Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Bob Brown’s retirement – what next? Discuss

Large amounts have already been written about the surpise decision by Bob Brown to retire from the Senate and as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens.

I did a fair bit of media commentary on Bob Brown’s announcement, so to get some idea of my views on the immediate context, you can read this piece from the Brisbane Times, listen to this interview with Kelly Higgins-Devine on 612 ABC Brisbane, or watch this interview with Ashleigh Gillon on Sky News Australia.

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I might write a longer piece about it myself sometime, but at present I’m just too busy with campaigns for the South Brisbane by-election and the Brisbane City Council, both of which are happening on Saturday 28 April.  But I’d be interested in any considered comments which you might want to make on what you think of this development and what you think might happen as a result. You can read this article by former Democrats’ Leader Natasha Stott Despoja to get you started.

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42 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. So Basil Fawlty is heading back to the Catering Corps but fear not he has already poisoned us. Those who lie down with Czechoslovakian Invasion deniers are as certain to get fleas as those who deny the hollocaust.

    THe day of the water-melon green is upon us.

    Andrew Jackson

  2. Lorikeet

    I think Christine Milne will fairly quickly be trounced by Adam Bandt as Leader (since he sits in the lower house), with Bob Brown’s favourite, Sarah Hanson-Young as Deputy Leader. Or perhaps it might be the other way around.

    Such a move would reel in even more of the younger voters who have been heavily indoctrinated with the new Carbon Religion in our schools.

    Some people think Senator Larissa Waters will eventually become leader, due to the fact she is both a good speaker and an environmental lawyer.

  3. Andrew J, thanks for your demonstration of just how juvenile the thought processes of DLP boosters are. I’ve never heard of anyone denying the Czechoslovakian Invasion, but if you’re looking for holocaust deniers you’re far more likely to find them in the vicinity of the particular extreme of the political spectrum that you hang out in.

  4. NannaK

    I have a great deal of respect for Bob Brown’s conservation efforts in Tasmania. He certainly achieved a lot and the country should thank him for that. He left no doubt he was in politics because he strongly believed in the Greens’ policies.

    I doubt that Christine Milne will be anywhere near as successful as Bob Brown. She lacks charisma and comes across as too narrow-minded and dogmatic. I suspect the Greens’ vote will gradually decline from now on. I think the Greens’ great moment in history will be seen as the 2010 Federal election.

  5. Lorikeet

    To my knowledge, Andrew Jackson no longer belongs to the DLP, and no one has ever mentioned anything to me about the Czechoslovakian Invasion.

    I disagree with Nannak on whether or not the Greens’ vote will gradually decline from now on, as this will very greatly depend on the behaviour of both major and minor parties towards workers, farmers, manufacturers and the general community.

    Employer groups seem to be pushing for:

    1. 12% superannuation to be deducted from workers’ wages
    2. abolition of penalty rates
    3. even more full-time jobs to be replaced by casual work
    4. an expansion of the Slave Labour Trade using migrants, instead of engaging in wage equality.

    If Labor kicks its voter base by acceding to Corporate Greed, their goose will not only be cooked, but very well incinerated.

    Every week, more and more people are ending up on the streets and depending on Foodbanks and community generosity for sustenance. Although food cages were removed from shopping centres at the end of January after a 3 month stint around Xmas, some have had to be put back there again after an absence of only a few short weeks.

    The next federal election seems to be on track for a landslide to the Coalition, especially if we use the outcome of Queensland elections as a guide. But here’s the rub. A lot of voters were protesting against the Carbon Tax which is only supported by about 30% of the population.

    If Liberals and minor party politicians don’t look after the poor and the average, I think the vote could shift to the Greens, but only if they develop a moderate environmental policy which doesn’t include a tax on air.

    (BTW the beard should stay.)

  6. David H.

    mmm, call me an old cynic if you must – and while the manta ‘the person is not the party’ may be fundamentally valid. From an outside observer Christine Milne does not have that indefinable concept called “gravitas”.

    neither, if am honest, does Julia Gillard.

    However, if i may try to invent (or re-state) and old story told to me by a bloke that i respected. “Am a duck. May look like am sitting still on a calm pond. Peek below the surface, my feet are paddling against the current”.

    To me, it was an astonishing breakthough in Australian politics. Not only do we have a ‘female’ as Prime Minister – but ‘unmarried’, atheist etc.

    It’s a beginning … not everyone can carry it through, and sustain it. We are, basically a “blokey” nation.

    The weight of history is against her. I wish her well.

  7. Andrew Jackson

    Andrew
    I am no longer a member of the DLP and am now a member of Katter’s Australian Party. My reasons for resigning were due to DLP administrative failures not ideology. Bob Katter Snr was of course a candidate for the QLP before joining National Party. There is virtually no ideological difference between the DLP & the QLP or for that matter the ALP prior to 1957. LIke You the current Member for Kennedy probably handed out DLP how to vote cards. No one suggests today tyhat your views are DLP views.

    I resigned from DLP because in part the DLP endorsed a candidate who I did not think suitable for Parliament. This candidate subsequently withdrew the nomination. Why did you not resign when Green’s endorsed Lee Rhiannon?

    As for holocaust deniers being in the DLP. This is false. Please Name one. You know I can name Green supporters of the Czechoslovakian Invasion.

    I accept that there are holocaust deniers in the League of Rights and Citizens Electoral Council but I condemn these views un-reservedly. To my knowledge there is no member of LOR or CEC in DLP. These organisations are just as subversive as Communist, SPA Members and Trotskyites.

    Andrew Jackson
    apjackson@hotkey.net.au

  8. Russell in Glendale

    Andrew,

    I believe the Greens have good future ahead. This is due to the large grass roots organisation (boots on the ground). I note that here in Newcastle, the greens have hundreds of members and are now staffing voting booths throughout the hunter. (And this is not the inner city latte set as is commonly reported!) There are also local government representation throughout the nation, plus where proportional representation exists such as upper houses a voice. I believe also that smaller parties have learned from past upsets. The Australian democrats a case in point. As I recall, resonable and progressive amendments and policies were put forward by the democrats. The greens are also a way for the labour left to get a real say instead of steamrolled with, ‘what ever it takes’ attitudes. However, I am realistic in that the current outlook for the progressive is fairly negative. Given the outcomes of the recent state elections, I would expect that the green vote may remain where it is or decrease slightly. Longer term, the future for the Greens and smaller parties are very good (due to strategic opportunities) but that is another story for another time.

  9. Liz

    I think you’re right Russell, that the Greens will continue to gradually make headway against and in our 2 party system, even if the next few years are tough. I’m not a member but I’d be pretty sure Greens members are passionate about the party and what it believes in, not the leader, and will work just as effectively with Senator Milne as Leader (although personally I like Bob Brown a lot – I note one of the things he’ll be doing is helping the green party get established in Rwanda, and other parts of the not-so-safe world – I hope he will be safe).
    Andrew, I’d be interested to know what Greens think about the issue of members electing the Leader. And why Adam Bandt as DL? Surely not just because he’s in the lower house?

  10. Ken

    The greens are in a bind, the strenght of their branding lies in the “green style” of their traditioanl support base of about 10%. – give or take the more recent ALP leakage and flow in

    The weakness of their brand is the very percpetion of the larger amounts of people they really need to become a viable party who can’t get on baord wiht the notion of greenie type extremism – whether true or not is irrelevant, “perceptions the thing that will kill the king” – (apologies to Shakespere).

    A difficult bind for them, any brand chnage to reach out will pee off big time the dreadlock brigade, and not reaching out, particualry without Brown’s gravitas and persoanl integrity, (I’m already feeling lectured listenig to Milne on 7:30 on Monday), is also problematic.

    Good luck moving ahead.

  11. red crab

    bob brown stepped down because he could see the writing on the wall after the Queensland elections .
    the carbon tax and mining taxes are coming.
    its no perception that it was a green agenda to which the prime minister folded to
    so,s to grasp power.
    this is a fact and will not be forgotten in the next election .
    the prime minister will turn on the greens in the election campaign because she knows there is no hope and its partly because she folded to
    the will of bob brown .
    the greens and independents as did the democrats will carry the blame for the new taxes
    history repeats .

    sorry Andrew but that’s just the way i see it .

    now the govt is trying to milk w.a. even more through the gst return the w.a. govt has threat end to slow down minning and leave it in the ground .

    just how stupid and greedy can this govt get.

    talk about killing the goose.

  12. Daniel

    Andrew,

    Brown has ben an inspiration and a tireless Grassroots campaigner on so many issues. He will be sorely missed butthe Greens will go on. The extreme hate media are trying to talk up a Democrats type demise but it will never happen.

  13. gzg

    @Daniel:

    What tripe! “Extreme hate media” indeed!

    Make a case with reference to speculation on the future of the Greens by pointing to a MSM example of an “extreme” and “hateful” position.

  14. Andrew J, I didn’t say that there were necessarily holocaust deniers in the DLP. I said it was present amongst your fellow travelers on the far right. As for Lee Rhiannon, (a) Lee Rhiannon already has a 10 year record as Parliamentarian in the NSW Upper House – I’m not aware of anything from that record which would give me any reason to believe anything other than she is an effective and consistent advocate for human rights, the environment, social justice and equity, and (b) I am not going to have my blog used as a vehicle for verballing and endlessly repeating false allegations – there is no evidence at all of her supporting Soviet tanks in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s

    I accept that there are holocaust deniers in the League of Rights and Citizens Electoral Council but I condemn these views un-reservedly. To my knowledge there is no member of LOR or CEC in DLP. These organisations are just as subversive as Communist, SPA Members and Trotskyites.

    Liz – I haven’t heard a significant number of people in the Greens speak supportively of having all members electing the Leader – I still think it’s a good idea though. As for Adam Bandt being Deputy Leader, I don’t know the precise reasoning of those who backed him for the role, but he does already have a higher profile than most other federal Green MPs and it doesn’t hurt to share the leadership positions across the two Houses of Parliament.

  15. NannaK

    I must say I am becoming very concerned about the apparent drift away from responsible environmental management by the LNP/Coalition – both Qld State and Federally.

    I certainly get the impression that the LNP/Coalition are wanting to ‘rape and pillage’ our environment, through wanting to give the States biodiversity powers currently residing with the Commonwealth government, and by supporting lethal methods of wildlife control (flying foxes, etc), plus other issues. I suspect our national parks will be under attack as well!

    This is a topic I think should concern the Greens. Strong action in this area might even get me to vote for the Greens. Forget the ridiculous Carbon Tax – of no benefit and supported by very few people these days.

  16. Lorikeet

    Flying foxes, possums and scrub turkeys all need to be selectively culled.

    Residents need to stop leaving food out to help wildlife proliferate unnaturally, as this also adds to the burgeoning rat population we have experienced here in Brisbane since the flood disaster.

    If you have a few bucks to spare, please spend them on food to be distributed to impoverished humans by Foodbanks.

    Please write to Premier Campbell Newman and ask him for a moratorium on Coal Seam Gas, if you don’t want anyone “fracking” with our Food Security.

    The UK government has recently decided to return to fracking about on agricultural land after only a brief moratorium.

  17. Lorikeet

    Daniel:

    Never say “never”. Almost anything is possible in the political arena.

    With any luck, the ALP will soon be as dead as a dodo. Here in Queensland, its power base is so small that the state government is having difficulty forming decent sized committees.

  18. The Feral Abacus

    “With any luck, the ALP will soon be as dead as a dodo. Here in Queensland, its power base is so small that the state government is having difficulty forming decent sized committees.”

    Lorikeet, the ALP is not in government in Qld.

  19. Lorikeet

    Feral:

    I didn’t say the ALP was in government in Queensland. I said the ALP’s power base in Queensland was small.

    Government committees include people from both the opposition and minor parties. Campbell Newman had to make one committee smaller because the ALP didn’t have the numbers to provide the required balance.

  20. The Feral Abacus

    Thanks Lorikeet, now I see what you are getting at – that first post of yours was opaque, to say the least.

    Mind you, I think you are redefining ‘power base’, a term more often used to describe on-the-ground support, as opposed to number of seats in parliament.

  21. NannaK

    Lorikeet

    I understand your point about the difficulty in forming committees when the ALP numbers are so very low in the Queensland Parliament.

    However, there was also a time when the numbers of (then) Liberal and National Party MPs was also very low – although the combined total would have been more than the ALP numbers today. And, thanks to Laurence Springborg’s determination to form the LNP, the number of LNP MPs has returned to record numbers.

    So, mainstream, primarily middle-of-the-road, political Parties usually recover their numbers in time. The ALP is the oldest, and probably toughest, Party. I doubt it will die like the Democrats did.

    But I believe its recovery could be aided by the recruitment of more candidates who have had a ‘real job’ as opposed to having been union and Party officials. I think their dominance in the ranks of the ALP, both federally and in the states, is a real ‘turn off’ to many voters and leads to poor policy making.

    The next Queensland State election will no doubt see many LNP MPs lose their seats as some ‘balance’ returns to the Parliament. But it is hard to see the ALP back in power for some time yet.

    The Bligh government had to go! But my biggest concern about the current LNP government is their apparent disregard of any environmental outcomes, particularly in the conservation area.

  22. Lorikeet

    Yes, Nannak, I would agree with most of your comments regarding major political parties regaining some of their power base over time.

    I think it is normal for Labor to have some union officials in the parliament. The main problem is that they are deserting their voter base and acceding to the workplace demands of big business. In very recent times, employer groups have been pushing for the crucifixion of wages, working conditions, full-time work, and asking for 12% superannuation to be deducted from workers’ wages.

    Labor finished up with only 6 seats in the Queensland state parliament which wouldn’t worry me if the LNP didn’t hold so many. I was also disappointed that 5 out of 7 independents also lost their seats, probably as a result of widespread hatred of Oakeshott and Windsor.

    I also don’t much like the look or sound of Labor’s new Queensland leader.

    According to a TV commentator, Labor now seems increasingly likely to lose Anna Bligh’s seat of South Brisbane. I hope someone other than the LNP wins it.

    I am also very concerned about proposed welfare cuts foreshadowed by Wayne Swan for the May budget at the federal level, with Joe Hockey also opining that payments need to fall into line with those available in Asian nations. This morning I heard a Coalition figure of $90 billion in welfare cuts being floated.

    One could be forgiven for thinking that Labor/Liberals are working together to push through some harsh welfare reforms. Gillard and Swan have certainly been given plenty of scope to criticise the Coalition’s worse suggestions to ramp up support for their own.

    Welfare cuts are not my idea of good Labor policy, particularly at a time when there is a shortage of public housing, small businesses are going to the wall, and more and more people are relying on Foodbanks for sustenance.

  23. TerjeP

    I think exterminating the Greens is rapidly becoming an imperative for the ALP. Although they have been active behind the scenes to some extent in this regard previously it was much more measured. I expect the ALP to disown the carbon tax at some point (possibly after losing the next election) and they will pin it all on the Greens. This combined with their own internal challenges will see the Greens decline. It should be a colourful process.

  24. NannaK

    Lorikeet

    Your comments re the loss of so many seats by the Independents is an interesting observation.

    I am not familiar with the work done for their electorates by many of the Independents. So consideration of their own performance on behalf of their electorates could be a factor in the demise of these Independents.

    However, I do agree that the performance of the Federal Independents Windsor and Oakeshott would have gone a long way towards turning voters off ALL Independents. Maybe people are starting to see that they really need to fully consider the possible outcome of their votes, and maybe even vote for the better of two evils (ALP/LNP) – rather than throwing away their votes in mindless ‘protest votes’.

  25. red crab

    if the high court challenge to the mining tax by the w.a. mining group is successful . the govt will blame the whole mess on to the greens . in an effort to save as many seats as they possibly can.
    this will happen well before the next election .

  26. Lorikeet

    At the Queensland state election, the loss of “cliff hanger” Labor held seats in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan is indicative of Labor falling on its sword very heavily.

    The seats of Woodridge, Inala and Bundamba are home to some of the poorest communities in Queensland. This is a sad and very telling indictment on Labor’s response to community needs.

    As to the meaning of the term Power Base, if the level of community support is low, how many MPs is a party likely to have elected? The answer lies in the number of seats won. This seems crystal clear to me.

    I haven’t supported voting for either of the major parties since around 1974. I believe we need a more diverse group of people in the parliament to regain a democratic process. As we know, those who don’t tow/toe the party line are unlikely to be re-endorsed at the next election.

    I have posted a couple of comments at the following link on the ongoing Slipper/Thomson issues and the ongoing quest to bring down the government:

    http://enpassant.com.au/2012/04/22/slip-sliding-away-a-eulogy-for-gillard-labor/

  27. Lorikeet

    Nannak:

    I think the best option could be putting your preferred minor party candidate or independent first, followed by a major party, especially if you are afraid of preferences going somewhere you don’t want.

    If you check out all of the candidates before an election and find out where their preferences are going, you are more likely to get someone who will represent your beliefs into the parliament.

    The major parties are 2 blocks of clones largely working to the same agendas, although they are often fairly good at manipulating voters into believing this not to be so.

    I vote above the line in the Senate for a party or grouping I have carefully researched. In a lower house election, I number all of the boxes in the order of my choosing, after carefully checking where preferences are going.

  28. Seahorse

    After watching Bob Brown on Q&A last Monday night I have decided to become a party member of the Greens. Everything he said resonated with me. What a beautiful person he is. He will be missed on the public stage. The Greens will survive well into the future. It is the only party at present that truly speaks for me and so many other people.

  29. Great chance for Greens to rebrand. We’ve already captured the environment brand. NOW we need to capture the social justice brand. How to do it? DON’T mention the env, unless you really can’t help yourself. And to all those one-eyed greens, this DOES NOT mean less of a commitment to the env. Rather, it’s smart politics.

  30. Lorikeet

    Kevin:

    I think a lot of parties have moderate environmental policies, but do not support a Carbon Tax.

    Carbon Tax and Assets Sales are the 2 primary reasons that Labor has fallen foul of the voting public. The latter (possibly both) has already brought Queensland Labor to its knees and Australian Labor are likely to get a huge caning on the former.

    A moderate environmental policy would encourage a cleaner environment without the negative repercussions and widespread rejection of a Carbon Tax. Voters are also objecting to massive increases in utility costs, driven up by extreme environmental scaremongering.

    I also find Veganism and the constant attacks on our live export industry to be part of an extreme environmental ideology, although I would still support slaughter in Australian abattoirs as a more suitable option.

    The Greens would be wise to also do away with extreme pro-death social policies such as Abortion, Same Sex Marriage, Euthanasia and Legalisation of Illicit Drugs.

    A few changes to social, environmental and economic policy would see the Greens more compatible with both the Democratic Labor Party and Katter’s Australian Party.

    I believe the vote will shift to the Centre of politics as soon as the LNP and Coalition recommence empowering the rich while clobbering the poor and average, as community costs continue to rise.

  31. Lorikeet

    Whoops, some changes need to be made to my comment on 23 April.

    It seems the seats of Woodridge, Inala and Bundamba were among the 6 barely retained by Labor, which makes their electoral drubbing an even sadder indictment than I thought.

  32. ETS

    Bob Brown will be missed by the Greens, no doubt about it but he is leaving with the Greens in good shape. They consistently poll in the 12 percent range and there is no indication this is going to change. We will see about Christine Milne but I think she is up to it. She is still relatively unknown in the community but that will change as the media focus intensifies.

    The Greens have not lost support from their alliance with Labor. Their agreeement with Labor was constructive and they have taken a consistent line in the Parliament. I can’t see how this would work against them.

    I enjoyed Bob Brown’s appearance on QandA last week. Just like to wish him all the best for his post-Parliamentary life. I cant’ imagine he will just sit back and watch the grass grow!

  33. eddie khalil

    funny that B.B. ‘s retirement has made me innerested in foregoing my previous [successful] indifference to the political sphere …nonetheless my not-so-blissful ignorance of these matters cannot stop me[or anyone else] from remarking that , the truth of our observations of this man’s career ,results in an admiration of the politician that came full circle in his field , no matter the flavour of politics or sexuality , a TRUE EXEMPLAR , a definitive aussie parable for our time , a forerunner , in traditional guise , of the very paradigm-flux the rest of them , on all sides , must take note of , as both predictable AND surprise events accumulate in the present continuum : he has negotiated both tightrope AND slack-uuire and a commonsense use of the more upfront methods of
    influencing ALL parties , including inspiring potential novitiates such as myself…de-brief yourself , bobby…and on , on , further …

  34. Seahorse

    Hi ETS,

    I agree with everything you say about Bob Brown.

    Sad to witness endings.

    Robby M

  35. If Bob Brown didn’t want another 6 year term why didn’t he run for the next lower house election? Someone with his public profile and support would have been elected for sure. And if not, he could have just fallen back on the retirement he now has.

    I worry for the Greens party post-Brown. I think they contribute a valuable voice to political discourse but fear extreme voices will now be more pronounced from within the party. I discuss this very possibility on my blog (theblogicalvoice.com) in more detail, but basically Bob was a man to stand behind. No disrespect to Christine Milne, but Brown was able to unify and present the Greens movement in a way that is attractive to the everyday person. The test for the new leadership will be whether they can achieve the same feat.

  36. NannaK

    Hi ETS and Seahorse

    I did think BB’s performance on Q&A was very good – especially as he had the courage to admit he was wrong to push for Tassie using Victoria’s dirty coal-fired power stations (early 80s). But we all live and learn.

    I don’t believe that Christine Milne has anything like the charisma or conservation creds that BB has! Just seems to me like a cranky old school ma’am.

    I think that because of the unpopularity of the Carbon Tax, the Greens will be adversely affected in the next federal election – regardless of who is leading the Party.

    I am very concerned about the potential environmental ‘rape and pillage’ likely to be inflicted upon Qld by the Newman LNP government. Whilst down in NSW recently, I was horrified by the destruction of the millions-of-years-old Thirlmere Lakes – right in a World Heritage area. I fear the same for the remarkable springs and associated flora and fauna of the Wenlock River area of Cape York. Both because of improperly regulated mining activities. Very sad. And these situations cannot ever be reversed or recovered. All so some company can make a quick buck and retreat with their money.

    KK

  37. Lorikeet

    Love him or hate him, Bob Brown has busted his guts in politics over a number of decades and is now 67 years old. Now that a new man has replaced him in the parliament, give the guy a break to enjoy a bit of recreation.

    Lots of people tried to coerce Peter Kavanagh (DLP, Upper House, Victoria) to stand in a by-election not long after he lost his seat. Back then, the message from me was the same, since he was no longer a spring chicken either. Give the guy a break!

  38. paul walter

    I think he has been a truly great representative for the Australian people.
    He has fought quietly and by persuasion through reason to inform Australians on ecology and environment and has effectively offered a needs based global economy rather than one controlled by dullard plutocrats who operate and profit from little better than wasteful consumerism for the lucky and grinding poverty for the rest.
    The global system reminds under lock and key behind the closed doors of merchant banks, in the wake of the global fin melt down- on that Lorikeet will fervently believe at gut level, as I do, I believe- that meaningful moral hazard and proportionate consequence for risk and accountability was avoided.
    They got away with it,,,
    Australians are sometimes surprisingly cautious people and at the cusp of grasping the nettle as per rationality, logic and science backed away in the uncertainty of new times driving them back into their shells, as the Abbott Murdoch noise machine revved up to a more intense level.
    People have fallen for the fear tactics and no longer listen to Gilllard or Labor and forget to consider the cases the Greens make on issues, content that Brown and co might take their toys of them, altho there is little evidence this would happen, given the power of some corporate groupings here in Oz.
    The banks and mining giants have always been close to power, the Greens only realistically hoped to ameliorate the excesses of woodchips and pulp mills in Tassie, say or management of the Murray/Darling based on science as well as profitability.
    The big end have succeeded in levering attention away from these sorts of real issues to personality based stuff involving rubbish about “barren women” and where people’s private lives count for more than their ideas and propositions as to policies that involve and/or impact on the lives of so many other people.
    Bob Brown remains the outstanding political figure of his generation- all the skites of the denialism encouraging greedy lobby groups, can’t wipe out the validity of his insights, verified by science, on so many subjects that involve an enviro factor to be considered in the calculating of a given problem (how to most efficiently generate electrical power, for example).
    Bob Brown, thanks for opening my eyes on so many things and helping me learn to think in ways outside the suspect norms promoted by vested interests. Hope you have a good retirement, but don’t blame you leaving- it’s obvious that the malevolent have the upper hand and miserable austerity politics will be speeded up by an Abbott government.

  39. red crab

    Paul Walter.
    you never cease to amaze me how you are able to put so much sense into so few words .
    there is one thing for certain unlike gillard BB knew when to step away
    his and the greens opitunity to make change has pasted this time
    thing is!
    he seems to be the only one that can see it .

  40. David H.

    Um, regardless of ‘political’ flag-waving – Bob Brown will be sadly missed; on the ‘political’ “stage”. While yes, “politics”, these days -and probably before recorded history, is a “dirty game” … Bob Brown will always stand in memory as an example of sensible integrity – and faith.

  41. Seahorse

    ETS and Nannak,

    I miss you from our old ‘no longer existing’ blog.

    Bob Brown has always displayed guts in a country that suffocates in conservative views about conservation..

    Australian “She’ll be right” attitudes will go against us in the long run.

    Bob Brown was a hero in that respect. He stood up against devastation of our environment. He stood up against all that he believed was wrong. Regardless of how well the Greens do politically in the future, Bob Brown will be remembered as the type of politician that truly served Australia and our people in ethical ways.

    What will happen now that he is gone? Did caring about our environment depend on this one person?

    I don’t think so.

  42. Lorikeet

    Now that Bob Brown has retired, many people believe that the more extreme people from within the Greens will come forward expressing their views.

    Here in Queensland, there have been recent reports that the LNP intends to apply its version of Work Choices to the masses, and also to give constitutional power to councils.

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    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.