The new leader of the Greens wants to increase focus on capturing a rural constituency:
Senator Milne has told a press conference that it’s time rural and regional Australia and the Greens really work together.
“We need environmental outcomes to sustain our economic outcomes, to actually support the kind of socieity and community we want,” she said.
[Well done, ABC sub-editors. Julia’s “Education Revolution” working more wonders, I see.]
“I intend to go out to rural and regional Australia to have this discussion, because rural and regional Australia has a critical role to play.”
She says that’s particularly in the context of food security and renewable energy.
“And I’m going out there as a country person to say to other country people that it’s time the Greens and country and rural and regional Australia really work together.”
Barnaby has some thoughts on that:
Leader of the Nationals Party in the Senate Barnaby Joyce, has described outgoing Greens leader Bob Brown as “an extremely capable politician”, who he greatly respects for his “political capacity”.
“He’s a very astute politician and I have a great respect for his political capacity even though on the vast majority of issues we were at polar opposites.
“Bob for me is like the logic of having water restrictions in Kununurra (Western Australia); it looked great on paper but it’s completely and utterly ridiculous in practice.”
Senator Joyce says he welcomes the new Greens leader Christine Milne’s pledge to work closely with rural Australia, but suggests she has a long way to go.
“I look forward to meeting Christine Milne and she can start by moving her office out to the country where mine is,
“Mine’s 550 kilometres away from the coast, Christine how far is yours?… I think it might be in Hobart.”
And more thoughts from Barnaby, this time in the Australian:
Senator Milne’s rural push provoked a sharp reaction from the Nationals, with Senate leader Barnaby Joyce labelling her an opportunist.
Senator Joyce said that while the Greens’ concern for the rapid development of the coal-seam gas industry was reflected in some rural communities, most other Greens policies were anti-bush.
“The Greens have a problem with coal-seam gas, as does the Coalition,” Senator Joyce said. “But the Greens also have problems with rodeos, irrigation, live cattle exports, and they want a 50 per cent top tax rate and death duties. They would have us living as hunter-gatherers scrambling for survival on the forest floor.
“I would welcome her (Senator Milne) in some of my communities. Any town hall, any time you want. My tactic would be to simply tell people what her policies are. People know in the back of their minds that the Greens’ policies are dangerous.”
Veteran Queensland Nationals senator Ron Boswell went further, warning that the disappearance of Senator Brown would make room for “the far Left” to push forward within the Greens. “Without Brown, the far Left and extremists will steamroll over the others and become the new reigning force within the Greens,” he said.
Interestingly, even some within the Labor party recognise the dangers of the Greens, and, who is their core constituency:
Privately, several senior Labor sources told The Weekend Australian they would closely watch for changes in the Greens under Senator Milne. “I worry about the tone of this obsessive attack on mining companies,” said one senior Labor MP, asking not to be named. “I know it goes down well in the coffee shops, but the resources sector is underpinning the Australian economy.”
The MP said Senator Brown held similar views, but was canny enough to know “when to stop and when to cut a deal”.
Victorian Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou predicted the Greens would struggle to maintain their discipline and would have to articulate the party’s policies in a more practical way. “With him gone they’ll attract a whole lot more scrutiny,” Ms Vamvakinou said. “I imagine people will now be more vigilant about what the party is about because he has gone.”
Interesting times indeed.
Barnaby is right.