Split lets parties reveal their 'true' feelings
CHRISTINE Milne's formal declaration that the alliance with Labor is all over doesn't change much in practice.
She has pledged to continue to vote against any no confidence motion and for supply, and many of the bills the government needs to pass in the few remaining sitting weeks before the election are things the Greens would be inclined to support anyway.
But it does free both Labor and the Greens to say what they really think about each other.
Labor's kind of been doing that ever since it decided to try to shore up its ''battler base'' by accepting the Coalition's lines that employment and environmental protection were somehow incompatible.
(Remember Julia Gillard saying the Greens were just a ''party of protest'' who would ''never embrace Labor's delight at sharing the values of everyday Australians''?)
But on Tuesday Labor strategists were gleefully saying that now they could really go all out in the pitch for the blue-collar worker.
Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes immediately accused Senator Milne of sour grapes over the Gillard government's decision to heritage-list almost none of Tasmania's Tarkine wilderness.
Labor has clearly calculated that the Tarkine decision is a plus in its marginal Tasmanian seats.
And Senator Milne could fully ventilate her view that the big miners have become so powerful and so close to the major parties they are threatening democracy. The Greens appear to have calculated that the mining tax that raises no money somewhat undermines Labor's bona fides when it makes a similar claim about the Coalition.
Senator Milne also claimed credit for the carbon price and said it would never have happened if Labor had won in its own right. This undermined Labor's ability to claim kudos for the politically damaging policy and gave credence to the same point every time it is made (in a negative way) by the Coalition.
And Tony Abbott? He just stays small target, insisting that the Coalition offers ''real solutions'' to the ''real problems'' faced by Australians, without saying in detail what they are. Oh, and accusing the other parties of relentless negativity.