The A-Z of Smearing the Greens

In the Age/SMH today Paul Sheehan has a ridiculous piece attacking the Greens. His starting point is that the Greens are a fraud because Adam Bandt’s first bill is about same sex marriage, not the environment. Nevermind that this has always been an issue for the Greens, Sheehan chooses to pretend that the Greens actually never talk about anything apart from the environment (despite the fact that he points out various other issues where he disagrees with the Greens in the rest of the piece). The Greens have a wide range of policies available on their website, advertised in printed materials they produce, written into their charter , and various Greens MPs around the country have worked on a wide variety of issues. Sheehan’s piece only goes downhill after starting with this preposterous straw-man. He continues with an A-Z of why the Greens are a fraud.

A: ABCC – this seems to really be about the Greens support for Ark Tribe who was threatened with 6 months gaol for attending an unauthorised safety meeting. He recently won this case in court. This is about a law that unfairly targets certain types of workers with extraordinary coercive powers, the Greens have long supported fairer industrial relations laws, this is nothing new.

B: Boat People – a “left wing obsession” according to Sheehan, even though it is the Liberals who consistently use the issue as a political football.

C:China – his point is that Australian emissions are so much lower than China’s that we shouldn’t bother reducing CO2 emissions. The problem with this is that every country could make a similar argument – i.e. their emissions are only a small fraction, and hence no-one ever does anything. What the Greens advocate is international cooperation, Australia can’t sit back and expect everyone else to take action while we do nothing. What’s more, it is not just the Greens who think Australia need a policy for CO2 reduction, both major parties have acknowledged this.

D: Decadal Oscillation. Only a matter of time before Sheehan gets into climate denial (remember that he’s a Plimer fan). He says the Greens are a fraud because they believe in climate change caused by Co2 rather than the Pacific and Atlantic Decadal Oscillations. These are periodic exchanges of heat in the ocean, which occur in cycles of about 20 to 30 years. They don’t add heat to the system, they just move it about. It is impossible for them to explain the overall warming trend (which is however well explained by Co2). Scientists are well aware of these phenomenon (who do you think identified them), both these oscillations and CO2 caused global warming are well accepted parts of mainstream science and the former does not invalidate the latter. Once again he’s also criticising the Greens for a stance shared by Labor, at least some Liberals, and most Governments around the world, based on mainstream science supported by all of the world’s top scientific bodies.

E – ETU. The Greens got a donation from a union. The Greens openly disclose all donations above $1500, even after the law was changed to set the limit at $10000. What’s the point here?

F – Finance. Sheehan criticises Bob Brown for wanting tighter controls on banks (isn’t that what Joe Hockey has been calling for?) and the NSW Greens for the campaign finance reform there (i.e. the bill to ban developer donations which the Greens amended to include tobacco, gambling and liquor). For anyone who has actually read Greens policies this is not a surprising thing for them to support.

G – Get Up. A non sequitur. What does this have to do with the Greens? They are a separate organisation who happen to share the same views on many issues.

H – Heroin Injecting Room. The scary way of saying evidence based drugs policy based on treating drug addiction as a medical rather than criminal problem. Supported by many relevant professional organisations (lots of quotes here). Once again remember that the point of this piece is that the Greens are fraudulently hiding their non-environmental agenda yet this issue has been highlighted by opponents at every election that I can remember. Who doesn’t know about this?

I: Immigration. There’s a detour on the Greens not supporting the ETS (yes, strange given that the Greens are secretly communists and Global warming is a communist conspiracy) … I guess he’d already used up E on something else. And then another go at the Greens for wanting to treat refugees humanely. Given that most boat people are accepted as refugees anyway (and they are a tiny proportion of our immigrant intake) I don’t see that this policy has a huge effect on CO2 emissions.

J: James Price Point. I wasn’t previously aware of this one, it’s a site in WA where the government approved an oil & gas development which supposedly Bob Brown was against after visiting for 30mins. The Greens opposition was nothing to do with Bob Brown’s visit, the WA Greens Senators have done the work on this and oppose it because the Govt has failed to follow proper procedures – for example read about it here. To say that Greens policy was based on Bob Brown’s decision after a 30 minute visit is a gross misrepresentation. The high profile Greens leader visited the site to help raise awareness of the issue.

K: Kickbacks. No content, just a reference to ABCC & Get Up which makes no sense. Where were these kickbacks then? This is just a baseless smear.

L: Lee Rhiannon is from a communist family. That’s it. She responds here.

M: Murray Darling Basin. I think he’s trying to blame the greens for the outcomes of the Murray Darling Basin Authority report. Also it’s the Greens fault that people will have less water … nothing to do with overallocation or global warming (which is of course a communist conspiracy possibly invented by Lee Rhiannon’s family) or the simple fact that we can’t go on taking out water at an unsustainable rate.

N: NBN. The Greens are responsible for this as well. They failed to back a Liberals motion for a cost benefit analysis of the NBN. Crikey’s Possum  says

When people tell you that we need a CBA on the NBN to determine whether it should go ahead, they are either being deliberate mischief makers (like, say, Malcolm Turnbull who would understand the reality, but needs to run political lines) or they are just simply ignorant – and that includes the media commentators and some surprising arsehats from the financial sector who bloody well should know better.

Of course this was also blocked by the lower house independents (including Bob Katter) and Nick Xenophon in the Senate also didn’t support it. Only the coalition. It’s not as if the Greens just let the NBN go through without subjecting it to scrutiny, for example their successful motion to have the business plan tabled.

O: OBAMA. I guess there aren’t that many words starting with O.

P: Profiteering. Apparently this word appears on the Greens website a lot. What does this have to do with Sheehan’s point? Does anyone remember if he has one?

Q: Quantitative Analysis – claimed to be alien to the Greens. Where is Sheehan’s analysis that shows that the PDO is responsible for climate change?  Did he do the analysis on Magic Water? He attacks “worst-case computer modelling” whatever that is, but it’s not unusual for climate change deniers to deny the validity of any computer modelling. He claims that the Greens prefer “symbolic or moral analysis” … I don’t know what that is either but it sounds a bit like what Sheehan is doing in this article.

R: River Red Gums. Supposedly the NSW Greens campaign to restrict logging was based on ideological purity. Read the details yourself. Also, isn’t Sheehan accusing the Greens of being frauds for not just pursuing environmental goals … like this one?.

S: Same-Sex Marriage … where it started. It’s still a stupid straw man argument, but somewhat diluted by the silly arguments that have been presented subsequently.

T: Tax. Sheehan plays a sort of association word game to end up with “command economy” – he lets the reader make the very last assocation themselves (hint: c_mm_n_sts).

U: Urban Heat Islands. Apparently responsible for climate change. Except they’re not. Non-urban sites are also warming. And once again the Greens are criticised for accepting mainstream science. And once again criticised for their environmental policy in an article supposedly criticising them for having policies not about the environment.

V: Voodoo Economics. I don’t think he knows what that term means. If the Greens actually were secretly wanting to implement Reganomics that would be the kind of scandal he’s after though. Let’s just take it as a generic term for bad economics. Of course the Greens shouldn’t have an economics policy at all since they’re only allowed environmental policies, but anyway, as pointed out in an earlier post some prominent economists of quite different political persuasions were still happy to advocate votes for the Greens at the last election, so just how extreme are their policies? I think the most extreme economic policies are those that assume infinite growth and ignore climate change.

W: Wild Rivers. Once again … this is an argument that the Greens aren’t pursuing environmental policies? In this case he tries to paint the Greens as ignoring the interests of aboriginal communities. In this case there are aboriginal leaders on both sides of the debate, so it is more complicated than that. It’s a piece of simplistic point-scoring (and yet another in a long line of Liberal talking points) from Sheehan that doesn’t take into account the complexities of the issue.

X: X-rated content. Apparently the Greens are permissive on porn. This maybe comes from the whole web-filter debate (i.e. another case where the Greens side with the experts)? I don’t know, Sheehan doesn’t provide details. Another baseless smear then.

Y: Yellowcake – a clean fuel source. Yes, clean. I imagine that if the Greens supported nuclear power then that would be on this list as evidence that they were abandoning their environmental policies!

Z: Zionism. Back to the Lee Rhiannon obsession since she has been at a rally protesting the attack on the peace flotilla. You know, from the party whose freely available charter advocates peace and non-violence. Joining in a huge international chorus of protest over the use of excessive force. But obviously it’s not about that, it’s about “loathing Israel”.

It’s too bad Loon Pond is having a break. Fortunately Pure Poison isn’t.

Just noticed that Grog is onto it as well, worth reading as always.

Update: Bob Brown replies.