Labour and Greens natural enemies?
As we head into the election where the only thing that is clear is A VOTE FOR BUDGIE SMUGGLERS IS NOT GOOD, even as Julia Gillard announces 10 new coalfired power stations, I want to make a point for those other greenies who find themselves frustrated by Labour’s seeming inability to grasp environmental issues.
The problem is that the union movement, which is the backbone of the Labour Party, is by and large and enemy of the environment. If there is a clash between jobs and the environment, the unions will always force Labour’s hand towards jobs.
Whether it be around old growth forests and the second and third generation woodcutters unable to contemplate a different job (just like the hundreds of thousands of other Australians retrenched who have had to reinvent themselves, yet it seems forestry workers are some kind of protected species), or coal and uranium miners who make far more money for far less work than if they lived and worked in the city, labour is always about jobs, regardless of how shortsighted it is.
In the recent UK election there was much shock and horror when the greenish party and the conservatives formed a coalition, yet this was a far more natural fit than a joining of the greens with Labour.
The conservatives in the UK have long been interested in the environment (as well of course in big business which leaves its own scars), but the British countryside with its paths and parks owes more to the conservatives than to any other group, while the labour movement has only ever cared about jobs, regardless of their viability economically or environmentally.
Translated to Australia this would put farmers in bed with the greens. Which, after years of mutual mistrust, is actually taking place with Green philosophy maturing enough to encompass the right, ability and willingness of farmers to caretake the land, and farmers realising that their husbandry has been shortsighted.
However, in Australia, the National [conservative] Party is also in bed with the mining companies who are ultimately anti-farming (as we are seeing in the Hunter Valley as coalmining interests are buying up farmland and turning large swathes of rich farming land into desolate toxic wastelands) which means that the farmers are in conflict with the very political party that is meant to be representing them.
Miners versus democracy
In Australia the mining industry, as we saw when Rudd was deposed over the mining tax, has unrivalled political power over the Labour, Liberal and National parties, which leaves the Greens the only party not beholden to the BHPs for their survival, because they get support from their members.
Which brings me to the crux of the matter. The Greens do not take money from unethical business, and anyone who has ever run a business along those lines realises how hard that is, which means they need support, financial in particular but also in time and energy. Get behind Joe Ebono, drop into his office at 105 Stuart St Mullumbimby or call 6684 6202. Or visit Joe's site if you just want to donate.
By Mark O'Brien