Tuesday, 12 January 2016 08:30
- A version of the article was published in The Australian, 14 January 2015
- Michael Danby
Michael Kroger, the President of the Victorian Liberal Party, has mooted the idea that the Liberals and the Greens exchange preferences in next year’s election. This so-called political expediency will surely backfire. We get the inkling, perhaps, that such a deal is connected to the Greens Party’s support in the Senate at the end of 2015 for the conservatives’ insistence on preventing tax transparency for the highest net-worth companies.
I, like Michael Kroger, have spent over 40 years manning polling booths, organising party meetings, encouraging people to attend fundraisers and more. I would have thought that in that time, Mr Kroger, who is a conservative’s conservative, would have the wisdom to know that to do an opportunistic deal with the Greens political party will backfire. Surely Liberal voters who are diametrically opposed to the Greens on all matters political, socio-economic and, above all, national security, would not approve.
This planned deal is not some secret Liberal plan that I have stumbled on. Kroger believes the best cover is open cover, telling Fairfax, “The only complicating factor would be if the Greens picked an extremist in the manner of Sarah Hanson-Young or Lee Rhiannon, which would make the preferences more difficult.”
Michael Kroger ought to remember that even after the tragedies in France and the growing Daesh terror activities, including the lone-wolf terror attacks in Parramatta and Endeavour Hills in Melbourne, the Greens political party, now led by Senator Richard Di Natale, has opposed every serious piece of counter-terrorism legislation.
Ex- Stalinist Party of Australia official and now Greens Party Senator, Lee Rhiannon has been compared to the wife of ex Romanian dictator, Elena Ceausescu
Would dyed-in-the-wool Liberal voters be able to stomach preferences being directed to such a Greens Party that stands for all they are against, even if ordered to by Michael Kroger?
For instance, in September this year, even before IS terrorists killed 140 people in the streets of Paris, Australia began bombing Daesh HQ in Syria, a move welcomed by most Australians. But Greens MP Adam Bandt insisted that the Greens Party opposed even highly restrictive aerial bombing of IS military targets in East Syria. Greens Party Senator and Deputy Leader Scott Ludlam followed suit, declaring, “our only contribution [to Syria] being to fan the military flames. It is entirely counterproductive.”
Danby’s famous confrontation with Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon about her Soviet past, which attracted over 25,000 views
Surely Comrade Kroger will not have let disappear down the memory hole Senator Ludlam’s pronouncements condemning the joint US–Australia military exercises? Of course, the Greens Party has consistently been opposed to our bedrock security alliance with the United States. How is that going to wash with the Liberal party base?
As for any national security legislation which Labor has responsibly amended in relation to increased oversight, privacy and sunset provisions, the Greens only say no. They’re not interested in finding a middle path between the blunt force characterised by the Libs and the kumbaya approach of the far left.
By contrast, Bill Shorten, Tanya Plibersek and Mark Dreyfus QC have seen the Opposition advocate a sensible middle road on national security, which the Government adopted because a responsible Opposition would vote with them against the Greens in the Senate.
Unlike the anti-security Greens Party, Labor have ensured there is a majority in the Senate for Australia to present a united face to counter the global threat emanating from Daesh, whilst also holding the Government to account in ensuring the privacy and civil liberties of Australian citizens.
Michael Kroger is thinking of preferencing a party whose policy is to close zoos
British Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn said it best when summing up the social-democratic justification of defeating Daesh. “We have always been defined”, he said, “by our internationalism. We believe we have a responsibility one to another. We never have and we never should walk by on the other side of the road. We are faced by fascists — not just their calculated brutality but their belief that they are superior to every single one of us in this chamber tonight and all the people we represent. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy … in contempt. What we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated.” (This was a speech that shows there is hope for the British Labour Party, even under Corbyn, but that’s a different matter.) The Greens Party would have Australia with not just one, but both hands tied behind her back in the face of the global terrorist threat and Michael Kroger of all people wants voters to preference them.
Back in the real world, the Opposition’s Anthony Byrne – Deputy Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence & Security – and Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus have both been tireless advocates of Labor’s sensible and vital approach to national security legislation.
If, in a desperate attempt to win seats off the Labor party in Batman and Wills, and over in Sydney, the Liberals put deals with the Greens ahead of principles by preferencing the Greens Party, they may find that their support base will not follow their directives. Indeed, if this Kroger/Turnbull strategy of the pursuit of power over principle gives the irresponsible Greens a free pass in this time of justifiably heightened fears, the result will unmask the Liberals and result in a voter backlash. More importantly, it will inevitably lead to backroom compromises in vital policy areas such as national security and the economy, and this can only be to the ultimate detriment of Australia and its citizens.
Morrison colluding with the Greens
Deals done between the Liberals and The Greens Party
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