Are the Greens the deal breaker for the independents?
After talks yesterday with Greens leader Bob Brown and new Greens MP Adam Bandt, the Prime Minister left open the possibility of an alliance with the party and a Greens MP being a cabinet minister under a Labor government—a move Senator Brown flagged before the talks…
An alliance between Labor and the Greens would spark a rift with key independents, including Bob Katter, who is a strong critic of the government’s proposed mineral resources rent tax on the mining industry and would vehemently oppose the Greens’ policy of raising it. The Greens’ plan for a carbon tax would face opposition from Mr Katter and potentially Tony Windsor, who voted against Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme but thinks there will “eventually” be a price on carbon…
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott said yesterday he was “probably more conservative in my economics than not and naturally leaning towards the Liberal Party normally”…
Ms Gillard described the talks with the Greens as “positive and constructive” but would not speculate about an alliance with the Greens and the offer of a ministry.
One more reason for the independents to be suspicious of a Labor deal that would rely on the Greens MP Adam Bandt:
GREENS MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt has defended comments he made on a Marxist student website 15 years ago, in which he denounced capitalism and labelled the Greens a “bourgeois” political party that could be used to push a socialist agenda…
“Communists can’t fetishise alternative political parties, but should always make some kind of materially based assessment about the effectiveness of any given strategy come election time,” he wrote in the 1995 memo..
If you’re wondering why Julia Gillard seems so desperate and Tony Abbott more cool in these leadership negotiations, no wonder.
If Gillard loses, she is humiliated and discredited. If Tony Abbott loses, he still has more authority and respect than he had before this election.
A loss would mean Labor would tear itself to pieces, but to the Liberals it would at least leave them in the box seat for a big win the next time around.
Gillard looks as desperate as any prime minister in history to retain her job… Gillard’s fear is that she could become nothing more than an embarrassing footnote in history. That is what’s driving her to strike a deal with the rural independents to allow Labor’s damaged government to continue in power. She needs a second chance.
The independents want full access to Treasury. Why not, says Gillard. They put forward a list of seven requests as part of an attempt to effect a “paradigm shift” in Australian politics, and suddenly, after three years of Labor taking no such steps, Gillard thinks they are good ideas. You get the impression that as long as there weren’t any cameras around, if the independents asked Gillard to hop on one leg for 10 minutes, she might consider it…
In contrast, Abbott certainly isn’t coming across as desperate; he knows second-term governments with a minority status don’t have a lot going for them. That was the case in Abbott’s home state, NSW, in 1991 when the Nick Greiner-led Coalition remained in power only with the backing of five independents (including Tony Windsor). Greiner didn’t survive the term and his party lost the subsequent election (it is still out of power).
The behaviour of the independents is turning people off. … (T)he three non-aligned MPs who will play the key role in deciding which party governs have looked about as serious as kids in a toy shop.
Another poll confirms the independents must back Abbott if they wish to represent their own own electorates:
The strongest support for favouring a Coalition government is in Bob Katter’s seat of Kennedy, at 56 per cent. The lowest support for the Coalition is in Rob Oakeshott’s seat of Lyne on the NSW north coast, at 52 per cent to 38 per cent for Labor…
The Newspoll survey of 1396 voters, more than 400 in each seat, taken exclusively for The Weekend Australian on Wednesday and Thursday, also shows Tony Windsor’s seat of New England favouring a Coalition government over a Labor government by 55 per cent to 35 per cent.
Nonsense, says Terry McCrann:
The same 80 per cent-plus who always cast their first preferences for either the Labor party or the Coalition collection, did so again… We ended up with the very tight, 51/49 per cent or less, two-party preferred outcome that is the most common in federal elections. Of the 24 previous elections since the war, 11 have fallen within this range. Add on last Saturday’s and it’s now 12 out of 25. Stretch the range to 52/48 per cent and the number goes up to 15.
What’s really changed is our ability now to reform and to pass rational laws, thanks to a Greens bloc – and block – in the Senate:
Now, with Greens ascendant,… there is no way, no way, that Labor will do anything other than pander to the, especially environmental, but indeed all the streams of the Left.
And when even the Hawke-Keating remnants in parliament in the second half of the 1990s would not support the Howard-Costello reforms, there is no way a future Labor opposition would do anything but oppose even the mildest of reforms from a future Coalition government.
We now have a permanent Green minority that will endorse (any) irrational policies from a Labor government and frustrate rational ones from a Coalition one.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377. His book ‘Still Not Sorry’ was released in 2006.