Greens and a blog

A weekend of watching the AFL Grand Final on the TV (a sad result in my view, but still an amazing effort from the Lions over 4 years), preparing for and then doing Meet The Press on Sunday morning. I was followed by Andrea Mason from Family First party. The exaggerated claims about Family First being an extreme right wing party were left unsubstantiated, but I guess that won’t stop them being repeated.

Finally had a look at the Green Party’s blog today – I saw a release a couple of weeks back describing it as another ‘election first’. It is a good idea, I wish I’d thought of it first. I noted that their first posting of any substance was an attack on me coupled with repetition of the line of Family First being “far right” and “kooky right-wing nut jobs”.

Sadly, I didn’t find it surprising. Although it was refreshing to see that the person posting this piece of brave election commentary had such courage of their convictions that they ensured their identity was clear, submitting their piece under the easily identifiable name of “Administrator.”

Taking Howard’s silly exaggerated description of the Greens as ‘kooky’ and using it to make a silly exaggerated attack on another party seemed to show a nicely distorted sense of irony, too. Although for some strange reason, the details weren’t there about the Greens preferencing the NonCustodial Parents party, with their policies of abolishing child support and the family court, ahead of the Democrats. Must have been a technical glitch.

I’d sort of hoped that an election blog might be a chance for a bit more openness, rather than an excuse to be even more crassly biased and dishonest than with ‘straight’ commentary.

Anyway, for more insights into the Greens contribution to bringing more reason into political debate, go to

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  1. Fantastic to see that you have a blog! My estimation of you just went up several points. While I don’t fully understand the reasons, it looks like the Democrats have been increasingly pursuing causes that are alienating them from voters, but you just stepped up to the plate for truth in government with this blog.
    The infighting between the Greens and the Democrats is a sad result of both parties trying to capture the same swinging voters. I can understand that a lot of emnity exists, but the goal of achieving grater representation for alternative candidates should come first.
    I think the Greens are coming out mroe strongly than the Democrats because of their “stand for what I believe in” stance, rather than what is being increasingly percieved as weak political will on the part of the Democrats.
    Anyway, I’m really glad to see this blog.
    My blog is at

  2. It’s hard to argue against a perception, because to some extent it valid by defintion, regardless of what I believe the facts are. I also don’t really want this blog to just be filled with political claim and counter-claim. There’s general politics chat lists for that stuff.
    However, by way of a brief response, one of the things I believe in is the need to avoid fundamentalism. There can be a fine line between ‘standing unflinchingly firm for what you believe in’ and ‘stubbornly sticking unbendingly to an article of faith, regardless of the facts or other people’s views’. Sometimes being willing to compromise whilst ensuring you stay true to your principles can require much greater strength and certainty of belief than just sticking mindlessly to a mantra.
    So a bit of flexibility can be a very good thing – except where it comes to purple, where I will brook no dissent.

  3. Hi Andrew, long time no chat. Perhaps thats a good thing … ;-)
    Anyway, I’d hoped the party would have picked up its act by now (its been a year since my membership ran out) but alas, the Family First preference deal just puts another nail in the coffin.
    You haven’t done your homework on Family First. I most certainly have.
    They may not be as extreme as the CDP, but they are bad news.
    Shame on the Democrats.

  4. Thanks for the comments Alistair. I don’t mind longer postings. This is my own site, so it doesn’t have to go through the party. However, i suspect I’d have trouble keeping across a heap of longer posts, but that doesn’t mean other people might not find them of use.

  5. yeah i understand,
    its just i would like to post directly things like i posted on my own site and linked here,
    i’ll give you a blog on my server ( as well as if yoi want.
    I was just wondering, what is Bob Brown like in subjects not relating to the environment. Is he a good debater? The subject just came to mind when I saw you slaughter him on Lateline the other night over donations. He just seemed nervy and insecure when the subject moved off being green. Whats his view on the economy, does he believe that it is important? From what i’ve seen of him in public he seems pretty incompetent, i’m just curious what he is like in person/in parliament?

  6. Andrew,
    Why have the Democrats put the Greens after Fred Nile himself in NSW?
    Considering he has a chance of winning the seat isn’t this a bit much?
    As far as the Non-Custodial Parent’s Party, I don’t know much about them except they ran under the banner of No-GST party at the last election. I’d much rather believe that they were hoodwinked into rpeferencing them than you openly preferencing Fred Nile.

  7. Andrew Mason and Family First are extreme? unsubstantiated? read the Australian today.
    They will go out of their way to preference against openly gay or supporters of Gay Marriage Warren Entsch.
    For a politician you are being way too naive mate.
    These people are the religious right. And you have made them powerful by giving them a chance in the Senate.
    Malcolm Makerras reckons they will win a seat in SA thanks to your preferences. I and a lot of my friends are appalled. How could you call yourselves progressive after this?

  8. Click for my point of view
    Damian, i’d like you to read what I have posted earlier, My impression of FF is its another Don Chipp style party. Although their ideologies on issues on Gay Marriage are different they still share the same base, the fundemental ideology of Keeping the Bastards Honest.
    “How could you call yourselves progressive after this?”
    This is that statement a disturbs me. The Dems share a fundemental ideology and with careful planning FF and the Dems can put differences in policy aside and look at ideologies. A thing thats lacking in Australian Politics. They can still be progressive just they have recognised a simple ideology overlap. I see no problem with that.

  9. Damian
    I understand your concern and I am not suggesting this is ideal in every way. What I am saying is that the prospect of the Libs getting half the Senate seats is far worse a prospect. The Lib (and ALP) record on gay marriage has been more destructive than anything FF might do. It’s because I’ve been in politics and Parl for so long that I look at people’s action and impact in Parl more than rhetoric and accusations.
    FF in many ways are similar to Brian Harradine – someone I disagree with a lot on some ‘moral’ issues, but still clearly preferable than giving control of the Senate to a major party. The Libs have done far far more damage on indigenous, refugee, social justice issues than ANY of the cross bench Senators.
    ANyone who gets a preference has a chance of winning a seat – as the near win in NSW of the Abolish Child Support candidate on Green preferences in 2001 shows. A good argument for changing the system, but that’s for later.

  10. Andrew,
    Sadly it is this sort of thinking that dismays people like me.
    You still haven’t addressed why you hsve preferenced Fred Nile in NSW ahead of the Greens. Do you not realise that he is in with a chance of winning?
    I disagree that anyone has a chance of winning. The No GST Party had a minute chance of winning last time. I contacted the Greens and they had already admitted their mistake and issued an apology.
    Why is there non from the Democrats.
    By doing a deal with the devil as a newspaper in Melbourne put it, you have become very much like one of the large parties.
    How can you explain to a gay voter who votes Democrat that their vote might end up with a homophobe or Fred Nile himself.
    Shouldn’t you apologise for validating the religious right? I’m surprised that you say that some Family First policies are good. So what part of anti abortion, anti-gay, anti-decriminalisation, anti-progressive do you think is ok?

  11. First time i’ve heard of an apology about No GST and they came quite close to winning. what’s the reason for preferencing Non Custodial Parents this time? Mind you, i do understand that accidents happen – it can get frenetic and pressured in the last minute rush with lots of people hassling and ringing. for smaller parties, these jobs are done by volunteers in all the different states. it’s happened in the past.
    The point is that the Libs (and on some issues the ALP) have positions worse than FF. I’ve used the Brian Harradine analogy – he wouldn’t please anyone whose sole concern was same sex couples (although again he’s no worse than Libs and some ALP people on that), but it was certainly better having him in a Senate seat than a major party person (in my view anyway)

  12. Andrew
    First, good work having a blog. Your senate preferencing decision has made me so angry, it’s cathartic having this opportunity to share my rage.
    Second, Family First moderate? Well you can claim it, because at this point they’re not prepared to tell us who they are. They even deny their church links – despite the fact that their candidates are appointed by pastors rather than elected by members.
    Spend a little time searching their website and you’ll find in South Australia they’ve put some effort into campaigning against superannuation law reform for same sex couples and even sex education in schools that questions homophobia.
    …continued in second comment

  13. You claim they are independent and yet in every seat they are preferencing the coalition – except in the case of an out lesbian candidate, a defender of same-sex marriage and a mystery 3rd seat where the liberal candidate is rumoured to be gay. Even for religious nuts, its odd that they find confessions of adultery more acceptable than Warren Entsch’s support for same-sex relationships.
    Moderates? These people define themselves by their homophobia. They keep their policies to themselves, but what we know suggests they are far worse than the libs or labour. The websites of the christian groups who support them are even more horific in their homophobic bile.

  14. 3rd comment…to get around the 1000 character rule – start reading below
    Then there’s their central policy idea of a mandatory national internet censorship scheme. Antony Green tips them as a real chance to be elected to the senate in several states (thanks to democrat and micro-party preferences). Wouldn’t it be great to see them do a deal with the government – say the sale of telstra for internet censorship.
    Nice work Andrew. If the democrats have to die, wouldn’t be better to do it with your dignity intact.

  15. Andrew,
    Congratulations on having a blog.
    I am concerned, however, that someone who has been in politics as long as you has the gall to suggest that someone making political comment about you, however sarcastic, is defaming you: “a defamatory attack”, you called it.
    I would expect that you would be aware that in the interests of a free, open, and informed democracy, the High Court decided some ten years ago that members of parliament are not afforded the same defamation protections as private citizens.
    For your reference: Theophanous v Herald & Weekly Times (1994) 182 CLR 104; Stephens v West Australian Newspapers (1994) 182 CLR 211.
    For a man in your position, publicly accusing someone of defamation is a dirty trick indeed.

  16. All the discussion about whether the Family First party is “moderate” misses the point. The positions of the Democrats and Greens have been much more closely aligned than any others (except say the GST) – there was even once talk of a merger.
    So we come back to the question: how can the Democrats believe they have more in common with the homophobes than the Greens? Only by the sacrifice of their residual integrity…

  17. Selective criticism tends to diminsh the force of an argument. If you wish to outline how the Greens policies are more closely aligned with the Non-Custodial Parents party and the Socialist Alliance than they are with the Democrats then we might at least be arguing on common ground.
    As for the comment about ‘defamatory’, I was expressing my feeling, not pronouncing a legally binding judgement – clearly a very dirty trick. Although I must say even at the time of that Judgement (before I was in the Senate) I wondered how it’s more justifiable to slander politicians than any other person. I’m not sure how it makes a democracy more open to be able to more readily slander one group of peple over another, but that’s the law (or the Constitution).

  18. Andrew,
    I’m a little slow on politics, but today i heard you were preferencing Family first. A vote for teh Democrats is a vote for family first.
    Wellas a long time Democrat voter, I am moving my vote to the Greens. It’s a pity because i believe John Cherry is a hard worker.
    Maybe after this campaign when you loose many seats the party will see where it lost it’s way with voters. Rebuilding value based politics and connecting with real peoples needs. Deals with FF just turn people away. My network of friends have convinced me to not vote for you.
    I apologise for this as i believed teh Dems were necessary in the Senate, but you have lost your way.

  19. Julie
    You have been misinformed, which is not surprising as there is a lot of misinforming going on. A vote for the Democrats is not a vote for Family First. You may as well say a vote for the Greens (in Qld) is a vote for HEMP, or for the Socialist Alliance or for the Non Custodial Parents Party (or for the Democrats for that matter). It just isn’t accurate.
    It is unfortunate you are going to not vote for a party, even though you believe they are necessary, purely on the basis of false or misleading information.
    Probably the key value in what I see as value based politics is that of truth, honesty and reason. It has been sadly absent from a lot of this campaign and unless that is there as a foundation, a lot of the other values become pretty tenuous.

  20. Andrew,
    Unfortunately you seem to be the one doing the misinforming.
    The Dmeocrats vote will be lower than the Greens in the Senate. Any one can see that.
    Now if the Democrats get 5% and Labor excess is 3%, Family First is in with a chance of winning. Because Family First gets preferences from most of the smaller parties, they will ride over the Democrats and collect those preferences.
    This is why the Gay and Lesbian Lobby groups are urging Democrats voters to vote below the line in the Senate.
    I can’t believe you as a Senator cannot understand this.
    I and my mates are disgusted that you are still defending Family First. Just today a FF member made anti Lesbian comments. These are the Religious Right, I just don’t know how you can claim they are not.

  21. The dishonesty is to attack the Democrats on preferences while ignoring the fact that the Greens have done very similar things. It is ridiculous to suggest that because the Greens may poll higher than the Democrats it is OK for the Greens to preference right wing groups or do deals with Labor which allow Labor to do the same.
    Given the unpredictability of the Senate vote and of every other party’s preferences, it is impossible to be sure what will happen.
    There are plenty of different rationales which can be used for deciding preferences. The Democrats’ has been to minimise the chances of the major parties (and esp the Libs) getting extra seats. The Greens have chosen a different approach. They can choose what they wish; the reason I am critical is because they are smearing everybody else whilst doing the same themselves

  22. There’s also been plenty of over the top statements of a fundamentalist and often hateful nature made during this campaign by many candidates and parties. I think all of them are unhelpful and divisive. This certainly hasn’t been exclusive to one side or just to the religiously inclined.

  23. really Andrew?
    How many more parties have talked of burning Lesbians?
    You still haven’t referred to why you have preferences Fred Nile before the Greens.
    I’d like an answer.

  24. If you’re seriously trying suggest that that comment is a position advocated that party then there’s not really much point having a debate. And who was it that posed the question in the first place? Two groups chucking verbal firebombs at each other hardly puts either side in a very good light as far as I’m concerned, but you can’t preference everybody last and most parties would be a better option than enabling greater major control of the Senate

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