The reasons The Greens remain a marginal alternative party are:
1. They exclude those not ideologically 'green', so alienation keeps them alienated from the mainstream
2. They do not translate their idealistic ideology into pragmatic shovel-ready policy initiatives with dollar values and immediate costed implementation plans; so they remain perceived as a futurist think tank, not regarded as a real-time alternative executive government.
Take the dominant election issue of overpopulation. The Australian Greens have an Immigration and Refugee policy listed under their category 'Care for People'. But they also have a Population policy under their category 'Environment'. This categorisation may seem odd, but the logic is that population is an underlying driver of environmental damage.
I have read The Greens population policy. It logically is grouped into 'principles', 'goals' and 'measures' (or policy initiatives).
The Greens 'population principles' are about factoring the impacts on the environment and society and living standards. They recognise the issue is complex and include issues like women’s rights, unsustainable resource use, inequitable distribution of wealth and power, multiculturalism, international human rights, the shortsightedness of being driven by economic goals, the ageing population and geographical distribution.
The principles and goals are what the Greens are good at.
But getting straight to the 'measures' or policy initiatives for the 2010 election, this is the motherhood waffle, and I quote their 5 vague 'measures':
1. Support, through extensive community consultation, a population policy directed towards ecological sustainability in the context of global social justice.
2. Work to achieve a sustainable relationship between humans and the environment by taking action:
- in Australia, including planning, consultation and a whole of government approach, to improve equity in consumption levels and resource and technology use; and
- globally, to improve social and economic equity and promote programs that empower women.
3. Implement the 1994 United Nations International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action as endorsed by the Australian Government (this is humanitarian immigration and relevant to refugees not population)
4. Ensure that Australian family planning programs, both domestically and overseas, are adequately funded to deliver services in the context of reproductive health programs which increase the power of girls and women to determine their own reproductive lives, and increase the understanding of men of their reproductive responsibilities.
5. Prepare contingency plans for possible large scale humanitarian migration as a result of climate change.
Translated in simple terms, the above 5 measures mean:
1. A population policy so vague as to be anything they want it to mean
2. Make population environmentally sustainable somehow, ensure opportunities are made fair for all, and empower women.
3. Implement an 1994 international obligation on refugee acceptance
4. Improve family planning education to prevent unwanted pregnancies
5. Get ready for massive future refuge intakes.
Don't get me wrong, The Greens have some good ideas and frankly they are more 'forward thinking' than the LibLabs media reactions. But I don't support The Greens per se.
The are too pie in the sky! They come across as intolerant of compromising their environmental mandate with mainstream values of liberalism and work opportunity.
If the Greens come own from their ivory tower, resolve their cultural impasses and get relevant and pragmatic - then they may stand a chance of attracting the mainstream vote.
Until then, green pigs fly!
But the Greens need to learn from past rejection. They need to recognise that evolutionary pace dependent upon protest votes is unsustainable. Laissez Faire Greenness is delaying Green credibility by the mainstream and with recent trends it may be 2050 before Greens get a leg in.
The Greens need to get real, else bring on an alternative Liblab alternative with more than a single policy platform!
The political vacuum across Australia exposed by the LibLab boomer industrial thinking, and abandoned by the Democrats and lost in the rural wilderness by the Nationals, won't wait for no party.
Australian disenfranchisement with politics will not last long. Australia's political landscape is set to change.