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This was a comment I made on Facebook, and I liked it so much I thought I’d replicate it here:

The Greens do have factions, and some of those factions veer towards communism more than others.

The Bob Brown/Christine Milne faction tend towards environmentalism, human rights etc. They’re your progressive left. The NSW Greens, especially Lee Rhiannon, and Sarah Hanson Young tend to be more old-school lefties who believe in communist ideals and more radical (and stupid policies).

Most of the evidence for this comes from talking to political insiders, but evidence for these factions can be found. For example – Hanson Young’s challenge to Christine Milne was an attempt by the luddites to gain more power. Equally, the Marrickville Greens’ motion (and Lee Rhiannon’s support for that, despite Bob Brown’s very strong disapproval) shows the NSW Greens’ more radical side. The final piece of evidence comes from internal Green emails leaked during the campaign, in which these conflicting tensions were very much on show.

I would complain about the lack of media scrutiny on the Greens prior to 2010, but then I would also have to complain about lack of media scrutiny of the Nationals and their factions (which is literally zero). But since 2010, media scrutiny of the Greens is improving – especially in the News Ltd papers. Chris Ulhman’s illuminating cross-examination of Bob Brown is another heartening example.

The thrust of it will be familiar to readers, but its a nice summary of the Greens. It would make an excellent story for a SMH or ABC journalist to write a juicy expose of factionalism within the Greens one day. I’m surprised none of them have thought about it thus far.

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3 Comments

  1. What a load of uniformed crap. Sarah Hansen-Young is no friend of Lee Rhiannon’s. Hansen-Young is far more conservative than the older Rhiannon or even Milne. The NSW Greens hate Hansen Young and Rhiannon spearheads much of the campaign against the younger Sentor. Stranger thing is Hansen-Young is closer to Brown than just about anyone. Yes the Greens have factions but you have totally missed who is with who.

  2. You may well be right, and I may be wrong but at least I had some evidence to back my assertions. Public comments, which are on the record, where Bob Brown publicly disagrees with Lee Rhiannon. SHY challenging Milne for the leadership; a fact which has been admitted by the Greens. And internal Green emails, the authenticity of which has never been denied.

    And, these views about factionalism are widely held.
    E.g. This article in the Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/bob-brown-puts-greens-left-on-notice/story-fn59niix-1226032301593 follows my factional descriptions precisely. It cites the views of Bob Carr and other “senior Labor figures” as “count[ing] Senator Brown and deputy Greens leader Christine Milne as “tree-huggers”, but Ms Rhiannon and others such as South Australian Sarah Hanson-Young as “watermelons” – a term suggesting they are green on the outside and red on the inside.” These Labor figures have to negotiate with the Greens, and presumably made these inferences from their dealings with them. Bob Carr had to deal with Rhiannon when she was a MLC and he was Premier.

    Similarly (and less credibly), Vexnews makes similar comments, quoting a Greens party member: ““Lee is too old. She should have been put out to pasture but she has threatened to take people down with her. Her mother was a Stalinist member of the CPA (Communist Party of Australia) … like mother, like daughter as they say”

    Now, the Australian may be wrong. Vexnews is probably wrong. And I may be drawing the wrong inferences from the evidence. But, I don’t see you providing any evidence or justifications for your views at all. It’s all assertions. Maybe you have insider knowledge, but insiders can at least provide examples of what happened to who.

    When has SHY ever been ‘conservative’ on any issue? Can you cite an instance where she supported Brown over Rhiannon? How do the NSW Greens spearhead campaigns against SHY?

    But it really proves my point – the Greens need to be scrutinised more. If the media’s reporting of the Greens is so wildly inaccurate that they got the factions wrong, we need an excellent and unbiased reporter (hence, from the ABC or Fairfax) who can tell us who is in what faction and dig up some dirt.

  3. Ditto Glenn Milne (on the ABC’s Drum website): http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45878.html

    And a Liberal source, Eriz Abetz putting forth the same views on the Quadrant: http://www.quadrant.org.au/blogs/qed/2011/06/green-light-for-senate-chaos

    Another Liberal source, Senator Michael Ronaldson: http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/no-green-pastures-ahead-in-post-bob-brown-era/

    Now, the right-wing journalists and the non-Green politicians may not have the most piercing insights into the Federal Greens, but I can hardly believe their information is completely and utterly inaccurate. It’d be shocking if the only bipartisan consensus in this country turned out to be wrong.


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  1. By Update « The Jackal’s Codex on 18 Jun 2011 at 3:37 pm

    […] in Uncategorized Someone commented on one of my old posts, where I described factionalism within the Greens. I don’t know if she’s right (one […]

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