OPINION: Greens violent means are just obscene

June 24, 2016

Appeared in the Daily Telegraph, 24 June 2016

The federal Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale presents himself as a viable mainstream alternative to Labor and the Coalition.  He wants us to see the Greens as a Party of peace and tolerance that cares for everyone and respects the rights of others.
 
However there’s an increasingly dark and violent approach gaining prominence amongst the Greens and their supporters, particularly in NSW, and the Greens Leader himself appears to be endorsing this new ‘Dark Green’ movement.
 
Speaking on ABC’s Lateline recently, Senator Di Natale was asked about his support for protesters that put themselves and others in direct danger to make a political point: ‘So you're a big fan of public disobedience in the right circumstances?’ Di Natale’s response: ‘Oh, absolutely. I mean, they're heroes.’
 
This was a terrible failure of public leadership. Someone purporting to represent a mainstream political party should not endorse illegal activity, particularly when the illegal activity puts people in danger. Someone wanting to be seen as part of our civil society should not describe people who trespass onto private property and sabotage legitimate businesses as ‘heroes’.
 
However, no-one should really be surprised at this attitude. Senator Di Natale’s comments in support of breaking the law reflect the militant and aggressive attitude the Greens have to the views and rights of others.

When activists stormed Inner West Council Chambers to protest amalgamations, spitting on a Council official, the NSW Greens MP for Newtown labelled the whole display an ‘amazing effort’ on the part of the protesters.
 
The Greens candidate for Grayndler Jim Casey has tweeted about the ‘overthrow of capitalism’, ‘kicking heads’, and denounced Coalition supporters as ‘Tory f—ks’.
 
In the Leard State Forest activists have become increasingly violent, chaining themselves to fences, damaging property, sabotaging equipment, and threatening security personnel.  In one incident security guards were confronted by balaclava-clad protesters who had barricaded an access gate.  The security vehicle was rammed, before the activists sped off, demolishing another private gate on their way. Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon visited protesters in the Leard State Forest as a show of ‘solidarity’, congratulating the protesters for their courage.
 
In another serious incident, Police were called when vandals illegally entered a mine site at night and sabotaged explosives set for a blast the following day.  These people could haveblown themselves up, or killed others working on or around the site. Rather than distancing themselves from these extremely dangerous and illegal actions, the Greens claimed a conspiracy.  NSW Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham took to the floor of Parliament and claimed that the mining company itself had sabotaged its own explosives in an attempt to implicate activists.
 
And just yesterday, activists chained themselves to NSW Parliament House gates in support of unlawful and often dangerous forms of protest.  Jeremy Buckingham was on social media promoting the event, calling on people to join him in supporting unlawful protests.
 
This aggressive and often violent approach to public policy debates by the Greens and their supporters continue to relegate them to the fringe of Australian political discourse. If you agree with them they’ll look after you, but if like most people you don’t share their views, they’ll come after you.
 
If the Greens want to be considered as a serious alternative to the mainstream political parties, they need to distance themselves from extreme activist violence and thuggery. Instead they are embracing it. 

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