House debates

Thursday, 21 February 2019


Australian Greens

4:40 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Tourism) Share this | | Hansard source

Tonight I want to take the opportunity to put on the record what the Greens party say about themselves. For many years, those of us on the progressive side of Australian politics have known about the toxic divisions within the Greens political party. Many of these divisions surround the civil war within the New South Wales Greens. This has pitted activists, focused on the environment, against the more radical fringe, which sees the party's role as destroying capitalism. This faction describes itself as the 'watermelons', and they sneeringly refer to their more moderate colleagues as 'tree Tories'.

The New South Wales Greens, state and federal, are more focused on themselves than they are on removing right-wing Liberal governments. As I've said many times, former Leader of the Australian Greens, Bob Brown, was a man of integrity. I had differences with him, but he left parliament with just about everybody's respect. That high regard, of course, has never been shared by the New South Wales Greens, who have undertaken an ongoing war against Bob Brown and against all moderates and environmentalists within their own party.

An ever-increasing number of Greens party members are blowing the whistle on their own party. These are some of the things that they've said—firstly, Bob Brown himself, after the last federal election:

I've been approached in the streets in Sydney by people saying, 'I'm a Green but I'm not going to vote for the candidates you've put up here in Sydney.

New South Wales MP, Cate Faehrmann, a former chief of staff to Senator Di Natale, said:

It is my firm belief that the party in NSW has been infiltrated by destructive extreme left forces who will stop at nothing …

In an open letter, she went on to say:

Honesty, integrity, due process and natural justice - these are fundamental values that any voter should expect in a political party … Currently the NSW Greens cannot claim to be meeting these most basic tests.

Of course, it was reported recently that there were detailed discussions involving Mr Brown, Ms Faehrmann and fellow New South Wales MP, Justin Field, about forming a split-away party. And, announcing his split from the Greens party in December, Jeremy Buckingham said:

… the fact is that the New South Wales Greens as an organisation is corrupt and rotten.

Later, he went on to say: 'In New South Wales, what we actually have is a clandestine, organised program by socialist organisations to take over the NSW Greens. It's been successful, and to move our policy platform to one of pure socialism, pure Marxism.'

When he was asked by Hamish Macdonald what he would say to people who were considering voting for the Greens party at the upcoming federal election, he said this: 'I would say to them, especially in NSW, to take a good hard look … the Greens organisation in NSW has departed from the project that Bob Brown started all those years ago.' And, of course, he has recently criticised his replacement on the New South Wales Greens upper house ticket—Allen & Overy corporate lawyer, Abigail Boyd, who, ironically, has worked in the interests of a number of companies at odds with the Greens party platform. He said:

The Greens have lost their focus on the climate and environment. They've been hijacked by phonies who see it as a path to power if they just mouth the correct ideology, regardless of how hypocritical it may be. It's pathetic and sad to see the Greens running a candidate whose company was working for Adani, Santos, Origin and Gina Rinehart.

It's an extraordinary proposition.'

Long-term staffer of Cate Faehrmann, James Gough, said:

While the global Green movement represents me and my political philosophy, the NSW Greens no longer do.

And, to be fair, the triumphant Left renewal faction, aligned with Lee Rhiannon, doesn't shy away from its objectives. This is what it says that people who join up with Lee Rhiannon have to sign up to:

4. That a rejection of class antagonism, and capitalism, also depends on a rejection of the state’s legitimacy and the right of it, and its apparatuses, to impose oppression upon the working class and oppressed people in order to liberate the working class and all oppressed people. We further rejected state mediated oppression in all of its forms, and recognise that violent apparatuses like the police do not share an interest with the working class.

At the last election, Jim Casey, my opponent, said this:

I would prefer to see Tony Abbott returned as prime minister with a Labor movement that is growing, with an anti-war movement that was disrupting things in the streets …

He went on to say:

I'd prefer to see Abbott as the prime minister in that environment than Bill Shorten as prime minister without it.

The fact is that they have preselected him again to run for Grayndler. He went so well last time that they've backed him and have selected him again! The New South Wales Greens are out of touch with mainstream environmentalists.

Photo of Kevin HoganKevin Hogan (Page, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for that very informative contribution.