House (since I live in a safe Liberal seat, voting Green is pointless). And I will be voting for the Australian Secular Party in the Senate.

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