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Politics in the Sunshine State [Greens Version]

by Dave Riley
ITEM:THE Greens will try to lure the conservative vote in the Brisbane Central by-election after the Liberal Party's decision not to field a candidate.
A well-known activist and small business owner, Ms Boccabella said the Greens would appeal to conservative voters abandoned by the Liberals and reluctant to vote for union leader Ms Grace.
"Greens policies now are absolutely mainstream," she told AAP.
"You can trust someone like me to represent a conservative community.
"Why not give the Greens a tick?
"They are certainly not going to go for a unionist."
So? Welcome to the very wide world of the Qld Greens.This is de riguer for Greens tactics in Qld going back long time. In 1993 the core advocacy for preferences before wheeler dealing kicked in was the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid.

The problem is for the Greens --and I'm willing to be challenged on this point -- is that this penchant to bat to the conservative punters has got them no where. The Greens in Qld are possibly the most unsuccessful state branch in the country.

Why?

The tragic irony is that the Greens come out of the West End anarchist milieu -- being in effect a product of a split engineered to embrace the potential to harness (as I think Drew Hutton called it) "an enabling state". But in the time since their inception they haven't got anywhere very fast in a state with a long tradition of feral party formations and run by a corporatist ALP with a inconsequential and divided National and Lib opposition.

They have generated some heady returns -- close to 30% on occasion in urban Brisbane seats when pitching for the same conservative franchise.

Nonetheless, they will break through at some stage -- perhaps winning a senator at the next federal election -- with a collapse in the Democrat vote and with Andrew Bartlett probably losing his position as a consequence. The Dems have also lost their party registration in Queensland -- not being able to amass the requisite 500 members.

[The contradiction is that a demobilised Democrat network has no significant branch structure to support Bartlett when the Greens can boast not only state registration but have almost 30 branches across the state]

If Bartlett hangs on -- possible? -- than they'll have to wait another few more years for a break through.

But the Brisbane Central by election is all about the Greens fostering the numbers to make them look good and a real force in the lead up to the federal poll and the Council elections scheduled for March 2008.

As for Grace Grace... she's the secretary of the local trades hall and usually is to the right of her federal equivalent, Sharon Burows.

A apt replacement for Beattie I would think. Another apparatchik. Beattie was a long time ALP secretary as was my own local member, Wayne Swann.

The other interesting feature of Qld politics is that Anna Bligh, the new premier, is a product of the ALP lefts --inasmuch it has had any worthy existence for some time -- being a protege of the "star" of ALP left politics in the eighties here before her 1995 retirement -- Anne Warner.

In effect the past front parliamentarian runners for the left here in the Qld ALP were Warner and George Georges --and George had the good sense not to be able to stomach the ALP under Hawke and resigned.(Only to later rejoin on the false hope he could save the QLD ALP socialist left from implosion and collapse).

In George's time out of the ALP he stood as an independent, backed by a very broad coalition of forces -- and was active, along with the DSP, in trying to convince the Aaronite Communist Party of Australia to rejig with a regroupment new left party project of which he could be a part. George could have been our George Galloway in a sense...

But the CPA got cold feet primarily because it would have, in my estimation, put its servile cheer squad relationship with the ALP lefts at risk as there would have been too many stakeholders to try to control and relate to.. Instead they ran with their New Left Party project which lasted a couple of years before rolling over and dying.

Thus the CPA went out with a whimper before Peter Symon's SPA grabbed the name.

Brisbane Central was the seat we in the Socialist Alliance ran Sam Watson at the last state election. Peter Beattie( the then premier and member for Brissie Central) didn't want to discuss anything to do with anything much at all, let alone indigenous issues and four days after the poll, he killed off the indigenous ministry and played up to Qld coppers --which thereafter led to the whole fracas over the release of the state coroner's report, etc in the wake of Murunji's death in police custody on Palm Island.

So it goes.

Now we get the Greens pledging that:"You can trust someone like me to represent a conservative community."

And, I hate to say, that may indeed be quite true.

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