Andrew Bartlett posts today at Crikey on the political prospects of The Greens as a third party in our 'two party' system. In his (always insightful) analysis he makes mention of the inevitable internal tensions about direction within the Greens over whether their effort to grow the party's support base should focus on trying to consolidate "the more doctrinaire left wing vote" or "broaden their appeal to capture some of the 'small l' liberal1 vote that the Democrats2 used to get."
The Australian Democrats are in a hard place right now, but I for one, hope we haven't seen the last of them. For me the Democrats have represented (and still do represent) a level of rationality in policy formation that we simply don't see from the big parties. I also feel they've fought hard over many years to improve democracy in Australia, especially in regards to the under-representation many sections in Australian society3 experience.
But getting back on topic, Mike over at STOTC has been hard at work trawling through Hansard looking for any evicence that someone, anyone, in the halls of power might be paying attention to Labor's diabolical plans to censor the internet - hopefully with a view to stopping them. It turns out Greens senator Scott Ludlam is paying attention and he's even asking most of the right questions4. Mike has picked out the juicy parts (as in, the really, really, horrifyingly bad parts) of what Senator Conroy had to say in reply. My favourite5 part is when Senator Conroy assumes:
I am sure I have unfortunately probably seen a wider range of commentary than you have, Senator Ludlam.
It's possible, sure, but does that mean you automatically know better, Senator? It was disappointing to see the reports confirmed as fact that under their plans it will not be possible to completely opt out of a filtered internet.
As I said, we are in the early stages. But we are looking at two tiers-mandatory of illegal material and an option for families to get a clean feed service if they wish.
The standard line seemed to be "as I said, we are at the early stages." I wouldn't exactly call a live trial 'early stages'; especially when the trials are likely to cost in the order of millions of dollars. I wonder who the unlucky customers will be.
- That's me. [↩]
- That's also me. [↩]
- Reading recently about the New Zealand electoral system and their version of MMP, has only served to highlight just how just how inadequate I'm beginning to feel political representation is in Australia. [↩]
- Maybe he's on the side of broadening the Greens appeal and trying to capture some of that 'small l' vote. [↩]
- Again, favourite as in, OMG how could prominent and important members of our Government be so ignorant. [↩]