Australian Politics – Senator Brown Jumped Before He Fell

Posted on Mon 04/16/2012 by


By Andrew Bolt ~

When he quit, Australian Greens Party leader Senator Bob Brown got the send-off any tyrant would have ordered from his favourite newspaper.

Just read the praises heaped on the old authoritarian in a hagiography in Saturday’s Age by Michael Gordon, the paper’s national editor.

Here are just some: remarkable , idealist, trademark optimism, positive, inspiration, role model, altruism, decency, diplomatic, unbowed, significant, cares deeply, resilience, compassion and visionary.

No word of criticism was welcome about a political extremist whose mask had fatally slipped this past year.

The one murmured word of dissent Gordon included was from Opposition leader Tony Abbott, who was allowed to say (“somewhat self-servingly”, frowned Gordon) that “the Greens are the tail that’s wagged the dog when it comes to this Labor government”.

Gordon’s piece is the most sycophantic of the pieces on Brown’s career after he announced on Friday the 13th he was leaving Parliament, but until recently it would have been typical of much coverage in the Fairfax newspapers, the ABC, SBS, FM radio and most TV political commentary.

Brown has thrived, and his Greens expanded, because large parts of the Left-leaning media wouldn’t hear a bad word about him.

Few bothered to ask what Australia would be like if we were mad enough to do as he preached. Few of the inner-urban elites and under-appreciated tertiary graduates in dead-end jobs who voted for him cared either, because Brown represented the new morality, in which seeming good means far more than actually doing it.

But something has quietly shifted in the media coverage. The bell has cracked.

The largely missed truth is that this past year has been a disaster for Brown, who suddenly seems not avuncular but angry, not reassuring but dangerous.

And this has come just when the public is feeling the sharp pain of his green agenda. No wonder he’s going while that going is good.

“Be careful what you wish for,” they say, and Brown’s decline started with his greatest triumph – when he signed a marriage alliance in 2010 with Julia Gillard, making her Prime Minister in implicit exchange for a carbon tax and huge spending goodies.

Until then, many Australians thought Brown a harmless, well-meaning crank, with the emphasis on “harmless”. You could vote Greens thinking you were just making a statement, not buying a consequence.

But now we’ve seen that a Greens vote meant a painful new tax, as well as the death of Labor. Many Greens voters may not mind, but Labor-leaning fellow travellers, especially journalists, aren’t so forgiving.

I suspect Brown knows what he lost by becoming powerful, which is why he last month offered this bizarre defence of his crazy plan to close our coal mines.

ABC reporter: Actually, if you shut down the industry you won’t get any tax at all and none of those (spending) things will be available to you.

Brown: … But we’re not any time soon going to be the authority… we’re not going to have the Treasury benches that’s going to allow that to happen.

That’s right. Brown says, don’t worry, we won’t have the power to do what we say.

But now we know that’s not true, and with his new power has come scrutiny that has shocked Brown.

He cracked. At a press conference last May, he attacked the Murdoch “hate media” – particularly The Australian – for its coverage of his carbon tax.

By July he even called for a media inquiry, which his deputy Christine Milne said would look at “bias” in coverage of global warming.

Again, what Brown threatened he got – a government inquiry into newspapers which criticised, among other things, sceptical reporting on global warming.

That baring of Brown’s teeth – that attack on free speech – cost him some of his media support, and it got worse.

His Senate speeches became even windier, and his public utterances increasingly bizarre.

Last year, he started to preach for a one world government, and last month came his infamous “fellow Earthians” speech, in which he suggested aliens hadn’t phoned us because they probably weren’t green enough and had “extincted themselves”.

Just week later, Brown, who’d recently pledged to contest the next election – “I’m looking to 2024 … two or three Senate terms” – suddenly quit instead.

Smart move. His rapid decline has been terminated. Nor will he be around to reap the whirlwind at the next election, when public fury at his carbon tax will sweep Labor from office and possibly even cost the Greens their balance of power.

Brown has jumped not before he was pushed, but before he fell. But why didn’t the media see through him before he grew too strong?

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

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 hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book  Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.

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