The recent successes of the Greens in state elections in Victoria and NSW show us how populist nonsense can succeed at least in the short term. It has also shown the failure of the ALP to counter the threat of the Greens.
There are two major issues on which the policies of the Greens have brought disastrous results for Australia. When it really mattered on climate change and asylum seekers, they sided with Tony Abbott.
The Greens literally shed tears over the plight of asylum seekers. But they must bear a heavy responsibility for what we now see on Manus and Nauru.
In the Senate the Greens sided with Tony Abbott against the arrangement with Malaysia, which, whilst not ideal, would have been a useful first step in curbing boat arrivals. That arrangement with Malaysia was negotiated with the understanding and broad support of UNHCR. Not only did the Greens side with Tony Abbott opposing amendments to the Migration Act to allow the arrangement with Malaysia to proceed, they embarked on an unscrupulous bashing campaign of Malaysia.
With the collapse of the Malaysian arrangement boat arrivals in Australia increased dramatically. The result was Manus and Nauru. The Greens cannot be absolved for their populism and the consequences we now see on Manus and Nauru.
The Greens must also accept major responsibility for the collapse in public support for effective action on climate change. In collaboration with the Coalition in the Senate they opposed the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme of the first Rudd Government. If the Greens had supported the Rudd Government’s CPRS in the Senate, the issue of climate change would not have been fully ‘done and dusted’ but we would be in a far better position on climate change than we are today. As a result of the Greens joining with Tony Abbott in the Senate we have no Emissions Trading Scheme, no carbon tax and a fig leaf of a policy called ‘Direct Action’.
The Greens have inflicted disastrous damage to Australia on both climate change and asylum seekers. Their sabotage on both has set back real reform and decent policies.