Only The Sangfroid

Mark is of fair average intelligence, who is neither perverse, nor morbid or suspicious of mind, nor avid for scandal. He does live in an ivory tower.

These are his draft thoughts…

“Just paint your face” the shadows smile… The policies of the Greens, part 2

Despite being informed by one of their supporters that the Greens don’t seriously advocate their stated policies, I will assume (forgive me, Jeremy) that the party actually does advocate its policies.  It is, after all, only charitable to believe that a political party supports its stated policies.

So this was the first part. Here’s the second:

Policy Category B: Agriculture and Natural Resources

I must admit, I’m not terribly knowledgeable about agriculture and natural resources.  I suspect this will be short…

The Australian Greens believe that:
1. genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs), their products, and the chemicals used to manage them, pose unacceptable threats to natural and agricultural ecosystems.  — p19.

They… they do?  Here was me thinking that blanket statements about GMOs were sensationalist and devoid of reason.  I’m fine for caution, but to say that they pose unacceptable threats is manifestly false.  Humans have been bio-engineers ever since dogs bio-engineered us.

The Australian Greens believe that […]

4. as living organisms – plants, animals and micro-organisms – are not inventions, patents on life are unethical, against the public interest and should be banned. — p19.

Wait… wait…  There is a distinct and real difference between living organisms which exist already and living organisms which are deliberately constructed in laboratories.  The first should be unable to be patented (and the category should be extended to bio-products, such as individual genes, &c.).  The second is very sensibly the world of intellectual property.  For example, imagine I’m working on a cure for cancer and it’s a drug.  Should I be allowed to patent it?  Obviously, yes.  Now imagine that the cure I develop is a laboratory-created bacteria which attacks cancer cells then dies and flushes out of the body.  Why shouldn’t I be able to patent my creation?

The Australian Greens want:

8. a moratorium on the release of GEOs into the environment until there is an adequate scientific understanding of their long term impact on environmental and human health and animal health. (NB: most GM products are fed to animals)

It’s a weird double-standard here.  Our best science says that GM food doesn’t pose an existential threat to us, and selling the products of research will help fund further research into the field.  Our best science says that climate change is happening and that we need to limit our greenhouse gas output.  In the one instance, the Greens point to the science.  In the second, the Greens ignore it.  You can’t be dedicated to our best science only when it’s convenient.

Policy Category C: Climate Change and Energy

Phew.  Most of the rest of Category B was fairly boring.  A few ratifications.  A few bans.  Climate Change and Energy sounds exciting.  A bit worrying that ‘Climate Change’ doesn’t fit under ‘Energy’ but indigenous Australians do.  I’m still in shock about that.

The Australian Greens believe that:

1. climate change poses the greatest threat to our world in human history and requires urgent local, national and global action.  — p24.

Only because the Greens don’t believe in Cthulhu…

I am 100% behind the ‘Stop polluting; climate change’ march but I still think the greatest threat to our world in human history was/is the nuclear arms race.  The superlatives tend to cheapen the public debate.  A minor criticism.

A more significant criticism is the lack of meat on their Climate Change policies.  They seem so lacklustre and mediocre.  The very worst of these was:

26. create a new ministerial position, Minister for Climate Change and Energy, to oversee the national response to climate change and the implementation of energy efficiency programs and standards. — p25.

As if we need more ad hoc ministerial positions.

The Australian Greens believe that:

1. there is a strong link between the mining and export of uranium, nuclear power and nuclear weapon proliferation.  — p27.

Gosh.  Really?  A strong link between mining uranium and nuclear power?  You don’t say.

The Australian Greens believe that […]

4. nuclear power is not a safe, clean, timely, economic or practical solution to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.  — p27.

See above comments about ‘best science’.  Australia’s history with nuclear power is a fascinating one and definitely worth further reading.  It seems odd that we could have access to comparatively clean forms of energy, and the Greens oppose it in favour of less efficient forms of energy production.

Policy Category C: Care for People

Things get interesting in the ‘Drugs, Substance Abuse, and Addiction’ policies beginning on page 31.  How do you reconcile:

The Australian Greens believe that:

1. The Australian Greens do not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.


5. the regulation of personal use of currently illegal drugs is best addressed primarily within a health and social framework, with legal support.

6. imprisonment for personal use of illicit drugs, when not associated with other crimes, is not an appropriate solution to drug dependence.

I’m guessing decriminalisation.  So the Greens believe that they don’t support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs, but they’re fine for the current sanctions against drug use to vanish.  Look, I am not particularly worried about their drug policy (despite being conservative) but why not just call a spade a spade and be done with it?

The Australian Greens will […]

14. reform the social security system to ensure an adequate income for all.

15. simplify the system of targeted pensions and allowances into a universal guaranteed adequate income (GAI) scheme.  — p50.

Is this in any way practical?  I’m a big fan of systems which minimise the impact of poverty.  The focus on providing an adequate income seems flatly implausible.  In what way is this a sustainable policy?

The Australian Greens will:

14. support the right of people from the age of 16 years to vote.  — p52.

Oh God no.  Could you imagine the horror of this system?  Why not just replace elections with Australian Idol contests?

17. increase Youth Allowance to the level of a living wage to enable young people to study full time without recourse to casual work.  — p52.

This is incomplete.  A fair system would provide both job-seekers and students the same amount of support with ‘study’ replacing ‘searching for full-time employment’: people shouldn’t be penalised because they’re studying.  Part of the problem is that it’s considered ‘Youth Allowance’ and not study assistance: moving to the city from a regional area was fraught with difficulty because I was still considered dependent on my single parent and, as such, received a Youth Allowance.  It’s a nonsense system.

The Australian Greens will […]

21. ban the advertising of junk food during children’s viewing hours.  — p52.

Yes, because it’s the advertising’s fault and definitely not the fault of consumers.  Perish the thought.

The Australian Greens want:

9. all schools to be funded and required to provide opportunities for appropriate sport and physical recreation for all school children up to and including year 12.

10. sporting events of national significance to be available on free to air television or other free media.  — p55.

The problem with schools is that they’re considered a panacea for everything.  Schools should provide this.  Schools should provide that.  School is not the place for sport.  After school is for sport and recreation.  Saturday morning is for sport and recreation.  Why can’t schools be about education for once in somebody’s policies?

And if there’s one thing I love about pay-TV it’s that it gets the hours and horrible hours of sport of the television.  Sport remains a hotspot for corruption and illegal activity: why we need to support it as avidly as we do, I have no idea.

The Australian Greens will […]

16. work with the Australian Sports Drug Agency to promote a drug free sporting environment.  — p55.

I remain 100% in favour of a drugged-up sports environment.  It’s entertainment.  Saying you’re going to ban drugs in sport is like saying you’re going to ban cosmetic surgery for actors.  People become weirdly self-righteous about sport, as if an athlete has committed some unpardonable sin by being caught taking more drugs than everybody else.

The Australian Greens will […]

21. facilitate the televising of top level women‟s sport. — p55.

More sport on television?!  Do you know what I miss on television?  Daria.  Bring that back.  I will vote for — and encourage everybody I know to vote for — any party which promises to bring Daria back on television.  Put it on ABC3 before Degrassi so kids can have a proper toolkit for dealing with the horrors of high school.

Okay…  I need another break.  Actually, what I need to do is read through the policies of the Australian Sex Party.  At least their policies will be interesting and engaging.  I now understand why so few people have bothered to read through the Australian Greens’ policies.  They’re so utterly banal, vague, and dull.  And bureaucratic.  ‘We’ll create a ministerial position/we’ll create an office in Prime Minister and Cabinet/we’ll create a regulatory body who’ll do random checks on people’.  Do we really need more public servants to make everything better?  That said, if somebody would like to defend some of their policies, I would be very grateful.  This exercise in being a responsible voter is depressing me.

Ah, well.  The last three categories of policies from the Greens will have to wait until later.

3 responses to ““Just paint your face” the shadows smile… The policies of the Greens, part 2”

  1. Our best science says that GM food doesn’t pose an existential threat to us, and selling the products of research will help fund further research into the field.

    Not really. But I can’t be arsed to argue about it.

  2. I look forward to your fair and balanced analysis of the policies the Greens MPs have actually announced on current issues.

  3. Mark, I like read this stuff. But a note on the stuff up the top about parties not following their platform. While I agree it seems incongruios (right word?), it is certainly a fact of Australian politics. The ALP still have the word ‘socialist’ in their party platform but the last socialist thing which came out of Julia Gillard’s mouth was the knife which stabbed KRudd in the heart.

    In this day and age, it matters not what any party has in their policy positions or, to quote the last commenter, media announcements on current issues, because you cannot not judge anything before it has occurred. When was the last time that a party actually implemented it’s policies from stratch when they were elected? Or, for a Green example, advocated for strict policy interpretation when they were negotiating with other political parties? It just doesn’t happen which is a sad indication for Australian politics in the current environment.

    Btw Mark, I have a new blog which isn’t just basketball related and you might find a bit more engaging. – look forward to catching up on saturday

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