Australian Greens riven by factional conflicts


Australian Greens riven by factional conflicts

Oscar Grenfell

20 April 2018

Bitter factional infighting within the Australian Greens has publicly reemerged, with competing tendencies in the party hurling bitter recriminations at one another and apportioning blame for recent electoral defeats.

The conflicts, which threaten a split, or the implosion of the Greens, have erupted in the wake of a series of electoral defeats. They are one expression of a major crisis of the political establishment, stemming from widespread hostility toward all the official parliamentary parties.

The Greens failed to win the Melbourne federal House of Representatives seat of Batman in a by-election last month, despite being tipped as the likely victor by the media and pollsters. In the South Australian state election, also in March, the Greens’ vote fell 2 points to 6.6 percent. If the result were replicated in federal elections, the party would lose its federal senate seat for the state. In Tasmania, the Greens’ vote in last month’s state election fell from 16 percent in 2010, to just 10 percent.

Underlying the fall in support for the Greens is the discrediting of the party’s claims to represent an “alternative” to Labor and the Liberal-Nationals. The Greens have collaborated with state and federal governments headed by both parties, as they have slashed social spending and aligned Australia with US-led wars and military preparations. The Greens’ constituency is concentrated among a layer of the affluent upper-middle class.

Competing factions within the Greens have responded to the defeats with legal actions, demands for the resignation of federal senators, and leaked denunciations of senior members of the party.

Following the Batman by-election, Greens federal leader…

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