I have voted both ALP and Greens (and intend to do so in the future). I’ve left my ALP membership lapse about 12 years ago, mainly because overall as an organisation I felt it didn’t really a lot to a rank and file member. The decision to follow ther liberals in pandering to the xenophobic instincts of some voters in key electorates also was a deciding factor. But I also know that the ALP is not full of political hacks as some believe. There are still lots of committed people who try to promote progressive policies. The Greens’ policies are certainly most aligned with my beliefs and I tend to vote for them most times. But somehow I sense they are, in the main, a party of tertiary educated middle class people that haven’t fully grasped the reality of being socio-economically disadvantaged and being kept there.
Gough Withlam said ‘Only the impotent can afford to be pure’ and that have applied to the Greens for most of their existence. I am not saying that’s a bad thing. It is good to have a voice for progressive policies that major parties run away from while chasing the majority to form government.
Of course this confluence allows the Greens to occupy the moral high ground standing away from the ethical compromises of the major parties. The most famous term from the Greens’ creator, Bob Brown, was the ‘Laborials’.
I haven’t really dealt deeply with the issues of the reform of Senate reform that the Greens are supposed to have agreed with the Liberals or all this ABCCand Same Sex Marriage. Perhaps in the old days, when I was really into politics I would have known more. It looks very confusing and my twitter feed which has both ALP and Green supporters was a continual spat between these two camps.
Reading tweets between ALP and Green supporters at the moment. pic.twitter.com/BiA5GOwG3P
— Guido Tresoldi (@GuidoTresoldi) March 15, 2016
Personally I have no issue with the Greens aligning themselves with a major party or another to facilitate legislation, whether I agree with it or not. That is what Parliaments do. However the question is raised here is whether the Greens are a party of legislation or of protest.
I suspect that a considerable proportion of Green votes are of people who are against their perceived collusion between Liberal and Labor. If they see that the Greens are playing the same games they may desert them. Or like the Democrats going down this path may create splits in the Parliamentary Party.
Some Greens protest that the ALP is spreading lies about these agreements with the Liberals, which may be true. The issue is whether this perception sticks. Unfair? perhaps, but the Greens themselves haven’t been reticent in labeling Labor as ‘the same as the Liberals’ and pushing that theme. Politics is quite a brutal game and if you are in the play you have to expect to get stuff in return. The ALP knows very well that anything that may diminish the perception of the Greens as the ‘pure progressive party’ and more of a ‘just another party’ may also diminish their vote in the seats that the Greens want to take from the ALP.
My hunch that overall the Greens will not suffer too much. Unlike the Democrats that main raison d’etre was just not being a major party, the Greens do stand on some distinct ground, asylum seekers being a prime example.