ADJOURNMENT: Australian Greens
3 March 2003
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (9.00 p.m.) â€”Tonight I wish to discuss the issue of principle in politics. In the inner west in Sydney the Greens are portraying themselves as the sole occupiers of the moral high ground. There is no doubt that Bob Brown is a political activist who has earned respect. In New South Wales, Ian Cohen has come into parliament after an active participation in the environmental movement. But what about the New South Wales Greens and their candidates in the upcoming election? In the last federal election, the Friends of Callan Park distributed a survey to all candidates. I had stated very clearly my opposition to the sale of any public land. This was consistent with my political position and I clearly indicated that. Despite this, they showed their anti-Labor agenda by producing a full colour pamphlet advocating a vote for all political parties, including One Nation, ahead of Labor. They were the only group in my multicultural electorate that did not seem to understand the imperative to put One Nation last. But it should not come as a surprise.
The Greens candidate for Port Jackson is Jamie Parker. He gained some prominence in today’s Daily Telegraph as a publicist for the extreme fighting event held at the Masonic Centre in Sydney last September. This is when two competitors are placed in an octagonal cage and allowed to cause as much physical damage to each other as possible. Due to the danger of such events, it had no permit. There was no medical doctor present, but it did have Jamie Parkerâ€”so much for the great advocates of peace and antiviolence. Mr Parker is the Deputy Mayor of Leichhardt Council.
It is not just in areas of violence that the hypocrisy shines like a beacon. When it comes to selling off public land, they are right into it. There is a massive redevelopment of the old children’s hospital site at Camperdown, the area which includes Orphan School Creek. It is across the road from the housing estate where I grew up. On 26 November, Mr Parker seconded a motion by his ally, Mayor Maire Sheehan. I quote from the minutes:
… council resolve to sell, by public auction, the parcel of land known as B1 and that the general manager be authorised to set a reserve price.
Mr Parker also moved to exclude the press and the public before this debate took place. I seek leave to table the minutes of the Leichhardt Municipal Council meeting.
Mr ALBANESE â€”When not organising violent events, Mr Parker is off selling public land. The Greens need to be made accountable. Many of their policies are just plain loopy, particularly in economic areas. They advocate their tax and revenue policy section 2.3.5, which is a capital gains tax on five per cent of family homes in any region. As if there is not a disparity in housing prices from the top five per cent in Brewarrina to the top five per cent in Rose Bay, they draw no distinction in their policy. Secondly, under their housing policy 3.3.11 they propose a tax on renovations and excessive and unjustified housing unit sizes. Some of their branch members in my area should have a good look at that, given their propensity for renovations.
Believe it or not, Parker may not be the Greens’ most unprincipled candidate. I think that goes to Sylvia Hale, No. 2 on the upper house ticket. She ran in September 1999 as the No Aircraft Noise Party candidate for Marrickville Council. She had previously been the No Aircraft Noise candidate in the federal election for the seat of Grayndler in 1998. Her main opponent when she ran in that 1999 election was, of course, the Greens. So they were competing, essentially, for the same vote. What occurred after that, though, was that Sylvia Hale, about a year later, resigned from the No Aircraft Noise Party and suddenly became a Greens councillor. She did not resign her position and put that change before the publicâ€”that was too principled for her; she could not do that. But we had a look back and thought, `How long has this Greens connection been going?’ What we found on the public record was that she was the single major donor to the Greens campaign in that same Marrickville Council electionâ€”she donated $5,000, just pocket money for this bourgeois aristocrat. So on the one hand she is running for the No Aircraft Noise Party, but, on the other hand, she is funding her opposition.
The Greens have taken it to the logical next step. Not just are they privatising public assets on Leichhardt Council, they have privatised their position on the legislative council ticket. She has gone from being a No Aircraft Noise Party councillor to buying her spot on the ticket. I call upon Bob Brown to intervene and remove her from the ticket. Nominations have not closed yet. When you actually examine the record of these people, you find that they simply do not measure up. The people of New South Wales need to have a very close look at the sorts of people who are standing under the Greens banner, the sorts of people who have been members of many political parties, and they need to reject this opportunism. (Time expired)
Leader of the Australian Labor Party, MP for Grayndler, Rabbitohs Life Member. Authorised by Anthony Albanese, ALP, Canberra.