Yet again, the Greens Party provides no policy detail

October 29, 2010

The Greens political party loves to say that they support genuine action on climate change, but unfortunately the reality is that they are a policy-free zone.

Labor has recently come out with its Climate Change White Paper. This plan has the potential to see massive cuts to Victoria’s carbon pollution – 20% by 2020. Victorian Labor has a plan for a phased shutdown of Australia’s dirtiest coal-fired powerplant. There is also a commitment to lift the average energy efficiency star rating for all Victorian homes to 5 stars. Finally, Labor has committed to taking action to make Victoria’s street lights more energy efficient – which will help local municipalities reduce their carbon footprint by up to 40%.

All of these policies are detailed, costed and most importantly, they can actually be implemented.

The only notable downside to this plan is that most of the heavy lifting in reductions take place from 2014 – but that only highlights the fact that the elements of the plan are worthwhile, will be effective in reducing carbon pollution and will ensure Victoria meets its targets.

The Greens Party on the otherhand have promised a 40% carbon reduction on 1990 levels. They want to close down Hazelwood in the next three years.

However, these policies are “not a priority” according to Greens Party de facto-leader Greg Barber:

The Greens say closing Hazelwood would not be among their top priorities, if they had to select which party to support in a minority government.

Furthermore, the Greens Party has been criticised by Environment Victoria – one of the most respected sustainability advocacy groups in Victoria – for lacking any detail whatsoever:

While the Greens supported the target, their policy is for a 40 percent reduction target on 1990 levels by 2020.  Again, the Greens are yet to release the detail of how they would achieve this target.

(From EV “Safe Climate Bulletin”, 28 October 2010, no online link)

Of course, this lack of policy detail from a political party likely to hold the balance of power in the Upper House (if not the House of Reps) is hardly suprising when candidates like Cyndi Dawes (Greens Party candidate for Brunswick) thinks all of her election promises don’t have to be costed because they are “imaginary”.

It’s worth looking at the full chain of tweets on this issue, so that the context is clear.

Back on 22 October, a community forum was held after which  Cyndi Dawes wrote:

What is pork barrelling & is that what recent Brumby announcements in Brunswick amount to 35 days out from an election? #vicvotes

@RingmybellAB replied:

@cyndidawes Hypocritical! You promised a water tank and free education and other things worth millions in your video!

To which Dawes replied with the tweet pictured above:

@RingmybellAB I recall using the word “imagine’ cause that’s all we can do in current situation.

The rest of the exchange goes on. Read it yourself.

Now, I’ve been accused by none other than the first ever Greens Party MP ever elected to the Federal House of Reps, Michael Organ of writing “anti-Green bile” and “fear mongering”. To be fair, I am a partisan in these debates – and I don’t hide that fact.

I’d like to think however, that most (or even all) of my criticisms of the Greens political party are not ad hominem attacks against individuals, but based on either:

  1. Holding the Greens Party and their spokespeople and representatives to the ideals and standards that they set for themselves and others; and
  2. Focusing on their actual policies and the shortfalls and lack of details that characterise most of the Greens Party “policies”.

My criticisms of Adam Bandt for example focused on the misleading slogan of “make history” and the (in my view) inaccurate claim that Bandt would be “the first Green elected into the House of Reps”. My criticisms of Richard di Natale were based on the Greens Party supporting citizens assemblies in their platform, but opportunistically opposing Labor’s climate assembly. Other criticisms focused on the Greens attacking Labor over “a lack of action on a carbon price” while (again) opportunistically voting against the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

I regularly read tweets (like this one) that complain that the media (especially the ABC) doesn’t give enough attention to the Greens Party. Well, I’m giving the Greens Party some attention.

(The archive of my “Greens Party” tagged posts is here, by the way.)


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