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Monday 08 November 2010

Backgrounder: The Australian Greens

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 16th August 2010

After covering the repulsive antics of the federal Australian Liberals and ALP last week, it is far more pleasant to profile the federal Australian Greens instead.

While the federal Australian Greens were formed in 1992, their beginnings can be dated from the United Tasmania Group, which claimed to be the world's first green political party, although our Greens might dispute that, given that they evolved from the Values Party, which formed around the same time. During the early eighties, the Australian environmental movement scored one of their landmark victories, successfully preventing the expansion of Tasmania's Franklin Dam and the flooding of Lake Pedder, after the federal government intervened in 1982.

Given that Tasmania has a highly proportional Single Transferable Vote electoral system, Bob Brown, a medical practitioner and out gay man, accquired a state parliamentary seat in 1977. In 1989, he became leader of the newly formed Tasmanian Greens political party and in 1992, he became an elected Green Senator for Tasmania. In 2010, the Australian Greens have five federal senators, three of whom are women. Brown became their first leader in 2005, and is the first out gay man to lead an Australian political party.

The Australian Greens have been a beacon of sanity over issues like antinuclear policies, uranium mining, humane treatment of refugees and asylum seekers and opposed Australian entanglement in the Iraqi War quagmire after 2003. From 2004, the Australian Greens have opposed the federal same-sex marriage ban, and tried to remove it earlier this year. The Exclusive Brethren cult and Tasmanian forestry companies have repeatedly attacked Senator Brown over his opposition to their expansion and possible endangerment of rare Tasmanian bird species.

Given the craven social conservatism of the federal Australian Liberals and ALP, they may well end up winning Australian House of Representatives seats at the forthcoming federal election.

Useful Websites:

Australian Greens:
Senator Bob Brown:
Australian Greens Blog:

Craig Young - 16th August 2010

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