JOHN MENADUE. The Greens– good policies and poor politics.

The Greens have correctly directed criticism at the cruel policies of the ALP and the Coalition on refugees in Manus and Nauru. They are also rightly critical of the major parties on climate change.But on  both issues the Greens have not been very helpful .

The Greens must bear  responsibility for what we now see on Manus and Nauru and a decade of wasted opportunities in combatting climate change

In the Parliament in September 2011 the Greens sided with Tony Abbott against the  Malaysian Arrangement, 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.  In September 2011 319 asylum seekers arrived by boat.By September 2012 the number had increased to 2062. The Greens cannot be absolved for their populism and the consequences we now see on Manus and Nauru.

The Greens must also accept  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, in 2008, 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. The Greens said that the CPRS was not good enough. So we got nothing at all and 11 wasted years.

As a result of the Greens joining with Tony Abbott  we have continuing confusion, no emissions trading scheme, no carbon tax and expensive and unreliable electricity supply.

The Greens have inflicted  damage to Australia on both climate change and asylum seekers. Their actions on both has set back real reform and decent policies.

As Gough Whitlam often said ‘only the impotent are pure’

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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