I have been a member of the Greens since 2001. Like many people my decision was based on the Tampa ‘crisis’. I was thoroughly disgusted by The Liberal Party’s demonisation of these asylum seekers. I waited and waited in vain for the ALP to point out that these were a small group of people seeking refuge not part of an invading fleet. Sadly this never occurred.
This left me adrift politically for a short while. I come from a working class background with a long ALP voting tradition however human rights are very important to me and I was extremely disappointed by Kim Beazley’s response to these refugees.
I had joined the ALP as a show of support when John Howard became PM, as I could see he was a negative step for Australia. When the ALP sided with him on this issue I could no longer support them.
I had long been admirers of the Greens but believed that they were a one issue party. I found this was untrue and that they shared my belief in a range of progressive issues. They are visionary and think long term rather than just to the next election. The concept of caring for the environment is a sensible thing and anything else is a dangerous experiment. I would have thought any country that has our history with pests such as rabbits, foxes and cane toads should understand this.
This is the reason behind my decision to join them and as much as I respect and admire and like Bob Brown his presence did not factor into it at all.
If anyone has ever spent any time involved in progressive groups they would be very aware that, for good or for bad, there is never one person calling the shots. The type of personality that is drawn to these groups is exactly the type to reject this situation and it happened it wouldn’t happen for long. It would be precisely like herding cats.
I mix with in green community and in any discussion as to why anyone has ever joined the Greens I have never once received the answer that is was because of Bob Brown. We believe in the goals, we work for the outcomes because we believe in them not because we are driven by a leader.
Bob Brown is loved and admired as he is a wonderful man and he can be very proud of what he has done. His legacy is permanent. I have met him on a few occasions and am totally charmed by him but the Greens do not run on a cult of personality and talk about the Greens sinking without him is ludicrous.
They are by far the most democratic group I have ever been involved with. Every member can vote for pre-selection of candidates and on the direction of policy. Decisions are made across a wide supporter base and the leader’s word does not outweigh this. For this reason I’m much more engaged than I ever was as an ALP member.
They are by far the most democratic group I have ever been involved with. Every member can vote for pre-selection of candidates and on the direction of policy. Decisions are made across a wide supporter base and the leaders word does not outweigh this. For this reason I’m much more engaged than I ever was as an ALP member.
It is very lazy thinking to compare the greens with the Democrats. The Greens are a collection of people drawn together because of a strong ideology unlike The Democrats ‘which are the brain child of one man. Bob Brown was an outstanding leader but that role in the Greens is not like the other main parties, this seems beyond the comprehension of many in the press gallery and I see little evidence that an attempt is being made to understand that.
I am also amused by the concept of the Greens having peaked. The ALP lost the recent election in QLD quite badly, does this mean they have peaked and will never be in power again? Of course not. Election outcomes will wax and wane for us, as it does with any other political party.
I believe our influence will continue to increase as society’s views catch up with our vision and with Christine Milne as our leader we will continue to be a successful progressive party.