One Nation Revisited?

Through their racist and homophobic remarks, candidates from Bob Katter’s Australia Party have certainly let the cat (or the Katter in this case) out of the bag in terms of their party’s agenda. It’s now up to both sides of politics to distance themselves from this dangerous brand of conservative populism.

Bob Katter is the latest in a raft of Australian politicians to denounce ‘political correctness.’ Indeed, Prime Minister Howard spoke of a “pall of censorship being lifted” after his election in 1996 and Australians being able to “speak a little more freely and openly” about a range of controversial issues.

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Risky Business – War on the Greens Will Hurt Labor

Moves by leading figures in the ALP to ‘declare war’ on the Australian Greens appear to be part of a strategy of political product differentiation that risks further undermining the former’s electoral appeal.

In recent days Labor politicians have derided the Greens as “extreme” and “immature” and some in the ALP have even advocated directing preferences to the Coalition and Family First ahead of the minor party at the next federal election.

This seems to be based on the belief that by attacking the Greens Labor can return some of its disillusioned base to the fold. While Labor’s Left faction may argue this represents an opportunity to break the minor party’s hold over left-wing politics in Australia, the political antidote they propose is in effect a shift to the right in the form of a Labor/Liberal pact to ‘lock-out’ the Greens.

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History Won’t Repeat

The Democrats may be dead but they continue to haunt national politics, with many commentators warning the Greens are doomed to the same fate without the charismatic leadership of Bob Brown.

Much of this is based on the assumption that Christine Milne will fail to unify her party or appeal to the public.

However, commentators are overlooking significant differences between the Democrats and the Greens and the ability of the latter to better manage this leadership transition, along with Milne’s own leadership credentials.

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Life after Brown for the Greens?

The shock resignation of the Greens’ popular leader and founder Bob Brown has left many questioning the long-term prospects of the party he leaves behind. Despite the temptation of some to compare the Greens’ fate with that of the Australian Democrats, it is too soon to eulogise the environmental party and the Greens are better placed to manage this leadership transition than their senate predecessors.

There is no doubt that Brown is an irreplaceable figure within the Greens and the parliament. The party he created has grown from to strength to strength during his 16 years in the senate and the Greens are the only party in the country to have achieved swings in their favour at every federal election of the last decade. He is a revered and galvanising figure within the Greens – instrumental in moderating the internal differences around policy and emphasis that are inevitable in any political party.

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