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Attila the Pun
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
 
Helping out a comrade

James Norman rushes to the defence of Bob Brown, whose biography he has written. Well, I should say he rushes to the attempted defence of Brown, but it is such an unconvincing attempt that the Greens may wish he hadn't.

He attempts to refute the major attacks on the Green's policies, catalogued mostly in the Herald-Sun. His explanations are less than covincing however.

The incendiary claims circulating include assertions that the Greens support illegal drugs, have an open-door policy to all asylum-seekers, aim to strip farmers of their land, plan to force the public to eat less meat and support unemployment benefits without having to seek work.

The most accurate statement in this article, this is actually a fair approximation of what the Hun said about the Greens.

It reflects the utmost contempt for the 1 million plus Australians predicted to vote for the Greens at this election, to suppose the thinking public would be hoodwinked by such blatant fearmongering when even a cursory glance at the Greens' policy documents reveal the claims to be utter hogwash and spin.

We knew it couldnt last. Actually, as previously noted, I have given the Greens' policy documents a cursory glance, and the claims are certainly not 'utter hogwash and spin'. Norman's article is blatant spin, and attempts to defend the Greens' entire platform through the actions of its pinup boy Brown.

Start with illegal drugs. Brown has made it clear on many occasions that he does not support banned drugs being made freely available to young people but he does subscribe to the "harm minimisation" view that medically controlled access to drugs reduces the damage of these drugs to the user and wider society.

To be honest, some drug liberalisation may not be a bad thing. This defence mischaracterises the Greens' policy however, and does not mention the key phrase of allowing drugs like ecstasy to be available in 'controlled environments'. The Greens' won't say what this means - 'safe' eccy rooms at raves? The best way to combat 'scaremongering' about your policies is to provide detail. For too long the Greens have been able to avoid doing this.

Another common charge is that the Greens would offer "unemployment benefits without having to seek work". Bear in mind that Brown has never been on the dole, even throughout his years in the Franklin campaign when he gave up his doctor's wages to lead the campaign to save the Franklin river. The Greens are advocates of personal self-determination, with the guaranteed safety net of government support to those in real need.

This paragraph sums up the approach of the article. The accusation is that the Greens will give the dole without needing to look for work. Norman's defence? That Bob Brown was never on the dole. So what - answer the question. "advocates of personal self-determination, with the guaranteed safety net" So basically that is an admission that the accusation is true.

It is a humane approach to the global refugee crisis, similar to the view of the UN, and does not equate to an open-door policy for all asylum-seekers.

He mentions the 'overhaul' of the system, but avoids the parts that would set off electoral alarm bells - like the maximum 14 day detention period.

The claim that the Greens would seek to drive farmers off their land is blatant fearmongering. Brown grew up in the bush in central NSW and the Greens will work with the farming community towards implementing more sustainable farming practices across the board.

Brown was born in the bush, therefore the Greens like farmers - get it? If not - "And just for the record, Brown is a meat eater. "

It finishes with more Brown love:

Never mind that it is the same Bob Brown that this newspaper named Australian of the Year in 1983 while he sat in a prison cell among other Franklin Dam protesters at Risdon Goal. And it is the same politician The Sunday Age named Australian of the Decade in 1990.

Did hemention that Brown grew up in the Bush and is a meat eater? It is also the same Brown that railed against Hawke after the first Gulf War, demanding to know why Saddam was not removed from power. Apparently he softened towards the old murderer over the years.

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