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130 responses to “Cate Faehrmann on NSW Greens”

  1. hrgh

    To be fair, the NSW Greens never campaigned on Israel. It was a minor story amplified by their political opponents, that was dealt with miserably.

  2. skip

    hrgh, that is more or less what the article says.

    Is there actually any evidence that the Greens lost votes because of BDS? Who is the hypothetical voter who would have voted Green this time, but was scared off by Marrickville’s participation in an international campaign? I can see someone potentially being turned off by a giant cross-media multi-party campaign to portray the Greens as racist totalitarians, but that’s not a Green policy, and will happen no matter what their stance is on Israel. Barack Obama has been subject to similar campaigning, and his foreign policy is not far off Bush’s.

  3. Sam

    I can feel a split between the fundis and the realos coming on.

    Save my spot on La-Z-boy and pass the popcorn. This should be good.

  4. patrickg

    Skip there’s no evidence, but it does display a certain lack of foresight to engage in something that so clearly adheres to your opponents’ characterisations’ of you as a fringe group.

    I don’t think the greens should beat themselves up too badly. I feel like their crucial difference to the Democrats – a coherent ideological base – is what will both ensure their longevity but also act as somewhat of a natural limit on their vote.

    Also, there were not protest votes this time around. People didn’t want to protest, they were shooting to kill.

  5. Reinu

    The issues in the Sate election were, absolutely toxic, polarised:
    From Libs…..”Get the b……s”, nothing much more.
    From Labout…”Never over my dead body”
    We now know which prevailed big time. In that context at that time issues such as, “lets make the future more sustainable for our grandchildren”, and “Israel/Palestine” are not on the table. The Greens must get totally local for State elections, electorate by electorate. Of course not hard, eg:
    Transport mismanagement = resource wasteful,econonically wasteful,socially disruptive and degrading,health threatening, anti community,anti electorate, etc etc.
    And so on, through most ministerial portfolios.
    For State elections, forget future arcadias,or how people are messing each other up on other side of the world.
    On the State level,there’s nothing ignoble about that. Ignobility (ugh!) lies in aspiring peoples’ representatives neglecting, sweeping over, local frustrations and passions.

  6. skip

    My own theory, which accords neatly with my prejudices, is that the Greens focus too much on small-scale pragmatism in local elections and miss out on the big-picture idealism boost that they get at a Federal level. It’s hard to defend a sweeping Left vision when the issues are very boring. Hard, but not impossible.

  7. weaver

    it does display a certain lack of foresight to engage in something that so clearly adheres to your opponents’ characterisations’ of you as a fringe group

    Right. So the Greens on Marrickville council should have opposed something the majority of councillors, including those of major parties, supported, on the off chance a mendacious buffoon like David Penberthy would style it as akin to Kristallnacht.

  8. Fran Barlow

    While I agree with the the thrust Paul’s claim above — Israel was not an issue that was ever going to assist the local Greens in the state election — it was largely a beat-up.

    The fact of the matter is that the BDS camapign was not the property of The Marrickville Greens alone, but was proposed by other Labor-aligned councillors. Of course, given the position of the Murdochracythe Greens must be destroyed at the ballot box — it was always The Greens who were goping to cope the flack for this. The wiser course would have been for the local Greens to express the national Greens position on Israel, declare action ultra vires unless and until this became national policy and move on.

    That said, I very much doubt that The Greens directly lost many if any votes over this. It was an enormous distraction, but it would be surprising if The Greens were getting votes from ardent Zionists unaware of our position on Israel.

    The main problem with our campaign was to ignore the fact that this was a plebsicite on who should run the state. The Greens needed to avoid trying to run this as if it were 93 council elections with us runnning as potential Mayors and instead, bearing in mind that all of them knew it was going to suffer an epic defeat and waould have to reform, invite defecting ALP voters to send a message to the ALP about the kind of party they wanted it to be. Voting Liberal was really an affirmation of the very things that trashed the party and would be a vote against reform. If we’d had that policy, we’d have been able to pick up a much larger slice of the defecting ALP vote.

    It’s a pity that Faehrman’s article missed that point.

  9. James McDonough

    ‘Realos’ and ‘Fundis’ might not be a useful distinction here. I don’t deny that the titles mean something, but some of the less electorally palatable Greens policies are there because they’re sound and reasonable. They’ve copped a hiding over the years for their drug policies, for example, despite being the only party that treats the science seriously. That’s their brand now, they’re the party that stands for something, that doesn’t just follow the polls and the pundits. They’d be foolish to throw that away.
    I can’t imagine any government more Realo than the NSW ALP (if by ‘Realo’ you mean devoted to Realpolitik and the “You have to stay in power to make a difference” mantra).
    Now correct me if I’m wrong – I’m just a “Mexican” as my father keeps reminding me – but didn’t the Fundis do pretty well and the Realos get slaughtered in a huge bloodletting that was a joy to watch? Wasn’t the Harbour a soup of sharks, body parts and spin doctors? That’s what I saw on the news, unless I was asleep on the couch again.
    Anyway, what could be more Fundi than the Free Market, race hate and global warming denialism?

  10. Sam

    The main problem with our campaign was to ignore the fact that this was a plebsicite on who should run the state.

    The Greens didn’t know that it was a state election? That’s funny; it was in all the papers.

  11. akn

    Nah, even buying into that issue at local/state/federal level buys you a shit load of media and other trouble from the Zionist lobbies in Australia. Dumb. If you’re that committed to Palestinian justice issues then why aren’t you over there as a volunteer of some sort. Right now. In other words put ya body on the line and make it count or otherwise…for the sake of the Australian environment movement…leave it out.

  12. Reinu

    Don’t know how many of the commentators here are from NSW, but the people here were feeling deeply (clinically) abandoned. The first thing needed by representatives was Empathy, with their families, there communities. Patrician deliberations and strategies are a backroom concern only after the people let you through the threshold.

  13. skip

    “If you’re that committed to Palestinian justice issues then why aren’t you over there as a volunteer of some sort.”

    There are comments to this effect on Faehrmann’s column, except they say: if you love the environment so much, why do you live in cities?

  14. Fran Barlow

    Sam said:

    The Greens didn’t know that it was a state election? That’s funny; it was in all the papers.

    In theory, state elections are conetsts over policy. In practice some are purely plebsicites and the policies are irrelevant. If you are yet to figure that out, that is what is funny.

  15. Fran Barlow

    oops … that’s twice I’ve mistyped plebiscite now. Dyslexia rules … KO … 😉

  16. akn

    Skip: to which the obvious answer is that the cities are the locus of power and influence which is not something you could say of Marrickville Council in relation to the Israel/Palestine issue.

  17. Sam

    Is there actually any evidence that the Greens lost votes because of BDS?

    Bob Brown seems to think so, but what would he know?

    Maybe he’s smart enough to foresee the consequences of his party being taken over by the Green Left Weekly crowd.

  18. skip

    Rhiannon’s been in the party since 1990. You’ll struggle to make the case that a recent influx of leftist infiltrators has led the Greens to electoral ruin.

  19. Fran Barlow

    Sam said:

    Maybe he’s smart enough to foresee the consequences of his party being taken over by the Green Left Weekly crowd.

    I have very great respect for Bob Brown. He, far more than any other individual has been the key to the success of The Greens. It’s hard not to like him even when he says things I disagree with. Yet as i’m sure he’d agree, The Greens are not his party. One day, hopefully not to soon, he will retire. Those who follow him will have to take the lead. It’s our party. It is our collective work, including the work of the Green Left Weekly crowd.

  20. Sam

    It is our collective work, including the work of the Green Left Weekly crowd.

    In which case, enjoy your 0.1% of the vote.

  21. Lefty E

    Once again, a debate gets lodged in the MSM idiot zone:

    Listen up chumps, its not only POSSIBLE to support Israel’s right to exists yet condemn its actions in occupied Palestine, its in fact the only consisten position to hold.

    If you dont support Palestine’s right to national self-determination – what legtimate basis does Israel, or any other nation have?

    The true nonsense in this debate is the “if I cant be in Hebron, what right have I got to be in Tel Aviv”. Same right as anybody on one side of an international border. YES on onde side – NO the other. Subsitute ‘Detroit’ and ‘Ottawa’ to see how silly this crap is – and yet it travels about the media as if its somehow an intellectually reputable position to hold.

  22. Labor Outsider

    The Greens are coming up against the dilemma that every small party that goes through a period of rapid growth does – getting the tradeoff right between pragmatism and purity. If the Greens want to eventually push their vote up past the 15% barrier they are going to have to make concessions to the centre. But in doing so it will seem to some supporters that they are giving up an important part of what makes them special.

    Personally, I think the Greens are better off not trying to expand too much. They are never going to be the party of government so pushing to the centre is pointless. I don’t even think there is much to be gained from being in the occasional coalition government. Be satisfied with consolidating yourself as the balance of power party in the Senate and state upper houses. If you win the occasional lower house seat along the way then great. But don’t give up what makes you special. Ultimately you will just end up sacrificing your core support for the illusion of getting closer to power and the long-term health of the party will suffer.

    I mean FFS, if a Green candidate has to walk away from strong positions on the Israel/Palestine issue then WTF is the point of being a Green? Who cares if you lose a few votes in a state election? What are your principles worth? The Greens are getting sucked into the OO narrative and it is stupid. Classic divide and conquer.

  23. Sam

    if a Green candidate has to walk away from strong positions on the Israel/Palestine issue then WTF is the point of being a Green?

    They could still care about, you know, the environment and stuff.

  24. skip

    Everyone “cares about the environment”, including Tony Abbott. What makes the Greens distinctive and important is that they approach the environment from a strong left perspective.

  25. Labor Outsider

    The Greens have never really been a single issue party Sam, they have always had a broader platform.

  26. Sam

    Indeed, Skip 23. That is exactly what they should be doing. Whether that needs to be accompanied by Yassir Arafat impressions is the question at hand, however.

  27. Labor Outsider

    Skip is right btw. The Greens’ environmentalism is embedded in a broader view of how a just society should function (domestically and internationally).

  28. myriad74

    I mean FFS, if a Green candidate has to walk away from strong positions on the Israel/Palestine issue then WTF is the point of being a Green?

    Apart from ignoring your sage advice as to why we should only just aspire to be a ginger group, this statement and many in this thread misses one simple fundamental point.

    Federally the greens party debated a motion to adopt BDS as policy, and it was defeated. Our policy on Israel/Palestine is on the website. It also happens to be by any sensible definition clearly pro-Palestinian rights and critical of Israel. (It certainly already makes much of the pro-Israel lobby pretty cranky, so I guess we must be doing something right / wrong by that rubrik.)

    So no Greens rep is being asked to walk away from a strong position at all, and like all party candidates our reps are bound to support our policies. One could be forgiven LO from reading your post into thinking that the opposite was true.

  29. hannah's dad

    Some numbers from the NSW electoral office and the ABC election site.

    The Greens % vote in Balmain from 2007 to 2011 went from 29.53% to 30.7%, an increase of over 1% with a 2PP of 49.1% only 1% from taking the seat.
    Not bad at all.

    The Greens % vote in Marrickville went from 11.76% [1999] to 28.47% [2003] to 32.55% [2007] to 35.49%, an increase of nearly 3%, and they won the seat.
    First lower house victory I believe.
    Pretty good result.

    [Or did I label these seats wrong? I’m too lazy to go back and check cos it really doesn’t matter, the 2 main points being that their vote increased in both seats and they won one of them.]

    The big picture.
    In the Assembly their state wide was 11.6% in 2011 which is an increase of 1.3%.
    Better than a poke in the face with a sharp stick.

    In the Council their vote was 11.6% in 2011, an increase of 2.05% and they appear likely to gain not only their previous 2 positions but an extra position as a bonus.

    Pretty good result eh?

    And all this positive increase, improvement and extra bums on seats despite the admitted antagonism of the media.
    Which would have eventuated and will continue to do so no matter what issue, real or confected, the media chooses to beat the Greens over the head with.

    This election was a good result for the Greens.

  30. H&R

    LO @ 21:
    If the Greens want to eventually push their vote up past the 15% barrier they are going to have to make concessions to the centre.

    As a Greens voter I’d happily accept the party’s state/federal primary vote oscillating between 15 and 20 per cent over the coming years – but unfortunately we don’t have PR in our lower houses (bar Hare-Clark).

  31. Yaz

    [email protected],
    I guess I get frustrated by any pontifications from outside the party about what the Greens ‘should’ be doing, particularly those that assume a business-as-usual model of the Westminster political system.
    How does the creed go again?
    -There shall be no government except a centrist government
    -No more than two parties-of-government shall exist at one time
    -Any balance-of-power™ party shall not aspire to actual government on pain of censure
    etc. etc.
    Perhaps you could present something that resembles evidence, as Possum tends to do, or stop with the advice, already!

  32. Labor Outsider

    Why all the internal angst then Myriad?

    I wasn’t suggesting that existing Green policy wasn’t already critical of Israel. I just don’t see why there has been so much post-election fuss about the BDS policy and why the Greens seem to be fueling the fire.

    HD, it is pretty clear that the Green vote share fell well short of internal expectations in the NSW election – hence the ex-post hand wringing.

  33. sg

    LO, while I support your frustration at 22, I think this statement:

    The Greens are coming up against the dilemma that every small party that goes through a period of rapid growth does

    has been being bandied about since about 1996 in various guises. The part that goes after the hyphen is usually the controversy du jour, and this has usually been confected by the media.

    Not that I’m accusing you of this, but there’s a lot of salacious anticipation of the day when the Greens “get real” and compromise their principles. It’s just a part of the narrative, and it helps everyone from the left, whether we support the ALP or the Greens or (shock!) Green Left Weekly/Resistance to ignore it or resist it.

  34. Fran Barlow

    As disinclined as I am generally to agree with anything that LO says, I will agree with him on one thing — giving up what makes us special would be a backward step. We have firm and abiding principles and a paradigm framed around questions like equity and social justice, human rights, secularism, environmental sustainability and so forth. Having to compromise on any of these in order to curry favour with rightwing protest voters would raise serious questions about the rationale for our existence. If these things can be junked for a buit of cheap respectability, then all we really are much less effective (albeit less degenerate) version of the ALP. We would in short order become a pathway back into ALP politics, rather than out of it. We would after all be simply doing what they have done.

    Myriad is right though. Our national policy does not support a general BDS campaign though it does support, inter alia, UN resolutions for Israel to leave the occupied territories and supports the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people to live in peace and security in their own independent, sovereign state. See for example: Israel-Palestine Resolution of National Conference (2006)

    So there is no question of any Green being forced to “walk away from strong positions on the Israel/Palestine issue”.

  35. Labor Outsider

    Yaz – you can aspire to all you like but while the Greens’ position on most policy issues is along way from that of the median voter you will never be close to a party of government.

  36. Labor Outsider

    SG, that is a fair point. FWIW I don’t think it is at all inevitable that the Greens will abandon their principles. I guess I was just making the point that the Greens shouldn’t necessarily measure their success by their vote share.

  37. hannah's dad

    LO

    Really?
    Well, thats a maybe.

    The solid numbers fact is that they did better than previous which was better than previous etc.

    They got an increased vote and extra representation despite the brouhaha from the media and Labor types who see fit to decry their solid achievements unless they sweep to a landslide victory next week.
    Aint gonna happen is it?

    Softly softly catchee monkey.

    From over here in SA I see that they done better.

    As a matter of coincidence [?] the same claims get made by outsiders here re Greens progress.
    Namely outsiders, media for example, reckon the Greens ‘should do better’ but when you look at the numbers, of votes, of %s, of swings, of bums on seats, that is exactly what is happening.
    They are doing better.
    In both states [and probably others as well].

  38. sg

    I think abandoning their principles would be a disaster for the Greens. Every vote they have won has been through sticking to their principles. The perfect way for them to have bombed in the last election would have been to pass Rudd’s ETS and watch 99% of their voters say, “oh well, might as well vote labour.”

    Which is no doubt part of the reason why ALP hacks love to blame the Greens for the demise of the ETS and the subsequent election debacle. If only the ALP could even understand what “standing by your principles” meant anymore…

  39. silkworm

    Much of the momentum for the BDS campaign against Israel is coming from prominent Jews.

    The initiative for an anti-Israel boycott in London was taken by Stephen and Hilary Rose, two renowned Jewish academics. The linguist Noam Chomsky, considered “the intellectual godfather” of the anti-Israel campaign, seeks the abolition of the Jewish State. Jewish philosopher Judith Butler is leading the divestment from Israel.

    Michael Lerner’s magazine, Tikkun, is probably the most virulently anti-Israel screed ever published under Jewish auspices. There are the Israeli “neo- Canaanites”, Haim Hanegbi and Meron Benvenisti, who have come to the conclusion that “Israel as a Jewish state can no longer exist.” In Paris, bestselling author Stephane Hessel, himself of Jewish origin, is also inciting against Israel.

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4052646,00.html

  40. weaver

    I find myself wondering what Faehrmann’s agenda is here. Why play into the bullshit narrative that the Marrickville BDS was an issue other than as a product of a Murdoch tabloid beat-up? Is there some reason no politician in this country has the spine to call the press liars? That’s probably a rhetorical question. I seem to recall when Rudd was making remarks which implied NewsCorp was a political opponent of the ALP and should be treated as such, all other commentators started shaking their heads and muttering about how this was poor form – because no-one can ever question the myth of “the Fourth Estate”.

    The council’s very minor gesture was an issue for Byrne because and only because the Tele decided to make it an issue in pursuit of Newscorp’s stated objective of destroying the Greens. If it hadn’t been available they would have used something else, even if it meant making shit up, and they’ll do exactly that next time as well.

  41. Fran Barlow

    Indeed Silky, but as you’d be aware, these are “self-hating Jews” little to be distinguished from you know who.

  42. Paul Burns

    Does nobody see that one can support an Israeli state behind its pre-1968 borders and a Palistinian State as well. Guess not.
    From a long way away it seems Carmel Tebbit won because she ran a very good campaign and has lots of respect. Verity Firth probably could’ve won, the result was so close, if her husband hadn’t been busted for dropping ecstacy. Anybody else find the timing of that bust odd. Its not as if the local cops don’t usually know who the drug users are in their local area.
    As for the Greens performance – it was good enough for a State election. The mood at the NSE election was to get rid of Labor for a very long time so it can clean its act up. Plus voters had the security of knowing Labor was in federally, and that might, just might put one or two brakes on the State Liberals’ madness.
    Personally, I think the Greens made a terrible mistake concentrating too much on lower house seats in this election. They really should have gone big on getting the balance of power in the upper house, so they could gut the ultra right wingers in the Xtan Dems, and most of all the Shooters and Fishers Party who are out to wreck state environment policy. But I suppose some-one more knoelegeable in the ways of getting Upper House numbers in NSW will tell me a GRN BOP was never going to be possible this election.

  43. David Irving (no relation)

    LO, you claim that the position of the Greens is a long way from that of the average voter.

    That’s actually a dubious assertion, as, if you take any particular Greens’ policy, you’ll find that at least a sifgnificant minority (if not a majority) of the electorate would support it, or at least not actively disagree.

    In aggregate, it may be true, but would also be true of the other parties as well. (It’s what happens when you have a myriad of intersecting sets – the union may be quite small.)

    The major difference between the Greens and the other parties is that the MSM keep shrieking how radical we are, and frankly, I’m disappointed you’ve been taken in by it.

  44. pterosaur

    Weaver @ 40

    “Is there some reason no politician in this country has the spine to call the press liars? ”

    Looks like Bob Brown has iust done so. 😎

  45. joe

    I’m pretty sure that for most people, even at a federal level, the Israel/Palestine conflict isn’t a voting issue. It’s something which is just way down on the list of things to do for the vast majority of Australians.

    Of course it’s a lobbyists job to convince people, including the voting public, that this isn’t the case.

    But after all is said and not much done, Bob Brown is just being honest, when he says that there are many other significantly more important issues on the Green agenda than “solidarity” with Palestine. That’s the main message and if people want to try and use this issue to further their own interests it’s just not going to wash with the general public, who have had to watch nightly 30 years of the stupidity of the so-called Middle East conflict.

  46. joe

    pterosaur,

    a dangerous tactic, not withstanding the diminished influence of the Australian and the merit of what Bob Brown’s saying. The Greens are coming under a lot of pressure at the moment and it’s going to be a real test of their maturity to see if they can maintain discipline and focus ahead of taking the balance of power in the senate.

    This is the Greens big chance and they just need to hang in there until they can grasp it with both hands and do something with it.

  47. silkworm

    Jamie Parker was attacked viciously by Zionists during the election campaign. These attacks included death threats, swastika vandalism on signage, and abusive letters accusing him of being a Nazi. Parker expressed surprise and disappointment that so-called “Lefty Jews” failed to condemn their fellow Zionist Jews over these attacks when asked to do so. “These Jews provide cover for extreme actions if they occur,” Parker said.

    This reminds me of Dawkins’ criticism of so-called moderate Christians who fail to condemn their extremist brothers and sisters who engage in violent activities.

    Those who fail to condemn the local Zionists for their attacks on the Greens are almost as guilty as the attackers themselves.

  48. sg

    silkworm, I’m not sure that Jews should have a particular responsibility to attack Zionists. After all, lots of US supporters of Israel are christian. I don’t think it’s a constructive response to the standard slur of anti-semitism to demand that other jews defend victims of that slur from their co-religionists. Leftists should always treat zionism as a colonialist and racist political program, and not conflate it with the religious people in whose best interests it pretends to act.

    And well done Bob Brown!

  49. Wombo

    Faehrmann has taken on the role of Brown’s NSW proxy in the unfolding leadership struggle within the Greens and over their general direction. Her “comment” piece is a dirty, opportunistic, (and indicative of a nastiness behind the scenes) piece of factionalism (in a party with no officially declared factions, no less).

    End of story.

    I hope she (and Brown, but that’s less likely, given his ‘messiah’ status to many) get thoroughly lambasted for their recent manoeuvering. The Greens can – and should – be a lot more than they allow for, especially when they increasingly jump to attention when the MSM whistles.

    I’ll not be holding my breath though.

    – Wombo (a leading member of the Green Left Weekly crowd)

  50. Hal9000

    Richard Farmer in today’s Crikey points out that the only recent poll on Australians’ views on Israel shows a majority of Australians have negative views of Israel and in particular its policy towards the Palestinians. There is zero reflection of this in the policies of either the ALP or the Coalition and zero acknowledgement of it in the MSM. The assumption that the issue played badly for the Greens electorally is based on wishful thinking by people who will say anything that may damage the Greens abetted by admirers of the increasingly fascist regime in Tel Aviv. The argument that the issue was highlighted by the MSM and the Green vote only increased by 5-odd percent and this was substantially less than if the issue hadn’t been there has no logical validity. There are no polls showing a collapse in the Green vote once the issue became prominent in the MSM. End of story.

  51. Lefty E

    Sounds like it to me too, Wombo.

  52. PeterTB

    There are the Israeli “neo- Canaanites”, Haim Hanegbi and Meron Benvenisti, who have come to the conclusion that “Israel as a Jewish state can no longer exist.”

    And these are the people leading the BDS campaign?

    In that case, I would be particularly careful not to be associated with the BDS in any way.

  53. Hal9000

    I appear to be stuck in moderation. Sob!

  54. Hal9000

    You should get out more, PeterTB. The powerful Israeli ultra-orthodox sect believes the idea of a Jewish state prior to the appearance of the Messiah is an abomination. There is a long history of rejection of Zionism among Jews who rejected the idea that they needed a homeland, given their status as citizens of whatever country they were living in. Such views only became a minority opinion among Jews following the Nazi genocide and the establishment of Israel as an internationally recognised state. But they’ve always been there, and are entirely respectable.

  55. PeterTB

    Noam Chomsky is ultra-orthodox?

    That’s OK then.

  56. sg

    nice logic there, PeterTB. Keep it up!

  57. Lefty E

    Yeah, it seems to me an awful lot of effort is going into making the story something other than the complete annihilation of the NSW ALP.

    Penbo’s “look over there – flying pigs preffing Hanson backwards!” effort was merely the most mendacious of many.

    Its a shame to see a GRN jump abroad – but with success will come factionalism. Thats party politics.

  58. joe

    Lefty E,
    agreed. This is a sign of desperation from the right wingers…
    Not much they can really do though, so let them blather.

  59. Lefty E

    Agreed Joe.

    Meanwhile, the OO’s “War on GRNs” goes to round two – Bob Brown strikes back: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/04/07/3185157.htm

  60. joe

    LeftyE,

    nice reply from Brown.

    I saw the link earlier, but didn’t read the article, but it’s a good solid and honest reply from Brown.

    Brown isn’t attacking the Australian, he’s standing up for himself against false allegations and in the face of provable editorial bias.

    Can you believe Franklin’s defense: Brown’s office didn’t respond to some of his questions, ‘so he just kinda made something up.’ Well that’s ok then, how dare anyone not reply to a question of his?!? What a loser.

  61. Labor Outsider

    I love that statement “a party without factions”…please!!! All parties have them. They are inevitable. The challenge is to find a way for different views to be aired internally and fairly, so that internal disputes don’t become public ones.

    David Irving. The Greens have a perfectly defensible set of public policy positions. They aren’t mine but that is irrelevent in this discussion. And yes, there a number of Greens policies that would garner significant minority support and sometimes majority support.

    However, in politics it doesn’t make sense to look at policies in isolation – it is the union, as you say, that matters, because the electorate votes on the policy set, not individual policies. And that union is well to the left of the views of the median voter in Australia. Sure, at the margin, the way the party is portrayed in the media can affect voter perceptions. But then has worked both ways for the Greens in recent years because the scrutiny over Green policy positions is nowhere near as severe as it is for Labor and the Coalition because the Greens have not been seen as a party of government.

    One way to think about your claim is this. Let’s say that the ALP at the next national conference decided to adopt the entire Greens policy platform. What do you think would happen? I think you could make an argument that Labor would secure more of the vote than the Greens with the same platform, which partially supports your argument. However, I’d argue that Labor would be decimated in an election run on that platform. And that is really my point. There just simply is not a large enough constituency that supports Greens type policies to win an election. That doesn’t make the Greens extremists, it just makes them a niche party.

  62. paul walter

    I just get so sick of the Greens being the issue here rather thn than the right wing media.
    I think it is sad the Faehrmann had to come up in response to the outrageous behaviours of the right, including the powerful amd vicious zionist lobby, with those comments about “pragmatism”.
    That is the path that Labor has taken and why it is increasingly despised amongst sections of the thinking public (as with the libs).
    Typically, never challenge the paradigm, just reinforce it and prop it up.
    As for Silkworm, I don’t think there has been a stronger or more persistent advocate for the “fair go”, than Anthony Loewenstein and he is by no means the only Australian of Jewish extraction who has adopted a very principled and personally grief bearing stand on the issue of Palestine and its subjugation.

  63. sg

    I don’t want to be a complete and utter nerd here, DI(nR) and LO, but I think you mean “intersection,” not “union.” The “union” of every party’s policies is usually most of the electorate. It’s the “intersection” that one might expect to vote for you.

    In terms of maths terms misused as bullshit, though, “depending on your priors” is much more pernicious than set theory…

    so, as you were…

  64. David Irving (no relation)

    Oops, my bad. Thanks, sg.

  65. Labor Outsider

    very true sg…

  66. FDB

    Time to bust out the Venn diagrams people.

  67. Paul Norton

    paul walter @62, what’s wrong with two states for two peoples (which the current Australian Greens policy calls for) as the basis for a “fair go” for Israel and the Palestinians?

  68. Sam

    I see that the party with no factions has broken out into open factional warfare, as blame is thrown about for its underwhelming performance in the NSW elections.

  69. akn

    Look, this ongoing discussion of the Palestine/Israel business is little more than a neurotic re-run of AUS politics circa 1979 onwards. Earlier if you wish.

    Certainly there are significant issues and certainly people are entitled to their views. However, Israel/Palestine has eff all to do with the global ecological crisis except in so far as war and war reconstruction impose particularly high ecological and human costs. I know what motivates Zionists to gnaw on the bone of the issue but cannot for the life of me understand why an Australian party of environmental and social justice (The Greens) would be silly enough to buy into this particular fight to the extent that they have. It is not as if there is a shortage of justice issues gloablly – from Tibet to (current crisis) Sierra Leone.

    So, there must be something else going on. The committment shown by The Greens to social justice in Israel/Palestine would be far more credibly brought to focus on what the Indonesians are doing in Irian Jaya. I suspect, however, that paying attention there might lead to too many uncomfortable oportunities to put your credibility and personal safety on the line – it’s only a boat trip away if you want. But maybe ridiculous grandstanding about Israel/Palestine suits the temperments of some of The Greens better.

  70. Fran Barlow

    There are no official factions in The Greensm, Sam. Like any substantial organisation built around public policy ideas, there are a range of perspectives.

    That’s far healthier than cliques — which is what drives the majors.

  71. Sam

    Fran 70,

    official or not, the NSW factions – the Brownite left liberals and the Rhiannonist Trot Green Left Weekly entrists – stand out like the proverbial.

    I predict that the Trots will win and will ruin the Greens, as they have ruined every other promising alternative left party they have invaded and infected. It’ll be the Nuclear Disarmament Party all over again. Plus ça change.

  72. Russell

    “There just simply is not a large enough constituency that supports Greens type policies to win an election”

    That could partly be due to the Greens’ policies being a definite change from the status quo – which scares people. Note how the two main parties fo for the ‘small target’ approach to campaigning. The Greens have a large target.

    “The Greens to social justice in Israel/Palestine would be far more credibly brought to focus on what the Indonesians are doing in Irian Jaya”

    It’s understandable that the middle-east is discussed because there’s so much information about it, you can’t avoid hearing about it on an almost daily basis. Much harder to know about Irian Jaya.

  73. akn

    Russell: with all the politeness I can muster that is exactly the sort or ridiculous statement that supports my claim that some of The Greens are more interested in grandstanding and moral posturing than engaging in issues within Australian geopolitical proximity. When documentaries on the Biak Massacre are available on YouTube you can actually claim to be unaware of what is hapening there?

  74. Russell

    akn – I didn’t say ‘unaware’ – just pointing out that the middle-east is discussed everywhere, everyday so you shouldn’t be surprised that people interested in politics form an opinion on it. Very few people have ever heard of Irian Jaya/Papua Barat.

  75. Paul Burns

    Well, as somebody who is actually a member of the ‘GLW claque; I would have thought they were democratic socialists, not Trots. But what would I know. They are also not Green members, though Socialist Alliance does preference Greens after most of the other Socialist parties.

  76. sg

    Russell, I think you’ll find that the Greens have been involved in campaigns over East Timor and Irian Jaya. They can attend to more than one political issue at once, you know. The fact that Lee Rhiannon was involved in some boycott of Israel doesn’t mean she’s obssessed with it, you know.

    You’re being overly affected by the latest media-driven hype.

  77. Russell

    “You’re being overly affected by the latest media-driven hype”

    Odd, since the only coverage of it I’ve seen/heard has been on this blog. I could hardly care less what a Green MP or candidate said about the middle-east. Of course the Greens would be aware of the situation in Papua – I was only replying to AKN’s criticism of the Greens neglect of Irian Jaya/Papua.

    While I would expect the Greens to have a stated policy on global warming – a huge issue, I wouldn’t expect them to have a policy on the environmental situation in Papua. I’m not surprised they comment on the middle-east, another huge issue, and also not surprised if they didn’t have much to say about Papua.

  78. akn

    Russell: I’m not suggesting that The Greens have neglected the Irian Jaya issue or that they are unaware of it. I’m going to have to be blunter than usual in saying that this neurotic obsession of The Greens over Israel/Palestine replicates the pointless exercises of petty petty politics that turns so many students off participating in their student representative councils. Worse, the grandstanding on the issue is cowardly, meaningless and pointless whilever those who claim to be so deeply committed to Palestinian justice remain in Australia instead of residing in Palestine working for a volunteer or other organisation. All noise, no action.

    Alternatively, those with deeply held feelings about social justice can look to Irian Jaya, East Timor or the third world conditions of Aborigines not only in the NT but every other state of Australia for opportunities to engage in real terms on the ground.

    This issue (Israel/Palestine) is a big time turn off for Australian electors (remember Gillard’s carrion cawl to “evry day Strayans”) most of whom see the interminable bloodshed and fighting as an example of why immigrants should be locked up.

    This is a lose all around for The Greens.

  79. David Irving (no relation)

    Couldn’t agree more, akn, which is why Greens’ policy on Palestine doesn’t involve boycotts, etc.

  80. Russell

    AKN – I do pay some attention to politics, and vote Green, but wasn’t aware Palestine was a major focus of the Greens.

    I suppose being engaged in electoral politics isn’t necessarily the same as being engaged “in real terms on the ground” – some people may be drawn to social development activism, working in communities, while others are drawn more to policy work.

  81. Sam

    Paul 75, I hate to disillusion you, old son, but the GLWistas are Trots pure and simple.

  82. akn

    Well, Russell, I must say that I also vote Green, am not a member of any party and was not, until the recent debacle in Marrcikville, aware that this was a significant issue to The Greens. They’re making Robbo look like a reasonable alternative at the moment.

  83. silkworm

    This issue (Israel/Palestine) is a big time turn off for Australian electors…

    … and yet Jamie Parker got elected in Balmain. Go figure.

  84. akn

    Yes Silkworm but did JP attempt to enrol Leichhardt Council in a program to refuse Israeli goods and services?

  85. Darryl Rosin

    “this neurotic obsession of The Greens over Israel/Palestine replicates the pointless exercises of petty petty politics that turns so many students off participating in their student representative councils.”

    What we have been seeing over the last month or so is not the Greens obsessing over Israel/Palestine, but the Greens obsessing over their public image and the playing out of some internal tensions in public. If you ignore the last six weeks, I think you’d be hard-pressed to say the Greens ‘obsess’ about Israel/Palestine.

    That being said, this media campaign that “the Greens are anti-semetic” is causing a lot of grief, particularly for Jewish party members. I was talking to an Israeli friend in the Party the other week who is being told by friends and relatives that they no longer wanted to have anything to do with her while she was a member of the Greens. So she’s seriously considering resigning, ’cause who needs that kind of grief.

    (as many of you know I’m an active Greens member and I currently hold a couple of positions in the Qld branch, but I have no ‘insider’ information about what’s happening in and between the NSW & Federal parties. I just read the papers like the rest of youse. Or more accurately, I just read newspaper websites when they’re linked to from blogs :^)

    d

  86. Lefty E

    Meh, various groups I was involved in used to get a caning over our support for Timorese independence. Nobody does these days.

    The truth is there’s absolutely no difference here.

    Nobody ever though that was to question Indonesia “right to exist”, mind – because that would have an idiotic position to hold. Nonetheless, as demented as it is, for some inexplicable reason a whole lot of idiots claims this – 100% incorrectly – is somehow a corollary of supporting a Palestinian state.

    Which it isnt.

    Its tiresome nonsense, and anything who thinks this is either an brainwashed dufus, or deliberately deceitful Israeli propagandist.

    That all said: buggered if I know why this is a state election issue.

    Suspect that has more to do with campaigns against the Greens than the Greens campaigning.

  87. akn

    DRT above:

    That being said, this media campaign that “the Greens are anti-semetic” is causing a lot of grief, particularly for Jewish party members.

    Paul Norton will perhaps recall with greater clarity than I can the serious ructions within the CPA over ‘new left’ support for Palestinian organisations sometime in the early to mid-1970’s that saw some Aarons family members threatent to resign.

    My view is that there are some on the left who are hopelessly and neurotically caught up in this reliving those events and other associated events.

  88. Terry

    Fran @ 70:

    There are no official factions in The Greens

    Are there Tendencies?

  89. Darryl Rosin

    “Paul Norton will perhaps recall with greater clarity than I can the serious ructions within the CPA over ‘new left’ support for Palestinian organisations sometime in the early to mid-1970?s that saw some Aarons family members threatent to resign.”

    The difference here, so far as I can tell, is that there’s very little dispute within the Greens about Israel and Palestine policy, and nobody that I know of has considered resigning because of the Greens’ policies.

    The grief being caused is because of non-members’ reading the newspapers and speaking to other non-members and coming away with the impression that the Greens are anti-semetic.

    d

  90. silkworm

    but did JP attempt to enrol Leichhardt Council in a program to refuse Israeli goods and services?

    You mean the death threats by supporters of Israel against him were all for nothing?

  91. akn

    Darryl: anyone familiar with this particular can of worms knows that this is the first claim Zionists lodge against those who call for justice for Palestinians. Standard operating procedure. Buy into that fight at your own peril.

    Silkworm: I know nothing of this but it doesn’t surprise me that these threats were made. Again, SOP for Zionists.

    For the record: I have taught genocide studies at a variety of tertiary institutions and am very sympathetic to Jewish needs for a homeland. At the same time I appreciate that Israel does not represent international Jewry. Similarly, while I support Palestinian rights for a state and to justice there are limits to that support set by Palestinian insistence on the illegitimacy of the state of Israel.

    There are, on both sides of this long argument, men and women of honour who understand that there is no path to peace but that peace is the path. Until such time as these people are in control of negotiations and settlement it is obvious that there will be no peace. This is why it is sensible to avoid taking a stance on this issue in Australia where such a stance detracts from attention to Australian issues.

  92. paul walter

    What a crass attempt at derailment form Sam. Not even remotely an issue. Surely in the twenty first century, we can finally grow up and out of 1950’s McCarthyite smear politics?
    I would say there would be nothing inconsistent whatsoever about the Greens having positions on global politics- entirely consistent with the Greens concern for real things and their understanding of immanent influences that determine, amongst other things, both the destruction of the environment and the destruction of human beings in Palestine and so many other places, derived of the same myopic mentality they stand against.
    Seriously-come on- who are you going to beleive in a conversation between a Green and someone like Imre Jabotinsky?

  93. Wombo
  94. sg

    I like how this thread has been all swings and roundabouts but has managed to swing back to the tired old cliche of the Greens being full of commies.

    Do we have any other cliches from the Australian that we need to resurrect on this thread?

  95. silkworm

    For the record: I have taught genocide studies at a variety of tertiary institutions…

    I call bullshit.

    …and am very sympathetic to Jewish needs for a homeland.

    Would that be Sephardic Jews or Ashkenazi Jews? And what need do Russian Jews have to move to Israel?

  96. akn

    Silkworm: under the auspices of the Macquarie University Centre for Genocide Studies at Macq. U and UTS.

    To sooth your sense of of having been exposed to b-s I’ll open a window to understanding for you: there has long been a tension within genocide studies about the theoretical model for genocide and this was mainly driven by Jewish genocide scholars who didn’t want to accept that the Shoa was not the only formal genocide. Also, to further sooth you, I’ll offer that it is my view that Zionist Jews residing in Israel are suffering from a collective form of trauma repetition compulsion whereby they suffer what is known in some literature as a “reversal” in which they actually act out the actions of their oppressors.

    This makes it a very intractable issue for traumatised Jews. That’s probably most of them at least in Israel.

    I cannot understand the intended meaning of your other comments. I could try and untangle them but suspect that it would lead to further entaglement.

  97. derrida derider

    I can only say that I’ve voted Green the last couple of elections because they’ve looked like a rational, honest alternative to a Labor that has lost its way big time. But I’d rather vote Tory than vote for the Rhiannon lot, who really are, as Gillard clumsily tried to say, miles away from the concerns of average Australians and are a complete deadend.

    And I reckon I’m far from alone. LO is right htat it would be foolish to aspire to replace the ALP entirely and you’d wreck yourself with the compromises needed to try, but OTOH if you put Green Left Weekly lot in charge then you’ll have the opposite problem: you’d soon get much, much less than the consistent 15-20% of the vote you need to influence things.

  98. Sam

    What’s the Greens’ (GLW tendency) correct line on pardons for drug dealers?

    Just askin’.

  99. Russell

    “…if you put Green Left Weekly lot in charge”

    Well, that might raise the level of debate at least. I suspect that if the Greens or the GLW lot came into power they would find a lot more information and experience had become available to them, i.e. the public service, and that would have a moderating effect on any ‘extreme’ policies.

  100. silkworm

    akn, fair enough re your studies. However, no matter how persecuted the Jews were by the Nazis, Palestine/Israel was never their homeland. If any Jews can call Palestine their homeland, it is the Mizrahi (Arab) Jews, and yet they are persecuted in their own land by Ashkenazi immigrants.

  101. Paul Austin

    However, no matter how persecuted the Jews were by the Nazis, Palestine/Israel was never their homeland.

    I’ve never liked this argument as to me it’s too uncomfortably close to the old anti-Jewish story of the homeless “Wandering Jew”.

  102. silkworm

    A little perspective please. The Nazi persecution of the Jews happened over 60 years ago. The Israeli persecution of the Palestinians is happening now. There is something to akn’s view of “trauma repetition compulsion.”

  103. paul walter

    For Derrida Derider, the lefty Greens are “…miles away from the concerns of ordinary Australians”
    and he won’t vote for them.
    Funny, that’s just the reason I would vote for them.
    And who would vote for a party that condemns the oppression of a subjugated People?
    tsk, tsk…
    Why have I had to read so many tonnes of GARBAGE about the imagined “red peril” Greens lately?
    Can so many people in this country be so pitifully, anally stupid as this at the same time?
    Beam me up Scotty, this truly does suck.

  104. Paul Norton

    Paul Norton will perhaps recall with greater clarity than I can the serious ructions within the CPA over ‘new left’ support for Palestinian organisations sometime in the early to mid-1970?s that saw some Aarons family members threatent to resign.

    I don’t recall it because I didn’t join the CPA until 1984. However I read the party records from that period and had some discussions with people who were in the party at the time, and there was certainly a debate between those who wanted to retain the CPA’s long-standing support for a two-state solution based on the 1948 “Green Line” and those, mainly younger and further left members, who supported the PLO line of a “democratic secular Palestine”. The two-state policy remained in place. However, I have never heard that any members of the Aarons family were seriously threatening to resign over the issue, and if the matter had been sufficiently fraught that any members of the Aarons family were even considering such a step, Mark Aarons would surely have mentioned it in The Family File.

    I did hear one story about Eric Aarons and Bernie Taft leaving a National Congress in high dudgeon and arguing with each other about the Israel/Palestine debate all the way down the street leading away from the Congress venue, but I was not told the particulars of their disagreement, which, in the light of what I’ve subsequently learned about the CPA’s internal politics in that period, was less likely to have been about the Israel-Palestine issue itself than about the fact that Bernie Taft thought the Aarons family should have been taking a harder line against the young ultra-lefts who were pushing the PLO line.

  105. akn

    Thanks for that Paul. Your research via conversations is probably more informed than my recollections. I was in support of the democratic secular Palestine position at the time.

    However, much later and with other knowledge now informing my views, I maintain that the current conditiions within Israel and Palestine present absolutely intractable problems. In theory at least all human problems ought to be remediable through rational human actions. Following on from Silkworm (@100) in fact it appears to me that both sides of the war are in the grip of deep trauma. How could they not be?

    That collective trauma negates even the possibility of rational action until people of peace make the breakthrough which is why I find The Greens adoption of any sort of practical position totally absurd. According to today’s SMH The Greens now have the Jewish Board of Deputies on their case and they are tenacious, to say the least. So, I find the grandstanding from afar (Australia) in unreflective support for either side distasteful and ignorant of the human and historical reality.

    Silkworm @100: I don’t doubt that you are correct in what you say but leaving out the reality of the Shoa robs your argument of humane sense. Claude Lanzmann’s magnificent documentary Shoa, all 9 hours of it, is guaranteed to give you deeper understanding.

  106. Paul Norton

    akn @105, I have a lot of sympathy for the views expressed in your comment but I’ll just gently remind everyone, once again, that it is the NSW Greens, not the Australian Greens, who are engaged in unreflective support for one side of the conflict.

    On this note I have to strongly disagree with those commenters who have accused Cate Faehrmann of “factionalism” and/or breach of solidarity by writing what she did in the SMH. It is the NSW Greens organisation which has put itself publicly at odds with the Australian Greens policy on an issue which is properly within the national organisation’s remit, and which has done so in a strategically and tactically stupid way which is having consequences for the Australian Greens and for Greens in other states.

    As for public statements by prominent NSW Greens which can be considered factional, I present as exhibit A Lee Rhiannon’s address to the National Left Renewal Conference in May 2010 in which she stated that “The challenge to keep the Greens left is huge”, which can reasonably be interepreted as meaning that there are significant internal differences within the Greens and that she is firmly on one side of them.

  107. Paul Norton

    Also agreeing with akn, if an organisation or individual gets involved in the Israel/Palestine debate in Australia, they will very soon come into contact with people on all sides of the issue who are utterly passionate about it, deeply knowledgeable about it from their particular perspective, and fiercely articulate in debate. The alternatives, in this situation, are either to be made to look very silly and ignorant very quickly (which is bad for a political group’s brand), or to make the issue a consuming passion in order to be able to hold one’s own in arguments (which will be at the expense of other priorities, and therefore also bad for one’s brand).

  108. FDB

    In other words PN, leave the intractible fighters to their unresolvable fight and find something else to concern yourself with, among the many many obvious alternatives?

    Sage advice.

  109. David Irving (no relation)

    Indeed, FDB, and preferably something which does have a solution that all reasonable people can accept.

  110. silkworm

    it appears to me that both sides of the war are in the grip of deep trauma.

    It is obvious what the immediate trauma of the Palestinians is, but what is the immediate trauma of the Israelis? Can the Israelis really be said to be suffering from something that took place over 60 years ago?

  111. Paul Burns

    Silkworm @ 110.
    I guess it depewnds whether yout position on the Holocaust from the Israeli perspewctive is:
    ‘Never again – to anyone.’
    or
    ‘Never again – to me.’

  112. paul walter

    #106 “…engaged in unreflective support” (presumably of the Irael boycott)..
    WTF?
    And this from someone supposedly academically trained?
    The only excuse I can find is that the term “unreflective” is employed in reference to the local political implications.
    Surely not the long standing historically doumented issue the NSW Greens made a principled stand upon; the oppression of Palestine by Israel?
    Please Dr.Norton, not Murdoch at LP; you have me rofl unless I discern you are Imre Jabotinsky’s brother, over at the “Opposition Gazette”.
    Now, back to Pilger, who is dealing with this sort of “unflective” commentary from the western black propaganda machine, as to Iraq.

  113. paul walter

    The thing that comes to mind on a second read is the red herring about left Greens being agaist a return to the 1968 borders. What a silly idea; it is not Palestinians building “settlements” on the West Bank but Israelis, for god’s sake.
    And nor does this diversion explain why it has had to be the Palestinians that should have to pay, over and over, for Western guilt over the holocaust and conservative Xtian religious obsessions.
    For crissakes, why are some of you attacking Rhiannon and co, rather than the Murderdoch press, the US Empire and AIJAC?

  114. akn

    No Paul, I did say unreflective support of either side was a problem. For mine I think the policies of Israel are murderously psychotic towards the Palestinians.

  115. Sam

    “The challenge to keep the Greens left is huge”, which can reasonably be interepreted as meaning that there are significant internal differences within the Greens and that she is firmly on one side of them

    Hmmm … especially as to her Bukharin was a notorious right winger.

  116. akn

    Ah, it was a two Pauls issue PN because I was chatting to PW. Cheers.

  117. akn

    Thank heavens for that although I was rather relishing the rodeo atmosphere that would have ensued had a trio of personality disorders held the upper house BoP.

  118. Helen

    Oh thank the FSM.

  119. joe2

    Try googling “Green’s win”.
    The story is, of course, only about Pauline missing out.

  120. Paul Burns

    Oh, that makes my day. And the fact that O’Feral is knackered if the Greens and ALP combine. But given the calibre of the NSW Right and the current bunfight started by Gillard’s foolish attacks, maybe I’m being unduly optimistic?

  121. Sam Bauers

    “The challenge to keep the Greens left is huge”

    Paul, this statement doesn’t necessarily reflect on an internal “split” or “factionalisation” of The Greens.

    The external pressures for The Greens to move to the centre are obvious. These externalities tend to provide convenient reasoning for those that feel that The Greens ought to be chasing electoral success at the expense of “unpalatable” policy. I won’t conjecture as to why some wish to chase electoral success.

    We ought to remember that being critical of the Israeli government is not a minority position in this country [1]. Just like opposing involvement in Afghanistan, gay marriage, the list goes on. The Greens positions mostly reflect popular opinion. The intersection of opinion is another thing. As usual The Greens are somehow held to a higher standard than the other parties, i.e. they become toxic if they have just one bad 2nd order policy.

    [1] Israel and Iran Share Most Negative Ratings in Global Poll

  122. David Irving (no relation)

    As usual The Greens are somehow held to a higher standard than the other parties, i.e. they become toxic if they have just one bad 2nd order policy.

    It doesn’t even have to be bad policy, Sam. Just one that can be portrayed as extreme, or parodied (“prescription heroin for gay whales”), for the major parties to go all feral.

  123. joe2

    Now, how about this?

    Greens win with Family First preferences. Pauline is rooned by her old party.

    http://blogs.abc.net.au/antonygreen/2011/04/shock-change-in-final-legislative-council-numbers.html

  124. akn

    On FF prefs? Oh joy.

  125. Paul Burns

    The Foetus’s revenge?

  126. paul walter

    A friend warned me last night not to take the Hanson headlines too seriously, on the basis of unallocated preferences and she has been vindicated.
    A marvellous deliverance for the besieged folk of NSW, given the state of their upper house.

  127. paul walter

    Akn thanks. Paul Norton, I understand your concern and your point, its a vexed wider issue in somany ways on so many levels and has been for at least as long as the likes of you, akn and I have been alive

  128. rumrebellious

    I think credit should probably go to Gordon Moyes rather than Family First. And it is a shame he isn’t in parliament.