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Deal or No Deal: Consensus works both ways Bob.


It's time to show your true colours

The Greens find themselves in a unique position to begin change. It is something the most ardent green supporter has wished for. But as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.

The Greens spoke a lot about the new paradigm and consensus politics. They have to understand that this works both ways. While Adam Bandt’s vote helped secure Julia Gillard to form Government, they are NOT the Government.

It would be nice if Australia cuts the need for coal power tomorrow. But that is neither realistic or practical. There will always be a need for coal; it’s a simple and cheap fuel.  Now we can MOVE to less need for coal, but there will always be a need for coal.

While it would be nice to have certain targets for a set year, it would be nicer to actually to start moving period.

While it would be great to save the Murray Darling Basin tomorrow, that is not going to be feasible.

To maintain enough cash for green initiatives, we have to maintain a strong economy. If the economy suffers, then people will be people. When given a choice between doing a nice thing for the survival of the future and doing something for the survival of their children now, watch them pick the latter every time.

So when you talk about consensus politics Bob, its a two way street. While I have a lot of respect for your principles, you have to ground those principles in realistic goals.

You can’t hold people at ransom on these issues as it will back fire on you big time. If the ALP  offer you less than what you wish and you reject it, they may turn around and deal with the Coalition and the offer you thought was low may seem high by comparison.

No one likes to see gunshot politics. Trust me on this. If you make demands and adamantly stick to them, then you can end up relegated to the sidelines on your own issues and be painted as fundamentalists by both parties as it is in their interest to eliminate you as a viable party.

Conversely, if your approach is economically viable and is designed in a flexible way that allows for the ability to take doable steps, then this is a good thing. Yes this may mean that your set goals on some things may take a few years longer to reach, but it also allows you to show Australia that not only will your policies work, but you are an advocate of consensus.

Lets look at the issue of a Carbon price. Greg Combet, in an address to Carbon Expo in Melbourne said:

“The simple fact is that the longer we delay a carbon price, the sharper the adjustment that will be required and the greater the economic cost, which is why the business community is calling for this reform to be made.”

So in a way Bob that’s a good thing.  It means a start can happen soon. But if I know you Bob, you would not like his next statement.

“While a potential carbon tax has received a lot of media and public commentary in recent times, it would be incorrect for people to assume that this is the market mechanism that will be inevitably selected.”


See basically what I read here is the ALP are not prepared to give you everything you want. Nor should they. And if you can not come to terms on a reasonable acceptable price on Carbon with the ALP, they will cut you out and go back to the Coalition. You may think this a little far fetched, but it is not. Even the business community is lobbying the Coalition to get involved. They obviously want something, but do not want to to be a Green extreme response. Again, Mr Combet spelled it out.

Now I know you may think this a bullying of your position, but it’s a reminder that your position is not all that strong. Legislation can get in with you or without.

The other legislation is the Murray Darling Basin Authority plan.

I saw and hear Sarah Hanson-Young make her position clear on the Friday the plan was released.

“Now we desperately need reform to reduce the amount of water we take out of the system, and return it to the river,” she said in a statement on Friday.

“To do that, we can’t afford to have the recommendations watered down.

“If we want to save the river, this is what we have to do, otherwise everyone loses.”


So there you are Bob. You can try and push your plans at all cost, or you soften the rhetoric and reign in your people.

What people tend to forget is who’s instigated this plan.

How did the MDB Plan come about ?

Following the worst recorded drought year in over 100 years in 2006 as well as facing another election without an environmental legacy,  the then Prime Minister John Howard convened a summit (November 2006) on the southern Murray-Darling Basin (MDB). At this summit the MDB State Premiers along with the Prime Minister commissioned the CSIRO to report on sustainable yields of surface and groundwater systems within the MDB which was released in October 2008.

On the 25 January 2007, Howard announced his $10 billion 10 point plan called the National Plan for Water Security.  Point 5 of the 10 point plan included “a new set of governance arrangements for the Murray-Darling Basin;” At the water summit of 23 February 2007, NSW, South Australia and Queensland agreed to refer relevant constitutional powers to the Commonwealth to enable it to manage the MDB in the national interest and the ACT agreed to cooperate fully. Victoria continued to negotiate with the Commonwealth to identify “mutually satisfactory ways of achieving agreed outcomes”.

The Victorian government’s refusal to join other states in agreeing to give up powers to the Commonwealth led the federal government to use constitutional powers (using section 51 (xxix) External Affairs power) instead of referral power from the states. Therefore the Minister for Environment and Water Resources at the time, Malcolm Turnbull, introduced the Bill to enable the Water Act 2007 in August which was successfully passed through by both political parties.


See I had to ask myself, why has not Tony Abbott made a big deal about this outcome? I have seen Liberal MP’s from the effected electorates, I have seen Barnaby Joyce even though his electorate lies much further North, but I have not seen Mr Abbott.

This report is the plan the Coalition was planning for! Or rather the Liberals. You see Sharman Stone (LIB) and Barnaby Joyce are making hay of the argument because they want more money. Short and sweet. They may talk the talk in public and in front of cameras, but the plan is a sound one. By making the reductions, sure some farmers will not be able to fully crop their land, but without water, they could not do that either. This plan allows them to sustain-ably farm come hell, high water, or drought. It means they can plan once more and not worry about what a lack of irrigation may do to those plans.

If you do not come to terms here with the ALP, then you can bet that Julia Gillard will make a deal with the Coalition and you will be effectively neutered. Addressing these issues are vital to both major parties. As I said, once the concerns of the environment has been addressed, then the need for the Greens becomes null and void.

I do not need to tell you that both parties will prefer to see that. That’s an extra million odd votes that you don’t get and they do and they will not need to worry about the loony greens.

So there you have it Mr Brown. Can you make good at the art of consensus politics that you goaded both parties to do in the lead up to September 7th? Will you be prepared to get off the high horse if you need to? Will you push the ALP towards the Coalition? Will you push the Coalition to the ALP? Or will you take the unique position you are currently in to increase the support of your party by showing the Australian people that you are prepared to come to an agreement that is best for the country and not just your party?

Or do you intend to have a Bob each way?

Deal? Or No Deal?

A. Ghebranious   2010         All Rights Reserved.

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