The green label is just a clever marketing tool
Bob Brown’s push for more taxes is a far cry from carbon reduction.
When Greens leader Bob Brown was asked to name his first legislative priority for the new Parliament, he had no hesitation - euthanasia. He wants to repeal the federal statute that outlawed euthanasia in the Northern Territory. "This will restore the rights of Territorians to be able to legislate for euthanasia,'' he told Network Ten.
I wonder if all those people who voted for the Greens in August expected that? They might have thought that a carbon reduction scheme was the number one Green priority or an end to logging. But it turns out it is euthanasia.
The Greens have a funny attitude to people. They care about them, of course, but they worry that there are too many of them and that this will choke the environment. They say we need a "sustainable relationship between humans and the environment" that involves a lot more birth control and a lot less use of natural resources.
The Greens are the only political party committed to abortion on demand. The other parties leave it to the conscience of each MP to decide how to vote on abortion. Labor has members with differing views as do the Liberals. Not the Greens. Their position is spelt out in their policy platform.
Bear in mind that it may be easier to die if the Greens have their way - but they also want death taxes. These taxes would be levied on the estate of the deceased.
They do not particularly target taxes at the dead; they target the living as well with proposals for tax increases on superannuation, capital gains, car use, electricity prices and companies. Brown could have campaigned as the head of the Tax Party. Because that is also the effect of his policies.
Labor can only govern with the support of the Green elected in the seat of Melbourne, Adam Bandt. The Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate. Now that they exercise such power, they are entitled to a little scrutiny.
Imagine taking a journey from the GPO to the state border. The Green vote is highest where you start - in the inner-city terraces and converted warehouses. In the seat of Melbourne, the Greens polled 36 per cent and in the seat of Sydney 24 per cent.
As you move out through the suburbs to the quarter-acre blocks, the Green vote declines. When you get to semi-rural and country areas, it falls even further. In Gippsland, it is 7 per cent and in Parkes (New South Wales), it is 6 per cent.
As you take that journey, you will notice that families live in the suburbs where it is cheaper to buy a house with a garden for the children. They do not see their children as a threat to ecological sustainability but as their greatest contribution to society.
If you travelled on Sunday, you would notice, as you move out from the inner-city to the outer suburbs, that the church services attract bigger crowds. Conventional religious belief is stronger. This explains why these electorates do not warm to the Green agenda of euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage and adoption.
The fascinating thing about Green supporters is that their natural habitat is not open spaces or pristine forests but the crowded cafes and asphalt alleys of inner-city living.
Of course, the inner-city areas were the traditional fiefdom of the political left. And they still are. But the political left has found marketing itself under the label "Green" has a much better appeal.
They are also taking a lot of support from people who think that Green is a description of environmental policies. It is much more than that. It is a clever marketing label. Beyond the label is a fully formed agenda of radical positions on tax, economics and foreign affairs.
It pays to look carefully before buying the product.
Peter Costello was federal treasurer from 1996 to 2007.