The week in green politics


Democrat referendum

Further moves towards a merger between some greens and the Australian Democrats seem likely following a report in the August 17-18 Australian that Democrat senators are preparing a referendum on the question, and comments by Bob Brown that supporters of the Green Independents in Tasmania will also be polled. Brown said the Tasmanian ballot would canvas the idea of a national alliance, not a merger at state level.

Victorian Democrat Senator Sid Spindler told Green Left Weekly the reports are "substantially accurate", though the Democrats' ballot would probably concern whether to continue discussions on merger with green organisations, rather than immediate merger. He doubted that any of the organisations were yet ready for a merger, and there was an additional problem of a variety of organisations on the green side.

Spindler said he personally supported moves to prevent the dissipation of support for green forces, and he recognised that there were common objectives between all the groups and they should work together if possible.

Marrickville Council elections

South Sydney Greens will stand a team of four local residents in the Marrickville Council elections in September. The Greens will contest Henson ward and will work closely with the Marrickville Community Independents, who will contest other wards.

The Greens will stand on a platform of open decision-making and resident participation. They are alarmed at the Greiner government's proposed changes to the local government voting system, which could work in favour of a Liberal-Labor duopoly.

The Green team will be Bruce Welch (who won 13% of the vote in the recent NSW elections), Kate Tippet, Colin Hesse and Jean Hartman. Issues will include opposition to a third runway at Sydney airport and the proposed Wolli Creek freeway, controls over noxious local industries and opposition to demolition of housing to make way for car parks.

Greens discuss Gulf

About 40 people attended a public meeting at Parramatta Town Hall to discuss "The Aftermath of the Gulf War". The meeting was the first of what it is hoped will be a series of public forums organised jointly by the Western Suburbs Greens and the Parramatta Peace Group.

Speakers were Dr John Ward from the Doctors Reform Society, Antonina Gentile from the Palestine Human Rights Committee and Jill Hickson from the Western Suburbs Greens. A newly released film by Art Resistance, documenting events before and during the Gulf War and activities of the Sydney antiwar movement, was screened.

Queensland Green Network

Meeting in Brisbane on August 18, the Queensland Green Network issued a statement that six representatives from Queensland to the August 17-18 meeting of greens in Sydney "were not representatives of the QGN. They were representatives of the Australian Green Working Group. They were never elected at a meeting of QGN and should not be considered to have represented the views of QGN." The meeting also adopted a resolution asserting its autonomy as a green organisation and giving "principled support to networking and alliances between green groups locally and nationally".

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