Monday, 16 March 2009

Greens not up to it

The Courier Mail reports that that three days after securing a Greens preference deal, Anna Bligh said that they are unworthy of being considered an "alternate" government.

Bligh was responding to a question about the Greens on social networking site Twitter:
  • "they're certainly not an alternate govt (sic)".

However Premier Bligh immediately tried to erase her comment, deleting the post less than three minutes after it went public.

On Friday afternoon, Bligh's campaign team said that, "unless Twitter messages or 'tweets' from the account were specifically tagged otherwise, they had been personally written by Ms Bligh."

"No secret - Premier's personal tweets are unmarked, tweets uploaded by the team marked Anna4QldTeam," the Twitter message said.

The Courier Mail reported...

  • If you visit Anna Bligh's official Twitter page the comment sledging the Greens will not be seen, but the offending post can easily be found in a search. Posted Twitter messages can be deleted, but they will only be erased from the user's page; messages posted on Twitter live forever in Twitter Search.

    This is not the first time Anna Bligh has been caught out deleting messages on Twitter.
    The premier was in Mt Isa on March 5 and tweeted: "I'm in Mt Isa. It's looking very green and the river is flowing".

    Bemused Twitter user Joshua Withers replied: "which Mount Isa are you at?"
    Without acknowledging Mr Withers or referencing her previous tweet,
    Ms Bligh deleted the first message and posted a second , identical except for the words "and the river is flowing".

    While Ms Bligh's campaign team have been active on Twitter since their
    first update at noon on February 18 , they have routinely ignored questions from the public, and news organisations, on the social networking site.

The preference deal for 14 electorates was announced by the Greens on Thursday last week. It's an odd endorsement following a scathing environmental report criticising Labor's last 10 years in Queensland.

Meanwhile, Traveston should be named the 'Ronan Lee Dam' if Labor wins LNP's Shadow Environment Minister David Gibson says.

Damming the Mary River at Traveston was a priority of Labor - so they should name the dam after Ronan Lee should they win government on the back of Greens' preferences, Gibson says.

Gibson says many were rightly disgusted by the hypocrisy shown by Ronan Lee and the Queensland Greens.

"They are angry they have been used as a bargaining chip by Labor and the Greens," Mr Gibson said. "Last Wednesday, as south east Queensland's worst environmental disaster was unfolding Ronan Lee was locked away with his old Labor Party mates doing a deal to save himself rather than the environment."

"Like a watermelon, Mr Lee has a green skin but maintains his red Labor core. If Ronan Lee is prepared to bargain away the Mary River, what other important environment issues is he prepared to sacrifice for his own benefit?"

4 comments:

Bryan Law said...

This is a story from last Friday’s Australian, which I think gets it just about right in relation to Green preferences. Sean Parnell labels it a “highly cynical move”. http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25179299-2702,00.html

The first thing which needs to be said is that the preference decision by the Greens was in no way democratic. It was made in Brisbane – effectively by Ronan Lee and Drew Hutton, and it involved no consultation whatsoever with either Green members or candidates. The candidates in all 14 seats (including Sarah Isaac in Barron River) have simply been told to go along with the decision.

The preference negotiating team for the Greens was stitched up in September last year at a meeting where no regional Greens delegates attended. I’m informed that every Greens branch “north of Indooroopilly” considers the current preference negotiations to be a giant mistake which might undermine the integrity of the Queensland Greens.

Having said that, I attended a Greens campaign organising meeting for Barron River, and it was clear a significant number of local Greens did not want to even consider preferencing the LNP. Lawrence Springborg’s subsequent support for Uranium mining was the final nail in the coffin as far as Greens/LNP relations went.

However the discussion about preferencing the ALP was more textured, with several complaints that Labor had failed to honour earlier promises and could not be trusted. Those who supported preferences for Labor thought that any government which owed its continuation in office to Green preferences (and Labor in Queensland depends on them utterly this time around) would really have to perform if it wanted to keep them.

Certainly Anna Bligh, at the ALP campaign launch yesterday, announced a swag of “green” policies (hot water systems, vegetation clearing, wild rivers, Cape York walking track) that appear designed to meet urban green expectations. The ALP has also agreed to preference Ronan Lee in Indooroopilly, which gives him the best chance ever of being a Green elected to parliament in Queensland – and some prospect of being an influential cross-bencher.

So in a highly cynical way the metropolitan Greens are playing for a seat in parliament and an enhanced legislative program. There are a few down-sides they ought have considered:

The ALP might lose the election, and the Greens have burned their bridges. A significant risk, but smaller than some, and probably not unfixable.

The ALP might win the election and then simply dud the Greens and go slow (or even slower) on the legislative program while continuing to pour money into coal and real estate. An even bigger risk, and one the Greens will have great difficulty rectifying because they’ve yet to show any back-bone when it comes to dealing with the Labor Party. Ronan Lee will be characterised as a Labor wolf in Bilby’s clothing by the LNP.

Even if the strategy is successful, key elements of the legislative program will ensure sharp conflict emerges in far north Queensland and cape York Peninsula between greens and Aborigines. Two elements which are apparently critical down south (Wild Rivers and World Heritage for Cape York) were not even mentioned at the Barron River meeting because regional Aboriginal groups are bitterly opposed to them.

The Barron River Greens did a great job as allies to the historical peoples of Mona Mona. I’ll be interested to see how they handle relations with the peoples of cape York and the Indigenous Environment Foundation. By relying on a cynical and unprincipled manipulation of Parliamentary politics the Queensland Greens may just be sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

I hope not, but then I live in Cairns, where the Greens candidate is refusing to allocate preferences, and where grass-roots greens are free to vote their preference for whichever Party they like, based on the record and the prospects for meaningful change.

I suppose that, really, all voters in every seat are entitled to do that in the privacy of the ballot box. I’m giving my second preference to Joel Harrop.

Tom said...

Bryan, a party and/or its candidates can only 'recommend' where its voter preferences go and voters everywhere are free to vote their preference for whichever party they prefer ... or to none if they so choose. Green voters in particular are astute enough to know that. The assumption that a party can 'tell' its supporters who they should preference is an insult to our collective intelligence perpetuated by all parties.

Dick Davis said...

If you are going to talk preferences, it is probably worth mentioning "optional preferential"

Before you get too excited about where the 2's are going, it is worth remembering, that a huge chunk of people (whether intentional or otherwise) are going to just vote 1.

In a close call for the majors every secondary is going to count, but under the voting system we have in Queensland the likelihood of passing them on is greatly reduced.

Preference flow just aint what it used to be....

Dick Davis said...

If you are going to talk preferences, it is probably worth mentioning "optional preferential"

Before you get too excited about where the 2's are going, it is worth remembering, that a huge chunk of people (whether intentional or otherwise) are going to just vote 1.

In a close call for the majors every secondary is going to count, but under the voting system we have in Queensland the likelihood of passing them on is greatly reduced.

Preference flow just aint what it used to be....