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A marxist analysis of where ACT politics is at.

By Passy - 4 November 2008 20

A slightly longer version of this article first appeared on www.enpassant.com.au

So the Greens will sit on the cross-benches. This means they can criticise the Stanhope ALP Government without being locked in through Ministries to unpopular decisions. But their deal with Labor is, to put it mildly, fairly light on.

The swing to the Greens was a swing to the left and reflected anger with the ALP and its closure of schools, the inadequacies of the hospital and transport systems and a heavy handed attempt to set up a data centre and gas fired power station 600 metres from homes in Tuggeranong.

A variety of other groupings also gained a swing of around 6 percent, and they could best be described as right wing. None of them were elected.

While the electorate swung to the left, the two major parties, Labor and Liberals, swung to the Right with the new blood on each team being conservative.

The Greens, contrary to most analysis, are in my opinion a centrist party. They proclaimed during the campaign they were neither left nor right but out front for Canberra. Apart from the fact the environment is an issue on which they have great credibility, and one which will not go away, I would have predicted that this Green balancing between left and right (shades of the Third Way?) would see them self-destruct like the Democrats.

They might still, but at least we can say that the next four years with them on the cross benches in the ACT will test their capacity to balance between left and right and their ability not to lose their supporters as they do ‘pragmatic’ deals with Labor.

The Greens have no class analysis of society. They will be easy pickings for the capitalist class warriors from ALP and the Liberals.

Certainly the deal between the Greens and the ALP supports this view. It makes no great demands on the incoming ALP Government. For example one commitment from the ALP is to examine data centre sites for the ACT.

There is no mention of the ALP’s favoured Tuggeranong Data Centre proposal, a proposal which the Greens specifically opposed in the election campaign. Not surprisingly the Chief Minister is now saying the agreement does not rule out that Centre, and in fact the new Assembly should let normal planning processes proceed.

It may be that the Greens were naive in their negotiations. However it is also possible that this maybe the first of many Green sellouts.

The extra spending the Greens have extracted from Labor on housing is $10 m over 4 years. As a friend put it: “That’s $2.5m a year, or seven houses or 15 units a year. Disgraceful.”

The Greens have agreed not to revisit the issue of closed schools. The community is angry with the Labor Party about these schools, and the Greens have given the ALP a free kick to bury the issue by accepting this attack on the community as a fait accompli.

And then there are the token environmental concessions thrown in.

The Government will legislate a greenhouse gas reduction target for the ACT. That’s it? A target?

The ALP has also agreed to adopt a goal of guaranteed bus frequency of 30 minutes. A goal is not necessarily a reality.

There will be a 12 month trial of a levy on supermarket plastic bags in supermarkets.

The Government will Implement a ‘Plumber Visit’ program for low income housing to help reduce water use.

These are tokenistic commitments when you consider the ACT Budget surplus is more than $200 m.

It looks like Labor has got to keep Government in the ACT on the cheap.

This backtracking and mickey mouse concessions is occurring before the Assembly sits. What will happen when the ALP moves into full duchessing mode and the Greens are off on their study tours, being constantly wined and dined by the professionals? So what that the Greens will run a couple of self-important committees?

I fear the Greens will soon be chanting: “Four legs good, two legs better.”

It looks like the ALP host is already taking over the Green parasite.

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20 Responses to
A marxist analysis of where ACT politics is at.
ramblingted 6:50 am 05 Nov 08

Given that Passy is the world’s last practicising Marxist I think he should be declared an endangered species and treated with respect…

deezagood 6:14 am 05 Nov 08

Jonathon Reynolds said :

Whilst I don’t subscribe to the political views of Passy I think he has hit on a point here. Either the Greens are extremely naive or they simply refuse to accept the responsibility for the role they now hold with the balance of power on the cross bench.

I’m thinking of putting a hat round for a collection and with the money going down to either Bunnings or Magnet Mart to buy four shovels. A formal presentation of these shovels to the ACT Greens would most definitely be in order. With their current attitude (or lack of it) nothing better than ensuring that they get a good start in digging their own political graves.

Yep – they should enjoy their four years in the sun, because the early signs are that they have already disappointed the folks that elected them. People did not vote green to end up with a dominant Labor government. They voted green because that party offered hope and the prospect of change to Canberrans – as well as elevating environmental issues to where they belong.

Jonathon Reynolds 11:35 pm 04 Nov 08

Whilst I don’t subscribe to the political views of Passy I think he has hit on a point here. Either the Greens are extremely naive or they simply refuse to accept the responsibility for the role they now hold with the balance of power on the cross bench.

I’m thinking of putting a hat round for a collection and with the money going down to either Bunnings or Magnet Mart to buy four shovels. A formal presentation of these shovels to the ACT Greens would most definitely be in order. With their current attitude (or lack of it) nothing better than ensuring that they get a good start in digging their own political graves.

Passy 10:12 pm 04 Nov 08

Thanks Thumper. I agree with much of what you say, although I think the decision to remain on the cross benches was appropriate. But I had imagined they would have some spine in doing that, and some nous. The deal with the ALP makes me think they have neither.

I wonder what their membership thinks about the deal? Hopefully some of them are peeved. The long term prospects for the Greens if this first step is any guide do not look good.

Maybe there will be a move to the left from the Greens. Unlikely, since I suspect most Greens’ supporters will become disillusioned with them, and that will become a general disillusionment with politics.

Thumper 9:31 pm 04 Nov 08

Passy,

my veiws are easy to find as I’ve posted them before.

I think the Greens have sold out by backing away from responsibility. They have suddenly been faced with action and responsibility, rather than sniping from the sidelines, and they have sidestepped it, prefering instead to remain on the sidelines rather than leading.

they have failed their first real test.

This will hurt them in four years when people realise that they are all talk and no action.

Passy 8:44 pm 04 Nov 08

It was Stalin who first used psychiatry as a political weapon. How could any sane person dissent in the great workers paradise that was the USSR? If they did, they must be mad. Put them in the psychiatric ward!

It’s all really a bit like calling someone whose comments you disagree with a loon, and what they write rants.

Not only does it dehumanise those who don’t have the same view as you, it justifies your incapacity to respond. I wonder what Thumper and Growling Ferret actually think about my analysis of the Greens. Hard to tell from their comments.

Why not enlighten us with your views instead of attacks ad hominem?

imhotep 8:38 pm 04 Nov 08

A few good points there Passy, (although if the Greens are ‘centrist’ who is on the left, besides the S.A.?)

-Anyone familiar with the ACT government knows that ‘a long term plans, ‘goals’ and ‘targets’ are meaningless. When the time for a real decision arrives, expediency will rule, as usual.
-A plastic bag levy and a visit from a plumber are indeed useless tokens. To be fair though, they are newbies. I’ve no doubt Sonic was a powerful negotiator, self assured and full of bluster.

I wonder how long the honeymoon will last.

Thumper 8:07 pm 04 Nov 08

You get splinters sitting on the fence Mr Ferret, however, I agree

Growling Ferret 7:29 pm 04 Nov 08

Maybe I just didn’t care…… the respect I give to rants here are no different to those of Mike O’Shanaunassy – ignore, just like I would Andrew Bolt or Piers Akerman or Angela Shanahan etc…

Thumper 7:24 pm 04 Nov 08

Mr Ferret, you are getting old my friend 😉

Growling Ferret 6:51 pm 04 Nov 08

So Passy is John Passant, serial Canberra Times loon letter writer.

F**K. Why did I take so long to put two and two together? Maybe, just like the paper, I had the ignore function on his rants here, just like the CT….

miz 4:37 pm 04 Nov 08

Not a swing to the ‘left’, either – people don’t care much about left and right – just a lot of votes for a known alternative who SAID, or appeared to say, they would not allow Stanhope to have carte blanche. So how come he is now crowing in their faces?

miz 4:32 pm 04 Nov 08

I, too, have concerns that the Greens will not live up to the faith Canberrans have put in them. They need to stop being wishy washy and letting Stanhope run rings around them – they have already practically caved on the power station issue. This was an election promise to prevent the thing. It is not good enough to now say “I think we need to look at those issues before making a decision.” (Amanda B in CT today, here http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/1b-tuggeranong-plan-powers-on/1350874.aspx ).

Passy 4:19 pm 04 Nov 08

Not my heading.

ACT Light Rail 4:15 pm 04 Nov 08

I disagree that the electorate has swung to the left. Its that group of people who never vote lib or labor who used to vote democrat or independent.

The elctorate has moved away from a majority government. By not voting lib and directing their vote to the greens, the elctorate are making a statement that they want oversight in a single house government.

Marxist analysis ?

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