Tuesday, September 24, 2013

BDS: The Greens' Achilles' Heel

Ever get the feeling that Labor governments spend way too much time paving the way for Liberal slashers and burners? Here, for example, is a case in point: "Labor leadership aspirants Anthony Albanese and Bill Shorten say they will try to reverse the Gillard government's decision to move single parents onto the dole when their youngest child turned eight... The Coalition, however, allowed the cut to go through, and has no plans to reverse it." (Leadership rivals agree: cut for single parents was wrong, Tim Colebatch, Sydney Morning Herald, 23/9/13)

Unfortunately, Labor's not alone in this practice. The Greens too have unwittingly handed the Abbott Government a stick with which to beat them and their pro-environment constituents.

But before I go further, it's useful to recall just how unforgivably wobbly on the subject of the pro-Palestine BDS movement certain leading Greens politicians have been:

"Senator [Bob] Brown said the Israel boycott proposal was against his advice and had alienated NSW voters when the party should have been focusing on bread-and-butter issues." (Greens leader Bob Brown slaps down Lee Rhiannon on Israel boycott policy, James Massola & Joe Kelly, The Australian, 1/4/11)(1)

"Like all Greens, I strongly support the Palestinians, but I watched dismayed as the [BDS] issue was elevated to national prominence." (Greens won't get much further if we repeat poll blunders, Cate Faehrmann, Sydney Morning Herald, 7/4/11)(2)

"The BDS urges various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law. I agree that this tactic has been extremely controversial and its success in Australia has been brought into question." (Cate Faehrmann, NSW Legislative Council, 30/9/11)(3)

"New federal Greens leader Senator Christine Milne has given a fresh assurance that her party does not support the global BDS campaign against Israel. 'That issue is behind us'[,she said]." (Greens leader: BDS 'is behind us', The Australian Jewish News, 20/4/12)(4)

Well, their cowardice and cluelessness on the subject of the Palestinian BDS movement may well be in the process of returning to bite them - and the broader green movement - on the bum:

"Conservation groups seeking boycotts of products linked to alleged poor environmental practices may soon be liable for prosecution under consumer law... Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck told The Australian the move would prevent Green groups from holding companies to ransom in their markets. 'We'll be looking at the way some of the environmental groups work because we are very concerned about some of the activities they conduct in the markets,' Senator Colbeck said. 'They have exemptions for secondary boycott activities under the Consumer & Competition Act.(5) We are going to have a complete review of that act... The timber industry has long complained about green groups organising boycotts and campaigns to pressure their customers not to accept products sourced from so-called high-conservation-value forests." (Companies to get protection from activists' boycotts, Matthew Denholm, The Australian, 23/9/13)

(1) See my 1/4/11 post Bob Brown & A Failure of Courage;
(2) See my 7/4/11 post Murdoch Spooks Faehrmann on Palestine;
(3) See my 16/11/11 post Witches Brew 8;
(4) See my 21/4/12 post Some Questions for Christine Milne.
(5) See my 9/8/11 post Criminalising BDS.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just love the art of reinterpreting what was in the mind of electors AFTER the election.

Of course it happens every election and can now be expected. The result is always self serving and predictable.

For the record I marked the Greens down in NSW because the candidate, Cate Faehrmann, was soft on Palestine and caused trouble for the honest and courageous NSW Upper House Greens who support BDS.

I voted for every senate candidate below the line and did not follow any back room party deal.

The result is that the Greens did not get my first preference.

This would be very confusing for any non Australian to understand who is not familiar with the preferential voting system.