Voting Green: the alternative medicine wears off

Voting Green: the alternative medicine wears off, by Paul Kelly.

The Greens are an ugly sight under pressure. This is a party deluded by hubris, confused about its strategy, consumed by a moral vanity that wearies most people, and it has now been taught a crucial lesson about the power of the Labor Party as a progressive force.

Batman may yet become a turning point. It shows Victorian Labor able to repeat the performance of NSW Labor in the inner city and deny the surge of the Greens.

It throws into doubt an orthodoxy of our politics — that inner Sydney and Melbourne will finish up owned by the Greens, thereby forcing federal Labor governments down the track into governing alliances with them. …

Today’s leader, Richard Di Natale, has championed an ambitious agenda for the Greens to become a party of government over a generation — winning up to 25 House of Representatives seats, but also insisting the party can retain its progressive principles. …

Their dilemma is obvious: if they stand by ideological gesture, they won’t be taken seriously; but if they run realistic policies, how do they differentiate from Labor and Liberal?

This week Di Natale revealed the purest Green reflex under pressure — go extreme on climate change. He told the Senate: “The government has been doing everything it can to slow this country’s transition to renewable energy and Australians are bearing the brunt of that failure” — pointing to the fires in NSW’s Tathra, Bega and in southwest Victoria, and the Darwin cyclone.