The Labor-Greens agreement – is Bob Brown serious?
The Greens have completely capitulated to the Labor Party.
According to Emma Rodgers, in her ABC News website article Greens, Labor seal deal, the concessions secured by the Greens include:
- the formation of a climate change committee
- a parliamentary debate on Afghanistan
- a referendum on recognising Indigenous Australians
- restrictions on political donations
- legislation on truth in political advertising
- the establishment of a Parliamentary Budget Committee
- a parliamentary integrity commissioner
- improved processes for release of documents in Parliament
- a leaders debates Commission
- a move towards full three-year parliamentary terms
- two-and-a-half hours of allocated debate for private members’ bills
- access for Greens to various Treasury documents
Is that all? Here is a party which holds the balance of power in the Senate and could be instrumental in who forms Government, and they demand future negotiations, and ignore the big questions.
Where is the action on climate change? Their much vaunted price on carbon? What about the humane treatment of refugees? Same-sex marriage? Denticare now? Nothing. Zilch. Zip . Except to have talks about talks in never never land. So for example there will be $20 million set aside for a study into high speed light rail. Wow. That’s progress!
Here are some of the demands I suggested in my article Greens: make the parliament unworkable that the Greens could make from their position of power.
The immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
A super profits tax on the miners to fund denticare, public health, education and transport.
A massive tax on the polluters, with the green cheque to be used to lift the poor out of poverty.
A massive program of green jobs and green retraining as needed.
An immediate price freeze on electricity costs.
An end to demonising boat people both in words and actions and their processing onshore and release into the community.
A viable same-sex marriage regime.
The abolition of the anti-worker Fair Work Act and the Australian Building and Construction Commission and the empowerment of unions in the workplace and of their struggles to win better wages and conditions and protect and create jobs.
An end to the racist Northern Territory intervention, recognition of prior aboriginal sovereignty and the signing of a treaty, coupled with more spending under the control of communities to address aboriginal disadvantage.
An immediate increase in pensions and other social security payments by $100 a week.
An immediate increase in the minimum wage of $100 a week.
A massive program of Government solar and wind farms and other renewable energy programs to generate enough energy to turn off the coal fired power stations by 2020.
Huge tax increases and new taxes on the rich to pay for these socially necessary spending programs.
Rigorous price controls over big business.
The surrender means the Greens didn’t even get halfway decent commitments. They have betrayed their millions of voters.
They have abandoned their reforming project in the interests of bourgeois stability and good government. This is code for letting Labor continue its neoliberal agenda.
Here is what the agreement means if we let the Greens get away with this complete sellout.
In 3 years time there will still be nothing done on climate change, the dead in Afghanistan will have doubled, denticare won’t be ‘affordable’, people who love each other won’t be able to marry if they are gays or lesbians, our aboriginal brothers and sisters will be dying 20 years earlier than the rest of us, refugees will be locked up in concentration camps and the miners and big polluters will be laughing all the way to the bank.
Unlike Judas the Greens didn’t even get their 30 pieces of silver. They got a worthless piece of paper.
The Labor-Green agreement shows that the need for a real fighting alternative to Labor and the Greens is greater than ever.
Let’s build a socialist alternative to eventually lead the fight for real action on climate change, for refugees, for same-sex marriage, for getting the troops out of Afghanistan, taxing the rich and improving the lives of the poor and working class.
That is a fight that to be successful must be waged in our workplaces and on the streets, not in the talks fests of Parliament.