Thus Spake Brandis

If you’ve ever despaired at what passes for political debate in this country, Senator George Brandis’ Greens-as-Nazis speech would surely have confirmed your cynicism. I suspect that his attempt to explain himself on last Friday’s Lateline will not exactly fill you with hope for the future. Says Brandis:


…what I also want to do, is do something we do too seldom in this country and have a debate about ideas and the source of ideas.

It is perhaps a perverse understanding of “a debate about ideas” to suggest that equating the Greens with “the methods and the values of the Nazis” falls within such a concept. It’s worth pointing out that Godwin’s Law was proposed as a means of reducing the effectiveness of the “handy rhetorical hammer” of Nazi-comparison, in recognition of the fact that once a tangential comparison to Hitler is made, you’ve reached the end-point of rationale debate.


So putting to one side Brandis’ “debate about ideas”, how can the Greens-as-Nazis speech be explained? Brandis made it clear on Lateline that he will not withdraw the comparison — indeed when Tony Jones asked him if he “will continue to develop this theme in further speeches”, Brandis answered in the affirmative — so we can also put to one side the suggestion that this was a mistake, or an aberration. So, why compare the Greens to the Nazis?



On this point Brandis was perhaps more revealing than he meant to be. As an example:


I want to change the perception of the Greens.

You see, the Greens have got under the political radar screen in this country and I think they’ve got most people convinced that they are not a danger, they are not a threat, that they are basically well-meaning oddballs or perhaps they’re radical liberals.

But they’re not that.

I suppose it’s open to interpretation as to what this means, but it does seem to indicate [as some commenters on my previous post suggested] that the Liberal Party is worried about the defection of small-l liberals to the Greens. Brandis gives more away further on:


TONY JONES: …Do you now believe the Greens represent the same sort of threat that One Nation represented?

GEORGE BRANDIS: I think they represent a different kind of threat to democratic politics in this country.

But, if the Liberal Party made a mistake in not exposing One Nation for what it was early enough in the piece a few years ago, then that’s not a mistake we’re going to make with the Greens.

For the phrase “made a mistake in not exposing One Nation for what it was”, substitute “made a mistake in not crushing One Nation before they started taking votes away from us”. Clearly the Liberals aren’t of the view that only the ALP have reason to fear the Greens.


And if you think it’s presumptuous to impute the speech of a lone Liberal Senator to the party as a whole, consider what the following exchange indicates about where these comments are coming from:


TONY JONES: …did you inform the PM or any senior Government member prior to making this speech?

GEORGE BRANDIS: I haven’t discuss the matter with the PM, no. Now, Tony, you cut me off before.

TONY JONES: Hang on a sec, I’ll just finish with that question, though, because you only answered half of it. Did you inform any senior Government member prior to making this speech?

GEORGE BRANDIS: I’m not going to talk about conversations with colleagues. You asked me about the PM. I haven’t discussed the matter with the PM.

TONY JONES: No, but the key question here is, is this part of a new tactic to take on the Greens, which has been endorsed by the Government, not just you, it’s not an individual thing that you’re doing, and I imagine that by not saying whether you did or did not discuss it, you’re refusing to deny that you discussed it with senior members of the Government, therefore we can assume, perhaps, it is a tactic.

GEORGE BRANDIS: You … can assume what you like but you asked me whether I discussed it with the PM and the answer is no, I haven’t spoken to the PM about it.

TONY JONES: And I also asked you did you discuss it with any other senior member of government?

GEORGE BRANDIS: And I’m telling you I’m not going to go into conversations with colleagues.

Well I suppose you all know what I’m assuming: that within the Liberal Party there are strategies to discredit the Greens, of which this scurrilous attack is an example. One thing we can conclude from this, without making any assumptions, is that Brandis needs to work on his stone-walling.


The funniest part of Brandis’ explanation is his attempt to make the Nazi comparison seem like brave and principled politics. In this vein he says:


There is a lot to be exposed about the Greens, about the ideas that underlie them, about the intellectual traditions to which they are heir and it’s about time somebody blew the whistle on them.

Blowing the whistle, as it is generally understood, suggests a person who exposes something dodgy that is taking place within their own organisation, often at great risk to their career or livelihood. I suppose Brandis is putting his career at risk, in the sense that his speech might cause some to seriously question his capacity for abstract thought, his possession of opposable digits etc, but I doubt this is what Brandis means by describing himself as a whistle-blower. In “exposing” the Greens, Brandis thinks he is acting against neither his own interests nor the interest of his party. We can contrast this by imagining Brandis exposing fascist tendencies within his own party; that would be whistle-blowing, even if it would also be as dumb as comparing the Greens to the Nazis.


I’m all for exposing malfeasance in political parties, but why is it that exposing the Greens is always so crap? I’m reminded of the hysteria of March this year when the Greens’ “Hidden Policy On Drugs“, was “exposed” in a Sunday Telegraph “investigation”. Said investigation, you’ll recall, apparently consisted of consulting the Greens’ website, wherein said hidden policy was publicly available. The policy had also been the subject of media releases, an official launch and a press conference, all prior to it being “exposed”. Nevertheless the reporting of that incident generated a veritable shit-storm, the consequences of which eventually ruined the Greens’ best chance of winning a seat in the NSW lower house. Brandis can continue to pimp his Greens-as-Nazis analogy; I somehow doubt it will be as consequential.


POSTSCRIPT: Bob Brown was on Meet the Press, where he was asked about the Nazi analogy:


DENNIS ATKINS: But if you strip away the harsh rhetoric of Senator Brandis, didn’t he have a kernel of truth in there – that the Greens are a fundamentalist party that is based more on passion rather than policy?

BOB BROWN: No, there is no relevance there at all. You can apply that to the Christian church or to Buddhism or the boy scouts. It was a horrendous thing for George Brandis and the Howard Government to do. What I do say is that we are unashamedly environmentalist. I want to stop those chainsaws boring into the Tasmanian forest with 150,000 log trucks going out of the forest to the wood chip mills this year…And the opinion polls all show that the majority of Tasmanians and the majority of Australians agree. Now, is George Brandis going to use his epithet against that majority of Australians concerned about the environment? And remember, in those opinion polls about what people think politicians should be talking about, it’s health, education, the environment and unemployment at the top of the list. For George Brandis to select one of those and say, that is off the agenda because I can bring in this terrible analogy with Nazism is wayward politics to say the best.

Also, in writing this post, I discovered a handy Google feature of which I was heretofore unaware. If you Google in the form “What is a [thing]”, your first hit will be a definition of that thing. It doesn’t always work out, though.

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Alan McCallum
2022 years ago

Roop,
On “whistle blowing”. The old usage was simply to alert others, not from any “internal to an oganisation” point of view. I can’t say when the current usage started, but it was not that way when I was younger.

And as I understand Brandis, he was referring to the methods of the Greens [the movement rather than the party?] being similar to the beginnings of Nazism. It is a common trick to move on to what was not said to discredit what was said, and I think this is what you are doing here.

There are some similarities between the Green movement and the early Nazis. To mention one, the insistence on going beyond the law to make points. A spike in a tree is a radical act that might kill someone, as is the practice of running protest boats close to warship propellors. Not the Greens the party for sure, but techniques which have been used by the Green movement. I think you should address what Brandis said, rather than think you have cracked a nut with some “metaphorical hammer” .

Rex
Rex
2022 years ago

Alan,

What a ridiculous assertion you make. You may as well say that the early Zionists under Ben Gurion were Nazi’s because they broke the laws of the British mandate in Palestine.

If you accept Brandis premise that the Greens are a mystical naturalist movement, then under Brandis’ definition the patrons of Folk festivals are Nazis the nudists swimming at Lady Bay beach are Nazi’s, the vegetarians who buy they food from the organic store are Nazi’s, or at least have similarities with the early proto-Nazi’s

This is clearly and plainly nothing more that a pathetic smear. A smear that is obvious to all.

Brandis has demonstrated nothing in this episode except a spitefulness and vindictivness that will do nothing but get him into trouble if he continues to push this line.

We Australian punters are not stupid. We may not be versed in the early Wagnerian History of the Nazi party, but we sure as hell know that the Greens don’t wear black leather, don’t fly Stuka bombers and, don’t commit genocide. Brandis is demonstrating that he is a mighty nasty piece of work and this will be highlighted further if he goes on like this.

Rex

Craig G
Craig G
2022 years ago

I consider Sen Brandis’s direct linking of the Greens and Nazis to be pretty dumb and ill-considered (as are virtually all analogies between present day political activity and the Nazis) however his underlying premise remains valid.

Too often Nazism is viewed through the prism of 1945 – defeat, destruction, the death camps, the bizarre goings on in the bunker and so on – and very rarely does non-academic coverage of Nazism look back to what it was in say 1923 and the philosophical underpinnings then in place. It was after all a National Socialist party and until the Night of the Long Knives in 1934 it had an approximation of a left wing led by Roehm and the Strasser brothers.

One ignores the romantic, quasi mystical dimension to Nazism at their peril – the practical implications of the polemic are the same for the Greens as for the Nazis since it elevates an abstract concept (eg nature/culture/volk/) over individual reality. Of course the more apt metaphor that I would employ against Bob Brown and the Greens is Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge.

Tim Dymond
Tim Dymond
2022 years ago

There is nothing uniquely mystical about the Greens. Both the Labor and Liberal Parties had religious elements in their original forms. unionism was ‘almost a religion’ among workers in the 1890s, and Labor politicians and activists had Catholic and dissenting Protestant backgrounds. Protestantism was a galvanising principle for the Liberals well into the 1970s, not to mention a ‘quasi-mystical’ devotion to the Royal family.

woodsy
woodsy
2022 years ago

Oh goody ! Some rational debate about Nazi’s at last. Well done Roop.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

I also think the comparison between the Greens and the Nazis is extraordinarily apt. Consider these points:
1: They go in for extreme tactics: with the Nazis it was murder and intimidation, with the Greens it is attempting to interject in Parliament.
2: Both favour intensive industrial production and population increase. (not sure about this one, might have to check the Greens website…)
3: Both are famous for having leaders whose surname has five letters (well, Hitler has six, but it *could* have had five).
4: Anyway, Godwin’s law can only be invoked against the left.

Robert
2022 years ago

“unionism was ‘almost a religion’ among workers in the 1890s”

It became even more so later. The Victorian Socialist Party (which operated within the official Labor Party) ran a Sunday school which was criticised for copying the rituals of Christianity (babies were ‘baptised’ into Socialism, etc). Does involvement in such a group make John Curtin nazi-like?

Lol, Anthony!

roop
2022 years ago

I think you should address what Brandis said…

i thought i already did.

One ignores the romantic, quasi mystical dimension to Nazism at their peril – the practical implications of the polemic are the same for the Greens as for the Nazis since it elevates an abstract concept (eg nature/culture/volk/) over individual reality.

a political movement that doesn’t? martin luther king and his abstract concept of racial equality, john howard and his abstract concept of “battlers” and “ordinary australians”, the labour unions and their abstract concept of workers’ rights, you and your abstract concept of “individual reality” [whatever that means] etc. and i don’t ignore the romantic dimension of the greens, indeed their idealism is one of the reasons i like them.

i suppose you’re going to tell me that idealism is also a nazi trait.

Robert
2022 years ago

Roop, I don’t know if you caught Insiders yesterday, but it raised this issue during the panel discussion (Real audio) in much the same terms as you’ve raised it here. With Andrew Bolt on the panel and attempting to defend his bizarre article (which seems to have formed the basis for Brandis’ attack) it is well worth a listen.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

sorry to change the tone, but..
this is very funny: “I suppose Brandis is putting his career at risk, in the sense that his speech might cause some to seriously question his capacity for abstract thought, his possession of opposable digits etc”,
and Roop’s doggedness is a delight.

craigmc
craigmc
2022 years ago

The demonising of opponents is a nice little nazi trait in itself.

Tysen
Tysen
2022 years ago

I find it very difficult to respect the Greens.

They feel that every right exercised by them is absolute, regardless of whether they deprive others from doing the same.

During the S11 protests, they assembled with the sole purpose of preventing others from doing the same. In fact, their leader referred to it as a ‘blockade’. What democratic justification is there for assembling with the sole purpose of depriving others from doing the same? The truth is that they will say one thing and do another.

And when Bob Brown interrupted George Bush he was casually attempting to deprive him of the right any invited guest speaker has of being heard. Does he or any of those who follow him really respect free speech?

So regardless of their ideals, they seem willing to use force to prevent others freely assembling and speaking. If they don’t like a policy then they will break the law to try and defeat it. Apparently they are more willing than the ALP, the Liberals, the Nationals, and the Democrats to sacrifice these rights in the name of their cause.

When any group appears so willing to use forceful and in many cases unlawful and violent means to achieve a given end aren’t they getting dangerous? And what if the full force of the major parties decided to do the same? There would be no Greens party or meetings of those who support that ideology. Hell, they could even set up ‘protests’ outside the personal residence of Bob Brown and prevent him ever leaving.

The Greens seem so certain of the righteousness of their cause that they are blinded to the dangerous and undemocratic means they use to achieve it. The Nazi’s are the most extreme example of dangerous certainty blinding rational people to the consequences of their actions. Any comparison between the Nazi’s and Greens is like comparing a murderer with a violent thug (literally). It’s not totally outside of reason to suggest, though, that they both represent points along the same continuum, with the Nazi’s the (far) more extreme example.

Murph
2022 years ago

The Green=Nazi argument may have been misdirected. I prefer to think of that pair as Stalinists. You can guarantee that if Brown and Nettle ever had power they’d be sending people, whose politics they don’t agree with, to re-education camps.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Murph – there are those who think that the Nazi – Communist dichotomy itself is misdirected, and that totalitarians as a group have more in common with each other than anyone else.

If that were the point of Brandis’ spray, I might have agreed with him.

My perception is that if it came down to a choice between respecting democracy and giving effect to their policies, the Greens would choose the latter. That’s one reason why I’m very keen that they never be given the chance.

mgl
mgl
2022 years ago

Mork,

That pretty much comprises the whole of my argument in the other thread, except that I took hundreds of words to make the same point. Nice work.

Michael
Michael
2022 years ago

“And when Bob Brown interrupted George Bush he was casually attempting to deprive him of the right any invited guest speaker has of being heard.”

Thats a point so many of those that have defended Brown and Kettle by saying ‘Australia is a free country so everyone has the right to have their say’, have ignored, they didn’t let Bush have his say, they could of stood up and shouted their questions the second Bush had finished having his say, but no, they tried their hardest to shout him down. Thats not free speech, its exactly the opposite.I don’t know whether or not thats nazi-like but it’s sure as hell isn’t Australian-like.

And going by the latest newspoll, it looks like its turned out to be a major miscalculation, losing 2% of their support when they only had 8% in the first place, must surely send a message to them that even their own voter base was ashamed of their behaviour.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

mgl – to the contrary – I just read your post on the other thread – I’m very glad that you took the time to express so elegently the argument that I only gave as a throwaway.

roop
2022 years ago

michael, kindly explain (a) how bush didn’t get a say, given that he made and more importantly completed his remarks, and (b) how it is that you “shout someone down”, given that they have a microphone and you don’t.

the most you can say about kettle-brown in parliament is what they did was rude, discourteous, self-aggrandising etc. i don’t think that this conclusion necessarily entails that the greens showed a lack of respect for bush’s free speech rights.

Murph
2022 years ago

Mork

I totally agree that the net effect of Nazism and the various manifestations of Marxism is about equivalent. The Greens’ tactics have more in common with those of Stalinists.

George Brandis is correct that the Greens are dangerous. However, he made a mistake in attempting the illustrate the problem to the man on the street by comparing the Greens to Nazis.

Murph

Murph
2022 years ago

Roop

May I suggest you do the following:

The next time the “peace” movement holds a major rally in an Australian city, turn up carrying an inoffensive placard which states a message contrary to the beliefs of those who organised the rally. After you get spat on, kicked, screamed at and your placard is torn to shreds, you might understand what George Brandis is talking about.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

Is this an actual event, or conjecture, Murph?
While we’re speaking about Stalin, wasn’t it our PM who was recently called a “Man of Steel”? Not that I would make any such comparison – I just thought it was funny.

mark
2022 years ago

My goodness, Murph, I had no idea the mob mentality was unique to the “‘peace’ movement”. And Mork’s taught me that only the Greens would consider their own ideals more important than keeping our political system intact (for example, Howard’s — and Keating’s — attacks on the Senate to give themselves more power never happened).

(Yes, I know neither commenter stated the Greens were alone. But if the Greens are dangerous and must be stopped [because…], but Libs/Nat/ALP/Dem/PHON aren’t, then…)

And so I at least have learned something (two things!) today. Good thing I got out of bed this mornin’ then, eh?

Murph
2022 years ago

mark

I didn’t say that “mob mentality was unique to the peace movement”. I was illustrating that the “peace” movement is consumed by mob mentality.

BTW, you might notice that Howard’s doomed attempt to rid himself of the Senate will be executed by due process.

Anthony

Actual event in London a few years back.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Mark, there is no sane comparison between either the centralising instincts of Labor and Liberal and a party that, if it could, would nationalise industries, effectively prohibit people from choosing how much they wanted to work and consume, regulate a swathe of activities that have never been regulated in Australia before an limit, impose rigid quotas on all public appointments and restrict freedom of speech.

They’re only harmless because they will never get close enough to power. If that were not the case, your lack of regard for your own freedom would be dangerously obtuse.

mark
2022 years ago

One hopes a similar attempt by the Greens (should they ever get into govt) would fail for similar reasons, Murph. But if the mere intent to attempt (heh) makes ’em dangerous, then surely so too are the Libs/Nats? (As for the peace movement thing: not being a member, or even having witnessed the protests, I wouldn’t know, although I suspect you’re right. I don’t, however, see the relevance any longer)

Mork, I didn’t say the Greens’ policies were comparable with those of the two major parties, just that the speculation above that they would hold their policies more dear than workable Democracy could apply equally to (especially) the Liberals, and of course the ALP as well. Sure, their policies are more extreme than those of the ALP or (most of) the Coalition[0], but that wasn’t what you initially argued.

Re: freedom of speech. We don’t have it. We have had freedom of political communication (within, at least for the meantime, limits) since 1992. And are the Greens the worst offenders in restricting freedom of speech anyway? Would you consider freedom of the press an important element in FoS (or FoPC)? If so, then what about Alston’s complaints about the ABC (less serious) and restrictions of press movement during Bush’s visit, or at detention centres (more serious)?

I don’t see “nationalis[ed] industries” as a prima facie bad thing. Of course, there’s a difference between not selling off Telstra (or whatever), and confiscating private property for State purposes. How they’d go about simply getting all essential services (defence, health, education, phone, electricity, mail, um…) publicly-owned in the first place (what of those that’ve been sold off?) is a big issue. I assume they aren’t proposing a rewrite to the Constitution?

[0] Though it’s worth going over the right-wing’s restrictive behaviour towards social issues — indeed, anyone’s — with a fine-toothed comb. I find some of the right-wing’s attitudes WRT (at least) homosexuality somewhat more worrisome than those of the Greens, for some reason.

mark
2022 years ago

One hopes a similar attempt by the Greens (should they ever get into govt) would fail for similar reasons, Murph. But if the mere intent to attempt (heh) makes ’em dangerous, then surely so too are the Libs/Nats? (As for the peace movement thing: not being a member, or even having witnessed the protests, I wouldn’t know, although I suspect you’re right. I don’t, however, see the relevance any longer)

Mork, I didn’t say the Greens’ policies were comparable with those of the two major parties, just that the speculation above that they would hold their policies more dear than workable Democracy could apply equally to (especially) the Liberals, and of course the ALP as well. Sure, their policies are more extreme than those of the ALP or (most of) the Coalition[0], but that wasn’t what you initially argued.

Re: freedom of speech. We don’t have it. We have had freedom of political communication (within, at least for the meantime, limits) since 1992. And are the Greens the worst offenders in restricting freedom of speech anyway? Would you consider freedom of the press an important element in FoS (or FoPC)? If so, then what about Alston’s complaints about the ABC (less serious) and restrictions of press movement during Bush’s visit, or at detention centres (more serious)?

I don’t see “nationalis[ed] industries” as a prima facie bad thing. Of course, there’s a difference between not selling off Telstra (or whatever), and confiscating private property for State purposes. How they’d go about simply getting all essential services (defence, health, education, phone, electricity, mail, um…) publicly-owned in the first place (what of those that’ve been sold off?) is a big issue. I assume they aren’t proposing a rewrite to the Constitution?

[0] Though it’s worth going over the right-wing’s restrictive behaviour towards social issues — indeed, anyone’s — with a fine-toothed comb. I find some of the right-wing’s attitudes WRT (at least) homosexuality somewhat more worrisome than those of the Greens, for some reason.

mark
2022 years ago

Bugger.

Anthony
Anthony
2022 years ago

Who’s a bugger?

roop
2022 years ago

mork:

My perception is that if it came down to a choice between respecting democracy and giving effect to their policies, the Greens would choose the latter. That’s one reason why I’m very keen that they never be given the chance.

as has been pointed out to me, unless we’re to infer some kind of reichstag fire as a precondition, your perception does not explain how the greens would be able to give effect to their policies without respecting democracy i.e. winning an election.

may i just clear up some confusion about the greens?

on the topic of democracy, i believe the greens have established at least some interest in protecting it — consider how they stood up for popular sovereignty during the MAI negotiations. in the economic sphere, their rejection of “globalisation” is premised on the idea that democracy would suffer if too much power was in the hands of various international markets [eg currency markets] and organisations [eg the wto].

their favoured republic model is rather more democratic than our current system of government [while they do not support a directly elected prez, they think the power to sack the prime minister should reside exclusively in the parliament]; on the other hand they do favour a bill of rights [with a right of free speech, incidentally, which would entail a greater protection of that right than we currently have], so clearly they’re not fully sold on this whole democratic rule thing.

incidentally, among australian political parties the greens [arguably] have the best record in supporting democratic change overseas [see eg their support of self-determination for the tibetans, burmese, west papuans and east timorese].

Mark, there is no sane comparison between either the centralising instincts of Labor and Liberal and a party that, if it could, would nationalise industries, effectively prohibit people from choosing how much they wanted to work and consume, regulate a swathe of activities that have never been regulated in Australia before an limit, impose rigid quotas on all public appointments and restrict freedom of speech.

your hypothetical centralising party does not greatly resemble the greens. but firstly, quotas on public appointments is a really odd thing to object to on the basis of alleged centralisation of power, in the sense that governments already have the power to employ public servants according to the criteria in the relevant legislation. the greens would simply change the criteria to incorporate quotas.

the greens also support affirmative action in private employment, which would be more problematic from a liberal point of view, but can be defended on other bases [fairness, diversity etc].

the greens do advocate shorter working weeks, to the extent that this would facilitate full employment. so, while people who are currently employed might be restricted in how many hours they can work, those who want to work and currently can’t find it would have a pretty great restriction on their right to work removed. agreed: this is in my opinion a problematic aspect of the green program, but hardly something to foam at the mouth about. similar laws in france have not exactly paved the way for a totalitarian state.

while it’s true the greens support a more powerful federal government, they also support more powerful local governments [for example, they want the existence of local government recognised in the constitution]. the strengthening of these two levels of government is to be acheived at the expense of the states, which are to be abolished in the fairy-land of the greens.

they favour a greater governmental role in the economy, it’s true, but they think they can do this by taxation “reform”, income redistribution and other such mechanisms. i have my doubts about how effective [and indeed desirable] this would be, but i’m not aware of any current green policy that explicitly advocates the nationalisation of an industry, although i’m open to correction. they do of course oppose privatisation.

to mark:

I assume they aren’t proposing a rewrite to the Constitution?

oh but they are. they propose to have a constitutional convention, the participants in which are to be directly elected. democratically. said convention would propose a bunch of constitutional amendments, which would then be voted on in a referendum. which would also be democratic, to the extent that s 128 of the constitution is democratic, which it isn’t, but you can hardly blame the greens for that.

and just finally, it seems to me that of all the political parties in the senate, the greens have in recent times the best record in respect of promoting human rights. see eg opposition to the asio bill, opposition to mandatory sentencing, opposition to mandatory detention etc.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

Mark:

On the question of compromising in the interests of workable democracy, there’s already form to suggest that the Greens are much more interested in exercising whatever power they gain than providing a government that reflects the preferences of the community. See their role as Labor’s junior coalition partner for example – they were prepared to be completely obstructive in order to impose their minority viewpoint on the majority parties, even on key issues such as forest management where the major parties had put forth detailed policies that (if the election was any guide) were considerably more popular than the Greens’.

On freedom of speech – it may not be guaranteed, but the limitations on it are presently quite circumscribed. Under the Greens, I suspect that the limitations would grow, particularly in the area of “vilification” (however defined) of groups the Greens thought needed protection.
And, frankly, I find your examples of Howard government “restriction” of freedom of speech pretty trivial, compared, for example, to the criminalization of speech on the basis that someone finds it hurtful.

I agree that there are constitutional impediments to nationalisation (although it is very clearly called for in the Greens’ policy statements … “The Greens aim to keep natural monopolies and other essential public services under public ownership and re-establish such ownership as necessary”). I see the fact that they advocate unconstitutional confiscation of property without explaining exactly how they’d go about it somewhat disturbing … of course, assuming one does them the courtesy of taking them seriously.

Mork
Mork
2022 years ago

I should have specified that I was talking about their role as coalition partner in Tasmania.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

The Greens burnt down the Tasmanian Parliament? Why was no one arrested? Why wasn’t it in the news?