Labor, state and federal, are extremely worried about The Greens, and their ever-growing popularity. The anti-Greens campaigning by Labor, in the lead up to the federal election, has begun.
Federal Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner kicks the campaigning into gear :
While he doesn't say it directly, Tanner is pushing a mantra that declares if you vote for The Greens, then you are also voting for the Liberal Party, whether you intended to or not. It sounds surreal, but it's a line Labor will continue to push, perhaps hoping that opposition leader Tony Abbott will come to The Greens defence, which would allow Labor to brand them as radicals, extremists, or worse.
The Greens are not some benign group loosely allied with Labor. They're not a middle-ground party. They're not idealistic activists changing the world. They're just another political party, no less cynical or manipulative than the others. They feed off Labor's need to make compromises to marry progressive reform with majority government. Their energies are directed to attacking Labor, not the conservatives.
It might seem like a good idea to support those who yell the loudest, but it's unlikely to produce good outcomes. Labor is the only worthwhile option for achieving progressive change through parliamentary politics. It might be a bit piecemeal and gradual, but it beats the hell out of doing nothing.
It won't happen anytime soon, but Labor clearly understands that if a new generation of Liberals find much common ground with The Greens, that is a mid-decade Liberals-Greens coalition, Labor will be in big trouble.