Hugh McDermott for Prospect


Pages tagged "The Greens"

The Precariat – The new dangerous class

by Guy Standing

For the first time in history, the mainstream left has no progressive agenda. It has forgotten a basic principle. Every progressive political movement has been built on the anger, needs and aspirations of the emerging major class. Today that class is the precariat.

So far, the precariat in Europe has been mostly engaged in EuroMayDay parades and loosely organised protests. But this is changing rapidly, as events in Spain and Greece are showing, following on the precariat-led uprisings in the middle-east. Remember that welfare states were built only when the working class mobilised through collective action to demand the relevant policies and institutions. The precariat is busy defining its demands.

The precariat has emerged from the liberalisation that underpinned globalisation. Politicians should beware. It is a new dangerous class, not yet what Karl Marx would have described as a class-for-itself, but a class-in-the-making, internally divided into angry and bitter factions.

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Republican liberty and the future of the centre-left

by Michael Lind

The dominant tradition in popular politics is infused with the values of republican liberalism.  The contemporary centre-left, influenced by a mix of residual Marxism and technocratic progressivism, has ceded this ground to conservatives and libertarians, losing elections and popular appeal in the process. A twenty-first century centre-left needs to reclaim the tradition of republican liberty as its own.

The centre-left in Europe and North America is in a state of political collapse and intellectual exhaustion. In recent elections the Labour party lost control of the British government to a centre-right coalition and in the US the Democrats lost the House of Representatives to a resurgent right.  Parties of the right already ruled Germany, France and Italy.  Even Sweden, long the flagship of social democracy, is now governed by conservatives.

The crumbling of social democratic parties on both sides of the Atlantic has much deeper causes than poor leadership or the voter discontent produced by the Great Recession.  It is the culmination of trends going back to the unraveling of postwar social democratic settlements in the 1970s. In Europe and America alike, the industrial working class that supported midcentury social democracy has contracted, as a result of the offshoring of industry, productivity growth and the shift toward services in employment. When the postwar boom came to an end in the 1970s, Keynesian full employment and demand management policies appeared to be discredited. Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and their counterparts in other countries led a counter-revolution which failed to shrink the size of the state but succeeded in deregulating the economy and marginalising social democrats.

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Going Green without the Moralism

by Heleen de Coninck

There is no question about it: social democrats need to embrace environmental sustainability. Protecting our natural surroundings, keeping our air clean, providing a healthy environment and access to nature for everyone should be at the core of social democratic policies, just like providing economic and social sustainability should be.

However, we have to admit that in the triangle environmental, social and economic sustainability, sometimes simplistically referred to as planet, people and profit, the balance is tilted. While we see that at the moment either type of sustainability is sacrificed to short-term gains, environmental sustainability often loses out even in more prosperous times. Why is that?

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Pricing Carbon


by Bob Carr

It passed and it will pass the Senate.

Whyalla won’t become a ghost town and the price of Corn Flakes will not spike.Australiawill have a carbon trading scheme and the media can interrogate Abbott about how he will repeal it, forgo the revenue and struggle with a budget black-hole, and what else he will do in government.

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Not a Party of Protest. Not a Party of Slogans.

by Bob Carr


Last night I was honoured to address the Marrickville State Electoral Council of the Australian Labor Party. Good crowd, also attended by Carmel Tebbutt, the local heroine who held the seat against the Green Party threat at the last state elections in March.

I told them there were things the Labor party could do that the Green Party could never do. The best example was the 16 year record of nature conservation in New South Wales. It took a Labor government to negotiate deals with the timber mills, the timber workers and the union that paved the way for saving the South East Forest, the hundred extra parks between Nowra and the Bega Valley, the saving of the forest icons of the north coast and the saving of the Pilliga. The Green Party could mount protests and take up these causes, and they are very fine causes. But it took a Labor government to make the big industrial reform decisions that restructured forestry and enable the massive conservation gains to occur. The serious policy making fell to us.

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The Australian Democrats are no template for the Australian Greens

by Patrick Baume

With the ascension of the Greens to nine seats in the Senate and holding the balance of power alone in that house, many pundits have already been keen to write them off as a potential flash in the pan like the Australian Democrats. A Party that is filling the vacuum for people unhappy, for whatever reason, with the two major players that will eventually disappear after it is faced with the cold hard pragmatics of having a real say on policy.

The Democrats did reach the same level of power in the Senate as the Greens have now in 1990 with nine seats, but the similarities end there.

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The cost of inaction on carbon emissions

by David Leigh


With so much deliberately generated uncertainty on climate change and the extenuation of same, it is little wonder that the polls show poor support for the Multi Party Committee on Climate Change (MPCCC) decision to introduce a carbon tax. The Liberal National Coalition decided not to participate and yet its’ leader, Tony Abbott has made it his prime objective to destroy the work of the MPCCC. There have been bold statements about Australia’s premature action. According to Mr Abbott, nobody else is doing anything to mitigate climate change.

One of the countries touted by the Opposition as inactive is the U.K. and yet Britain has just presented its 4th Carbon Budget. The follow up to that is the white paper “Planning Our Electric Future”.

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Climate change won't be solved with a negative attitude

by Heather Bruer

Pricing carbon in Australia will have positive ripple effects internationally and on future generations.

Young people stand to benefit the most from the government's new Clean Energy Future (CEF) plan to put a price on pollution. We can now look forward to clean energy jobs, less pollution and the possibility of a safe climate future. In the words of Tony Windsor: "It's not about us, it's not about the next election, it's about the next generation".

Young people deserve to inherit a world that is not plagued with extreme weather events, food and water shortages and fuel crises as a result of the inaction and irresponsibility of those before us. We are relying upon the decision-makers of today to act now to protect our future.

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Carbon tax a spur for urban renewal

by Professor Patrick Troy AO


The Carbon Tax offers a new opportunity to re-organise two most important aspect of our system of cities.

The new compact between Labor , the Greens and the independents offers a new opportunity for the Commonwealth government to re-organise two of the most important aspects of our system of cities.

The two are:

  1. urban water services, and
  2. intercity and intra-city transport systems.
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A dose of reality please! 6 Green Senators do not make a government!

by Hugh McDermott

This afternoon the newly elected Senators from the 2010 Federal Election took their place at the Commonwealth Parliament.  Amid howls of ridiculous comments from the far left that the Greens would soon replace the Labor Party as the main left party in Australia to Conservative and  right wing commentators declaring that Bob Brown was the new Prime Minister.......what a load of crap from a bunch of clowns!

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