A two edged sword

Carbon tax could be both winner and loser for Greens, says Dr Geoffrey Robinson.

Dr Geoffrey Robinson
Dr Geoffrey Robinson

The passing of the carbon tax by Federal Parliament has the potential to be a two-edged sword for the Greens, according to Dr Geoffrey Robinson from the Alfred Deakin Research Institute.

“On the one hand, it is a great moment of triumph for them,” Dr Robinson said.

“On the other if it continues to erode the level of support for the Labor government, and it loses the next election, then the Greens will find themselves considerably on the outer.

“They won’t have any influence on the new Liberal government, regardless of who the new prime minister is.

“And in opposition, Labor would be blaming the Greens in part for their down fall.”

Dr Robinson said, so far, the Greens had been very skilful from a political point of view of getting their messages across.

“They are streets ahead of Labor on this,” he said.

“But sometimes skilful politics can be counterproductive.”

Another future challenge for the Greens will be finding a leader of the stature of Senator Bob Brown.

“Their appeal is so much linked to Bob Brown,” Dr Robinson said.

“He incarnates the divergent strands of the party.

“On the other hand, the more Labor goes down, the more advantageous it can be for the Greens in the Senate.

“There they are not battling the Coalition for places in the Senate, they are fighting it out with Labor.”

Dr Robinson said the scenes of jubilation among politicians when the carbon tax was passed reminding him of another famous celebration.

“When I saw all that it reminded me of all the embracing and excitement after the passing of the Native Title Act, particularly the images of Cheryl Kernot and Gareth Evans,” he observed.

Dr Robinson, whose research interests include 20th century Australian political and economic history is organising a seminar next month to look at the downfall of the Australian Labor Party at the state level.

Only a few years ago many observers predicted an era of Labor political hegemony at the state level.

Voters preferred Labor to deliver human services such as health and education that are the focus of state politics.

Today however the fortunes of state Labor are in rapid decline.

The once mighty NSW Labor Party crashed to its worst-ever defeat in March 2011 and in November 2010 Labor suffered a surprising defeat in its Victorian heartland. 

The conference, hosted by the Alfred Deakin Research Institute, will combine academic and practitioner comment on the experience of state Labor administrations with particular reference to New South Wales and Victoria.

Topics include:

  • Labor's record in public policy
  • Labor governments as employers
  • Styles of Labor leadership
  • The relation between Labor governments, business and trade unions
  • Patterns of Labor electoral support

Speakers include:

  • Penny Sharp, NSW Shadow transport Minister
  • Carlo Carli, former Victorian Labor MP

VENUE: Deakin University Melbourne City Centre, Level 3, 550 Bourke St, Melbourne
DATE: November 5th, 2011

For further information visit:
Or contact Geoffrey.robinson@deakin.edu.au

Page custodian: Deakin Research
Last updated: