The role of the Greens

Richard Barnes, Canterbury, Victoria, May 24, 2024

In their excellent podcast, Allan Patience and Joe Camilleri paint a bleak picture of the state of Australian politics. Rightly, they bemoan the inability of the second-rate politicians within the two major parties to address the ravages of forty years of neoliberalism, and respond to the challenges of climate catastrophe and social inequality. Rightly, they recognise that the machinery of government is controlled by powerful corporate and security interests.

Yet they mention the Greens and Independents only cursorily, to dismiss their possible roles and never return to them. I cannot understand this. Patience and Camilleri want people with “ideas, knowledge and courage” (and presumably independence) to face the challenges ahead. They want means by which the enthusiasm of youthful protesters can be channelled into an ongoing project. They want politicians who reflect Australia’s ethnic mix. Surely the Greens offer all this.

Our system of representative democracy has many limitations, but it is what we have. So surely we should aim for a parliament which genuinely makes decisions in the interest of the Australian people. To my mind, that means the election of enough Greens and progressive independents to cause the formation of a minority Labor government in 2025.

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