Despite my election-related criticisms of the Greens political party, the deal announced today between Julia Gillard and Bob Brown is a good one.
[box border=”full”]Update (2012): I’ve changed my mind. The Labor-Greens agreement has failed at both things I had hoped it would do. More on my recent views on the Greens party.[/box]
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has agreed to a swag of demands from the Greens as part of a formal deal to join forces as Labor tries to secure a parliamentary majority.
Immediately I can see two benefits:
- It firmly places Labor on the left-of-centre, and hopefully halts any further march towards the centre-right (a la the US Democrats). Most of the policy agreements and reforms are positive, and incidentally, many of them are ones that Labor tried to get through the Senate over the last two years but were blocked by the Libs + Fielding.
- It creates accountability for the Greens political party – who have been looking to get more credibility as a mature political party for some time, and now will face real scrutiny, not only by the media and blogosphere, but also from their own supporters.
The deal is ultimately a pragmatic one by Bob Brown et al. The Greens Party extracted as many concessions as they could from Labor — which is perfectly acceptable for a political party to do — while not getting everything. The fact that some pro-Greens tweeters expressed dismay that there was no agreement over a carbon tax (for example, or same-sex marriage) demonstrates that the biggest challenge facing the Greens Party is to meet expectations. (It is one that Kevin Rudd faced, and failed to meet.)
Now they have a formal deal which involves responsibilities as well as rights, they will face the hurdles of delivering for their constituency while navigating the politics of the possible.
This isn’t really a new thing. Labor has been tackling this particular problem for over a century.
What do you think? Good move? Bad move?