Friday, December 16, 2011

Australian Greens 2011 celebration

2011 was a good year for the Australian Greens, the oldest green political party in the world. Here is their list of 11 achievements for the year.

Naturally in South Africa some priorities would be different, but Australia in many ways is a similar country to South Africa, with strong coal and nuclear lobbies, water-poor ecologically sensitive sites threatened by mining and a disadvantaged indigenous population. Just as with South Africa, the dominant economic theory is neo-liberalism, and the union-aligned Labor party is increasingly abandoning their base.

The Greens in Australia have moved beyond protest and started to appeal to a wider demographic because they have stuck to their principles, when other parties have increasingly gone the route of opportunistic vote-seeking, and selling their policies to the highest bidder. A stark example of this is how the previous Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd tried to introduce a minerals resource rent tax, a fairer basis for retaining a share of the profits from mining for the public sector than the previous system, a fixed royalty per tonne. The mining industry rebelled, and funded an expensive advertising campaign that destroyed his numbers in the opinion polls. Labor panicked, and ditched him for Julia Gillard, the current prime minister, who pushed the tax proposal through but at a much lower rate, after narrowly failing to lose the subsequent election.

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