If the Greens had their way, conservative media opinions would be banned, drugs such as ecstasy legalised and private schools phased out.
While the hard-left political party doesn’t win elections, it continues to share the balance of power in the Australian Parliament, putting it in a position to shape national laws.
The Greens are unlikely to ever win government in their own right – scoring just 10.4 per cent of lower house votes at last month’s federal election.
This was a minuscule increase from the 10.23 per cent share they received in 2016 as they campaigned in May to ban coal-fired power stations within 11 years.
If the Greens had their way, conservative media opinions would be banned, drugs such as ecstasy (pictured is a stock image) legalised, and private schools phased out
However, the Greens still remain ambitious, with the party’s founder Bob Brown in 2011 predicting it would one day replace Labor as Australia’s major party on the left.
Before that supposedly happens, the Greens have their sights set on holding the balance of power in the Senate within three years – forcing whichever major party is in government to adopt their agenda to get laws passed.
And it’s no secret – the party’s leader Richard Di Natale declared this as the party’s goal this week.
He claimed a 0.17 percentage point increase in their primary vote as a sign of political success, even though their Senate numbers remained at nine.
‘If we repeat this result in 2022, we’ll see an extra three senators returned and we’ll see the Greens with sole balance of power in the Senate based on these numbers,’ Senator Di Natale told Sky News earlier this month.
Griffith University politics lecturer Dr Paul Williams said the Greens had an outside chance of having a crossbench monopoly in the upper house of federal Parliament.
‘It’s errantly possible that they could have solely the balance of power,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
The Greens are unlikely to ever win government in their own right – scoring just 10.4 per cent of lower house votes at last month’s federal election as they campaigned to ban coal-fired power stations by 2030 (pictured are Australian women who work in the resources sector)
Greens leader Richard Di Natale (pictured) has declared his party wants to have the balance of power in the Senate to itself in just three years – forcing whichever major party is in power to adopt their agenda to get laws passed
After the 2010 election, the Greens were able to impose a hated carbon tax on Australia, following the failure of former prime minister Julia Gillard’s Labor Party to win a majority in the House of Representatives.
WHAT THE GREENS WANT FOR AUSTRALIA
The New South Wales branch of the Greens proposes legalising not just marijuana but also ecstasy
‘Provide for regulated supply of cannabis and MDMA to adults in NSW,’ it says on its website
They also want to stop government funds from propping up church-run schools, even though it’s been federal policy since 1964
‘Abolish all state government funding of non-government schools,’ it said
The Australian Greens have a plan to ban coal-fired power stations within 11 years
‘The Greens plan will phase out coal, build a clean energy export industry and set an ambitious 100 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.’
The party’s own leader Richard Di Natale has also made no secret of his plan to regulate the media, to silence conservative media commentators
‘We’re going to make sure we’ve got laws that regulate our media, so that if people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Chris Kenny – and I could go on and on and on and on – if they want to use hate speech to divide the community, then they’re going to be held to account for that hate speech,’ he said
A minor party in the Senate, however, hasn’t had the balance of power to itself for almost two decades.
This was during an era when the centre-left Australian Democrats successfully demanded that fruit and vegetables be exempted from the GST, as proposed by a Liberal-National Party government.
Dr Williams said the fracturing of the minor party vote made that a big ask for the Greens in the Senate by 2022.
‘I can’t see a time when they’ll only be Greens, Labor and the L-NP,’ he said.
In recent weeks, Senator Di Natale has declared his support for press freedom following Australian Federal Police raids on the ABC and the Canberra home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst.
Three months ago, however, the Victorian senator told supporters at Brunswick, in Melbourne’s inner-north, he would seek to ban conservative commentators, ranging from Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones to Sky News hosts Andrew Bolt and Chris Kenny.
‘We’re going to make sure we’ve got laws that regulate our media, so that if people like Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones and Chris Kenny – and I could go on and on and on and on – if they want to use hate speech to divide the community, then they’re going to be held to account for that hate speech,’ he said.
Dr Williams said the Greens and Labor both wanted more press regulation, however impractical that may be, because they were suspicious of conservative-leaning media outlets.
‘Given that Alan Jones dominates the airwaves, I’m not sure how you’d regulate that,’ he said.
‘I think we’ll see more of perhaps Labor and the Greens talk about things like giving teeth to press councils and things like that.
‘The only thing they can do is to maybe strengthen section 18C to make sure that if there’s a future shock jock, who might perhaps exploit anti-Islam sentiment in the community.’
Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act already bans commentary that could insult or offend minority groups.
When Labor was last in power six years ago, it proposed to introduce a new media regulator, with the support of the Greens.
The radical policies of the Greens don’t end there, if the party’s New South Wales branch is any guide.
It advocated legislating not just marijuana but also ecstasy as part of its ‘Drug Regulation and Harm Minimisation’ plan.
‘Provide for regulated supply of cannabis and MDMA to adults in NSW,’ it says on its website.
Three months ago, Senator Di Natale told supporters at Brunswick, in Melbourne’s trendy inner-north, he would seek to ban conservative commentators, ranging from Sydney radio 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones (pictured) to Sky News hosts Andrew Bolt and Chris Kenny
New South Wales upper house Greens MP Cate Faehrmann, who is the party’s spokeswoman on ‘drug law reform and harm reduction’ defended the policy of legalising cannabis and ecstasy.
‘Evidence shows that compared to alcohol and other drugs, marijuana and MDMA cause much lower levels of harm to most individual users and society,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
‘Regulating supply would ensure quality control, removing harmful and potentially deadly substances, and would be far safer than buying from the black market.’
While the Greens are liberal on drug policies, that notion of freedom doesn’t extend to parents who want to send their children to a church-run private school.
Religious schools have received federal funding since 1964, with the policy having the support of both major parties for more than five decades.
In its policy manifesto, the Greens have declared war on private schools declaring the non-government schools should receive no taxpayer funds (pictured are students from St Josephs College in Brisbane)
In its policy manifesto, the Greens have declared war on private schools, including Catholic schools in poorer areas that rely on public funding to survive.
‘Abolish all state government funding of non-government schools,’ the party’s NSW website said.
Dr Williams said this kind of policy was more likely to alienate Greens voters, who are richer on average.
Griffith University politics lecturer Paul Williams said Greens voters were wealthier and sent their children to private schools
‘You’ll find a lot of Greens voting parents with kids in private schools – they’d be a very significant number,’ he said.
‘Greens draw support disproportionately from very well educated, very high-income people, many of whom would send their children to private schools.
‘Some of those would say it’s fair and above board that the government doesn’t contribute anything to their local private school but there would be many who do say, “No, hang on, we’re taxpayers too and we’d like to see non-government get funding as well”.’
David Shoebridge, a Greens upper house MP in NSW, defended the party’s position on private schools.
‘It is indefensible to keep giving public money to exclusive private schools to build their second performing arts centre while public schools and students are in need,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
Compared with the NSW branch, the Australian Greens are a little more nuanced on private schools.
Still, they are lukewarm on taxpayer funding for non-government schools, declaring it must ‘not advantage private education at the expense of public education’.
Dr Williams said the Greens would be better off focusing on environmental issues.
‘The Greens should go back to their basics which is really environmental policy and eco-tourism and getting jobs in environmental protection,’ he said.
Daily Mail Australia sought a response from Senator Di Natale but he declined to address any of the policy issues raised.