One of the consequences of the creeping advance of political correctness that constrains debate in academia, bureaucracy, politics and the media is that the extreme left is normalised. In the polite society of the political/media class, overt condemnation is reserved for the hard right while even the most anarchic or obscene contributions from the green left are tolerated, apparently because their intentions might be pure.
How else to explain why the hateful and inane intercessions of the Greens are tolerated and amplified in national affairs, often without vigorous challenge from journalists or other left-of-centre politicians? Radical views from the far left are now everyday fare on social media, while public broadcasters and even News Corp’s Sky News provide it with a platform despite its stubbornly niche voter support. This skews debate and helps drag our political class further to the left.
The Greens long ago expanded their remit from protecting forests and rivers to a broader and more extreme mission. More than three decades after blocking the Franklin River dam, the Greens behave with radical internationalist fervour as their activism undermines our institutions, undercuts our economy, sabotages our borders, divides our society and opposes our alliances.
In recent weeks, Greens leader Richard Di Natale has trolled the nation by demonising Australia Day. “It’s a day that represents an act of dispossession, an act of theft,” he said. “It’s a day that represents the beginning of an ongoing genocide, the slaughter of so many Aboriginal people.”
And these are the words of someone whose freedom, upbringing, education, prosperity and career have been bestowed as a consequence of the settlement that began on January 26, 1788.
This week another Greens MP, Adam Bandt, attacked the nation’s newest senator, Jim Molan, who led Australian and US forces in battles against insurgents and Islamist extremists in Iraq. Bandt and others took exception to some videos Molan had shared on social media not because of the content but because of the organisation that had originally posted them.
“When you share white supremacists’ videos and justify it by saying ‘I’m doing it to stimulate debate’, you’re a coward. You’re a complete coward,” Bandt told Sky News. “I tell you what … if there was a proper inquiry into the war in Iraq in Australia … I think you’d find Jim Molan would probably be up for prosecution rather than praise.” (Threatened with defamation, Bandt first issued a graceless apology, then a more substantial one yesterday.)
Bandt’s response to the war on terror, as he tells it, was to write a PhD exploring the interplay between Marxism, globalisation, workplace relations and the rule of law. Molan’s was to risk his life in the service of his nation, defending people in Iraq who wanted freedom and democracy.
Yet the Greens decried Molan as the coward.
These are more than attacks on our national day or a military hero: they point to a broader agenda where the Greens tilt at the fundamental strengths of our nation. Our borders, for instance, are the foundation of our sovereignty but the Greens have long promoted open borders and for a few years under Labor we saw a living experiment of their ideal. Despite 800 boats arriving with more than 50,000 asylum-seekers, giving us the trauma of detention centres filled in every state and at least 1200 people dying in attempts to join the rush, the Greens still argue for this approach.
With many Labor MPs sympathetic, leftist media activism ongoing and Greens votes needed in the Senate, a future Shorten government would be drawn to softer border policies like a Greens senator to a student rally. This would be disastrous for our regional diplomacy, finances and, most importantly, immigration system. The high level of public support for immigration and our multi-ethnic society is founded on an orderly system. We mess with that, as we have seen, at our peril. Not to mention the unfairness to refugees legitimately trying to get access to our humanitarian program who don’t have money to pay criminal people-smugglers.
On the economy, the Greens campaign against our second largest export industry, coal. Never mind how we would replace more than $50 billion in exports, $5bn in royalties or 75 per cent of our national electricity generation: there is the issue of replacing 51,000 jobs, so many families that do not seem to matter to the Greens.
Even if you accept the Greens want to scrap our coal industry in order to reduce global carbon emissions (it wouldn’t because China and India would buy their coal elsewhere) we still have to reconcile their opposition to nuclear power, yet another energy source we have in abundance and export to the world but which the Greens oppose.
When they inveigled themselves into a rainbow coalition with Julia Gillard’s Labor, the Greens forced the introduction of a carbon tax that Gillard had ruled out. This not only destroyed her government but consigned climate policy to another decade of dysfunction. When you recall it was the Greens who conspired with the Coalition to twice vote down Kevin Rudd’s emissions trading scheme, you can see this party of so-called environmentalists has vandalised climate policy.
The Greens support a range of positions most voters find abhorrent, such as legalising drugs, increasing taxes and ending the US alliance. “As long as taking drugs is illegal, governments can and do create environments in which people are at greater risk when they choose to use drugs,” Di Natale told his party’s conference last year. On coal he said: “We Greens and our movement are the only thing that will keep the coal from Adani’s mine in the ground.” And on the alliance, he referred to activists speaking out “against wars fought overseas in support of American imperialism”.
This is the sort of dreamworld posturing we might hear from student activists, dishevelled academics or UN bureaucrats. Six years ago, then Greens leader Bob Brown opened a speech by welcoming his “fellow Earthians”. The Greens espouse a John Lennon-style imagine-there’s-no-countries idealism that has no currency in the real world.
If people spouted this sort of stuff at barbecues or front bars beyond their university years, friends would either say they are bonkers or find an excuse to leave. The Greens are a fringe group, the loony left that attracted only 8.7 per cent of the national Senate vote last year. Yet their contributions are often provided at length, and largely unchallenged, on the public broadcasters and the Sky News daytime political coverage.
Sure, they have crucial Senate votes and are part of the political equation. But their wacky views should be challenged, exposed and derided at least as much, and probably more than, the fringe parties of the right.
Labor is chasing the Greens to the left: repeating the Occupy Wall Street inequality mantra, adopting an anti-corruption commission and toughening criticism of Adani. And, encouraged by social media and 24/7 political/media class broadcasting, the political debate is shifting with it.
In the short term, this is good news for Malcolm Turnbull as Labor runs the risk of frightening centrist voters away. But in the long term our major parties need to find a way to coalesce around mainstream values again. The Greens’ vision for Australia needs to be marginalised because it would undermine our economy, borders, alliances and character, rendering us unrecognisable and unsustainable.
Turnbull could demonstrate he understands all this by running a candidate in Batman and preferencing the Greens last.