The Centre Stage Spotlight: Greens and PHON’s Big Exploit

Some people have been blown away at recent results finding the Greens in a position where they have an opportunity to become balance of power or merely by just being the more preferred party over the two majorities in some electorates, but I’m not suprised at all. In fact the writing has been on the wall for a long time now.

The Greens as I have previously raised, do not infact represent the working-class, rather they merely campaign to appear as if they do. They have more in common with the inner city, wealthy elite of the Liberal party rather than the struggling working-class in the suburbs. Just like the Greens, this approach has been adopted by another ambitious minor party, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation. PHON are more popular in some electorates, mostly regional areas, over the major parties and in those electorates PHON has them eating out of her hands. They do there best to appeal to the struggles of the working-class, sure with less flash than the Greens bit still just as effective. Take a look at the “battler-bus” for an example of appealing to working class, the approach is different but is much of the same.

So what is the reason for this? Well mostly it’s the Greens and PHON’s ability to appeal to the working-class without actually being able or willing to do so. One of the perks of being a minor party is never being in a position to actually create legislation and deliver on those pesky pre-election promises. However, not all credit is to be given to the Greens and PHON, a lot has to do with Labor losing a bit of focus on our primary support base.

Over the years, our message as the “workers party” has been hidden behind other well deserving agendas but has slowly stepped out of the center spotlight. This is because, Labor too is ambitious, and rightly so, however, many blue collar workers who are the parties primary supporter base, feel as if they have been neglected. Which by any measurement is incorrect, we have just picked up a lot more goals but it’s getting mixed up with our message.

This is where both the Greens and PHON come in. While the Labor’s center stage spotlight appears to be away from the working-class, the two minor parties work tireless to appeal to it.

PHON claim to represent blue collar workers, battlers and lower income households, yet they support cuts to penalty rates, the attack on workers and unions. They have more in common with the far right of the LNP than they do with the blue collar working class. The Greens however, claim to represent white collar workers and again lower income earners, yet they support in many cases attacks on workers rights, corporations over workers and actually appeal to high income earners with a social conscience. They have more in common with the Left of the LNP.

What Labor needs to do moving forward is to put the working class issues back into the centre stage spotlight by focusing on Jobs, Workers Rights, Industry, Health and Education. When we focus and deliver on these issues, the working-class are more than happy about any progressive position the party takes as long as the working-class come first.

Time to put the working class back into the centre stage spotlight.

Jamie A Scicluna

One thought on “The Centre Stage Spotlight: Greens and PHON’s Big Exploit

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  1. An i teresting analysis, but I think it errs. The Greens have more in common with the Nationals.

    The Liberals have long known that their core message, and their core cadre of representatives go down like a lead balloon in the bush. The effete, Grange drinking, Range Rover driving, sometimes socially progressive, inner city Liberal leaves bush voters cold. So they’ve co-opted the Nats. A bunch of yokels with hayseeds in their hair and a glint in their eyes that makes the nearest sheep nervous. Who can say what ever it takes to get the bush to vote for them. And the Torys know that they will never have to implement much of what the Nats promise their constituency. A bridge here, a dam there and they are in sweet. We already endlessly point out that the Nats are terrible representatives of their seats, but it generally fails to resonate, we say it over and over, but it brings us little traction.

    We should be doing the same with the Greens. The enemy of our enemy is our friend. The core message of Labor is not resonating with the gentrifying inner suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney any longer. The well off, tertiary educated, progressive voter is deserting us for the Greens. We can fight to retain these seats and expend endless treasure fighting a loosing battle in the long term, or (and this bit really sticks in my craw) be clever like the Libs. Co-opt the Greens. Bring them into the tent. Yes it means we will loose inner city seats in Melbourne and Sydney, and maybe Brisbane. Adelaide is different, Xenophon has successfully tapped into the sentiment there that supported Steele Hall’s Liberal movement, and Robin Millhouse’s Australia Party which then became the core of the Democrats in SA. What should be Green heartland in SA is going for Mr X. A Labor-Green coalition even has the chance to take some of the seats in progressive Liberal country, and maybe even in the Hippie Belt of the far North NSW Coast. Yes the reactive side of Australian politics will deride such a Coalition. They already do. Why? Not because they are scornful of it, but because they are shit scared of it. They recognise it, they know this beast, they know such coalitions work because THEY USE EXACTLY THIS TACTIC TO MAXIMISE THEIR VOTE. They have belatedly come to realise their merger in Queensland has denied them this tactic, and already are making noises to go back to the time honoured and tested formula. Flirtation with the tin foil hat crazies in PHON is costing them, they have only, tried this to repeat their coalition tactic. They have only tried this because in Queensland the merger removed their coalition and ability to run two platforms, and in WA they have never had a proper working relationship. In both cases they sought to restablish what they know to be a winning formula, in fact the only winning formula they know.

    Sun Tzu says you fight the battles you can win, and you don’t fight the battles you will loose. We can fight the Greens forever, and if we do we will keep loosing. We will deny ourselves government just to say “up yours” to a niche progressive party that could instead deliver us a swag of seats and the Government benches on a regular basis. It’s only from the Government benches we can deliver our programmes. At the cost of a National Park here, and a renewable energy scheme there. Sounds like a bargain to me.


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