After the retirement of Bob Brown, new Greens leader Christine Milne signalled her intention to expand her party’s constituency into rural Australia. Despite the negative impact Green policies have had on the bush, not least the incoming carbon tax, there is actually some common ground there, such as a shared opposition to coal-seam gas, free trade and foreign investment. These positions, while likely to strike a chord in rural communities, are unlikely to overcome the Greens views on other issues.
“The Greens have a problem with coal-seam gas, as does the Coalition,” Senator Joyce said. “But the Greens also have problems with rodeos, irrigation, live cattle exports, and they want a 50 per cent top tax rate and death duties. They would have us living as hunter-gatherers scrambling for survival on the forest floor.”
Fortunately, it is an uphill battle for the Greens to begin with, to eat into the dominance the Nationals have, but then we consider another factor that they will have to contend with, and that is competition from the new kid on the block. That new kid would be Bob Katter’s Australian Party. The KAP have the same anti–free market agenda, yet their other ideas don’t sell out the bush. The Greens cannot offer rural Australia anything it cannot get from the KAP.
While I don’t agree with Katter’s opposition to the free market, the KAP will help to keep the Greens out of parliament, and they also bring a healthy dose of climate change skepticism to the public arena.