“An obstacle to electoral success”: Aussie Left Feuding Over Climate Policy

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

In the wake of three disastrous federal election defeats, Australia’s left wing Labor Party is openly feuding over whether “fundamentalist” green policies are delivering results.

ALP factional feud over climate change rearing its head

Phillip Coorey
Political editorAug 3, 2020 – 12.20pm

Ahead of a faction meeting on Monday night, the more progressive members of the Right were arguing that without Greens preferences Labor could not hold key marginal seats such as Gilmore, Corangamite and Eden-Monaro, and, therefore, win government.

Conversely, factional convener Joel Fitzgibbon and those aligned with him argue Labor has failed to bring the voting majority with it on climate change at previous elections and that is why it has failed to win government.

The issue, which has been rumbling along since last year’s election, flared again after Mr Fitzgibbon last week took aim at the party’s environmental arm, Labor Environment Action Network, saying it was an obstacle to electoral success.

In an email to the organisation in which he declined an invitation to a LEAN conference in the Hunter Valley, Mr Fitzgibbon described its polices as fundamentalist.

Read more: https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/alp-factional-feud-over-climate-change-rearing-its-head-20200803-p55hxw

In a way this upset and likely eventual breakup should not come as a surprise; the real puzzle is why a political party which claims to represent Australia’s workers ever got into bed with green anti-industrialists.

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Lewis P Buckingham
August 3, 2020 2:23 pm

Its notable that the CMFEU and the AWU in Qld have thrown down the gauntlet on jobs and demand the Qld Govt approve Acland now rather than have it tied up in more Lawfare.

Reply to  Lewis P Buckingham
August 3, 2020 2:57 pm

Acland coal mine. CFMEU and AWU are unions. Government weakness on coal is a disgrace.

Reply to  Mike Jonas
August 3, 2020 5:17 pm

Thanks. Had no idea what any of those were.

August 3, 2020 2:48 pm

“why a political party which claims to represent Australia’s workers ever got into bed with green anti-industrialists.”

The truth is that they never “represented” workers. What they claimed is that they would do what was in the worker’s best interests, and of course only they knew what that was.
The role of the workers has always been to shut up and do what their “betters” told them to do.
And if the workers of today had to suffer in order to bring about a worker’s paradise tomorrow, then so be it.

Craig from Oz
Reply to  MarkW
August 3, 2020 5:42 pm

In their defence I believe they ONCE did, but only because the ALP has existed a long time.

Their problem is they have failed to evolve with society. Once the Little Aussie Battler was the factory worker or the labourer who went off and worked long hours for low wages. Now before you ask, yes I have done manual labour before, and if anything it motivated me to make sure I didn’t have to do that for a living. It is physically HARD WORK. We digress.

The point is that the current Little Aussie Battler is now the small business owner (a class Marx stated would no longer exist – good one Karl). Workers don’t really want to be workers, they want to control their lives (and/or get paid more, which is always nice) so the plan for a lot of them is to start their own business and work for themselves. They stop being ‘traditional’ workers and hence the ALP, who still represent the ‘workers’ via unions and the like, no longer look after their interests. Hence the current ‘Little Aussie Battlers’ tend to vote conservative because the conservative side of politics are (usually) the types who don’t see business owners as a bottomless cash cow to be taxed within an inch of their lives.

Where does this leave the ALP? Supporting the interests of the unions and the public service and those who believe the State owes them a living. Actually workers? They want to be left alone to spend their wages on their families.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
August 4, 2020 6:17 am

yeah and actual workers dont tend to be in unions much apart from the cfmeu and the nurses n hostility
union fees are high actual help is low.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  MarkW
August 4, 2020 5:49 am

“And if the workers of today had to suffer in order to bring about a worker’s paradise tomorrow, then so be it.”

identical policy of Lenin

August 3, 2020 2:56 pm

Coalitions work great in the ‘political’ short and medium term but not the ‘political’ long term when declining opportunity, general well being, and family futures are the cost factors that never ever get discussed in the vote block building stage.

August 3, 2020 3:43 pm

The Australian Labor Party (ALP) ceased being the political party for ordinary workers back in 1972 when they won their first election in 23 years under the “progressive” policies of the party under Gough Whitlam’s leadership.

By then, the ALP had become the principal home for academics, artists, bureaucrats, teachers and every other socialist coterie you can think of.

Little has changed since then, except that the startup of The Greens in the ’80s poached most of the far left elements of the ALP.

M Seward
Reply to  Mr.
August 3, 2020 5:14 pm

Spot on Mr. The ALP was also at the forefront of selling out and kowtowing to CCP agencies either knowingly or just gormlessly in their fog of self righteousness. To borrow from one of their former leaders, the souffle socialists have been utterly conned by the green loon left over so called climate change and its so called (final) solutions.

Serge Wright
August 3, 2020 3:47 pm

The ALP’s climate change policies have delivered victory to the LNP since 2013. In the 2010 election, Julia Gillard retained office for the ALP in a hung parliament, but only by promising “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”, a promise she immediately broke once she formed minority government. This was possibly the most blatant broken promise ever made in the history of Australian politics and the ALP have endured a significant loss of trust from the electorate ever since. The reality of the climate policies in Australia is that it hurts blue collar workers disproportionately, who end up losing their jobs in manufacturing and mining and then have to endure the high cost of electricity whilst living on welfare.

Ironically, the ALP are so welded onto the ideology that they persist with the zero emissions policy in the belief that everyone will eventually see the light, forgetting that their former blue collar disciples can no longer afford to power the light.

Pete of Perth
Reply to  Serge Wright
August 3, 2020 4:48 pm

Gillard formed a minority government with the Greens.

a happy little debunker
Reply to  Pete of Perth
August 4, 2020 1:44 am

Gillard formed a minority government with the assistance of independents including a Green’s candidate, a self described ‘whistle-blower’ + 2 Former National party members.

In the Senate she formed an accord with the Greens to hold the Balance of Power.

Reply to  a happy little debunker
August 4, 2020 4:58 am

When Julia Gillard was talking about the Education Revolution, she wasn’t talking about school halls, she was talking about ‘safe school’s. Translate that to every ‘woke’ or ‘climate change’ lesson taught since then. Most of which is not in any way ‘balanced’, educational or inclusive.

It’s better known as manipulative processing.

August 3, 2020 4:04 pm

It is not possible to explain the current political landscape in Australia but here are some titbits.
1. Labor is heavily supported by the unions.
2. There are many different type of unions. Construction, industrial, logging, but also nurses, teachers, government admin, retail and hospitality.
3. Unions can fund political parties, but can’t make members vote.
4. Labor is not only pushing climate policies. Gay marriage and gender equity for the example.
5. Union members are divided on many of these issues.
6. Migrants were also a key voting block for labor.
7. Migrants from the 50s and 60s were more likely to be working class. Their children and grandchildren are more likely to be professional.
8. New migrants are nearly all professional.
9. Although many migrants come from “collective” type cultures, they are more likely to be individualist in their outlook. My GUESS is long term new migrants and the families will not vote labor or green
Overall I think climate change is a dud policy to win an election for labor. Their voter base has too many other issues to worry about.

Reply to  Waza
August 3, 2020 7:55 pm

And one more, Waza – only about 15% of the Australian workforce are members of a trade union, down from over 50% over the last few decades. To offset this the union movement has tried to rope in non-unionised members of unionised industries by negotiating on behalf of the industry and/or large employers. How many of these non-union members vote ALP?

Reply to  Waza
August 3, 2020 11:54 pm

The great majority of younger Australians who have been educated up to Tertiary levels have grown up in urban environments dominated by motor cars. Few of them really know what living in a wilderness or a rural environment is really like. Nor would they be accustomed to physical labour. Their working environment usually involves sitting at desks and looking at computer screens. They are prey to Green Left philosophies because their lives are normally devoid of contact with Nature (unless they are surfing, that is). Up to this year they had not yet encountered a real economic downturn.

After this year’s Covid 19 pandemic, I am willing to bet that many of this demographic will alter their political outlook after experiencing economic hardship. Sections of the Australian Labor Party are already coming out in favour of coal mining as a response to voters’ wishes in regional seats. If coal mining offers you the best chance of feeding your family, then support for this will probably grow.

I declare that I was a rabid Lefty in the 1960’s who then went working in the Australian outback as a geologist.

August 3, 2020 4:09 pm

The key to understanding this squabble is the slow but successful “gentrification” of inner-city electorates – they were once working class areas that returned ALP candidates with absolute loyalty. So these extremely safe (for the ALP) electorates were snaffled by those politicians who were most ambitious, since they then had little electoral worries. The result was the leaders and front-benchers became thoroughly established in these areas. Finding a “safe” seat is holy grail.

Gentrification upset this. An influx of academics, artists, bureaucrats, all with a yearning for Green politics, forced the ALP leaders to adopt Green policies for survival. If they deviate their policies off the green line, they will lose these seats to the Greens at the next election. Those few ALP politicians who hold seats outside the cities are considered by their leaders as collateral damage.

Reply to  ianl
August 4, 2020 12:11 am

The extension to the problem is those inner city seats will never give them enough seats or votes to win government. So in trying to save inner city green seats they lose outer city resource state seats … last election in Western Australia of 16 seats they won 5, Queensland of 30 seats they won 6.

Reply to  ianl
August 4, 2020 6:22 am

no ones even seen a Labor rep out where Ilive
nats and libs get the votes
one yr newchums managed 13green votes
made an amusing item for the local rag

Geoff Sherrington
August 3, 2020 4:38 pm

Adding to this ALP complexity, their right wing Coalition opponents now in government have “drunk the Kool-aid” and have adopted left socialist policies and become luvvies of the Paris agreement, in favour of renewable energy targets, still trenchantly anti-nuclear for reasons they cannot explain.
Have a browse through the recent reports of the government’s Australian Energy Market Operator. They are recipes for failing to learn from the disasters of Germany’s Energiewende and the UK windmill infatuation.
It is not only the opposition named ALP that has a communist/socialist rump. There is a strong, insidious group inside the governing Coalition as well.
They need to Google search the word “SEDITION”.
Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 3, 2020 10:16 pm

Geoff the governing Coalition in our country have moved so far to the left we no longer have a ‘major’ political party right of centre! We have a choice of
Communism, Extreme Left, or Left. In order of left to less left 🙂

Talk about spoilt for choice!

August 3, 2020 5:14 pm

In democratic politics it’s anything for a vote and they bend with the wind.

Joel O'Bryan
August 3, 2020 5:35 pm

The socialist-Marxist affiliated Greens infiltrated the working people’s parties in Australia, UK, and the US. Not sure about Canada. They have now consumed those parties and pushed them far left with manufacturing jobs destroying, anti-energy policies and paltform positions. This of course has pushed out thw working man and woman (the Blue Collar crowd in the US) from those parties.
That is what happened in the US during the years of Bush and Obama after Y2K. The Marxist Greens have taken over the DNC. Anyone in that party who doesn’t agree with their radical Leftist agenda is kicked-out and silenced.

So where do the Blue Collar workers and those who love their country go?
They go to Donald Trump. MAGA.

Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 3, 2020 7:18 pm

Last year it was controversial when one or two athletes knelt during the National Anthem. This year everyone is surprised when one of them doesn’t.

You don’t get that kind of unanimity unless it’s enforced by management.

Regardless, I wonder how many votes Trump is going to gain from that demonstration cowardice in the face of totalitarian tactics?

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  MarkW
August 3, 2020 8:00 pm

That kneeling for social acceptance today comes from the same part of the brain as Heil Hitler right hand salute.
In 1930 Germany, very few did it.
By 1939 in Germany almost everyone and anyone who didn’t want to get targeted for suppression did it whether they believed it or not.
In the end, by 1945, 5 million innocent German and Polish men, women, and children had been incinerated in the ovens at the hands of those who rose that right arm salute.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
August 4, 2020 4:01 am


Here the conformity is shown with the sudden compulsory wearing of masks. The sheeple do it, whether the science supports it or not. Too many years watching TV is part of the problem, I suspect. Geoff S

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 4, 2020 6:27 am

its the 200 fine if you dont thats got compliance
and right now making decent home made cloth masks WITH low micron inserts is keeping quite a lot of us poor rural people busy and earning a small income we wouldnt otherwise have.
annoying to be forced to wear at all time while out
but not a bad idea in recycled air shops and in crowded places.

August 3, 2020 5:55 pm

Australia’s left wing Labor Party is openly feuding over whether “fundamentalist” green policies are delivering results.

Ummm, what? They’re feuding? Isn’t that a minor signal that there is something fundamentally cracked withIN the political scene there?

Craig for Oz
August 3, 2020 6:02 pm

What always surprises me is just how much the ALP (a Left Party) here in Australia are prepared to bend the knee to the Greens (a Loony Far Left group).

Remember in Australia the system is two party preferred in the House of Reps and voting is compulsory.

(actually attending a voting booth in some form is compulsory. There is actually no legal way of forcing you to vote in Australia because your actual vote is secret. You can draw pictures of your cat on the ballot paper and their is no legal way they can stop you. Subtle difference.)

What 2PP means is practical terms is that at the end of the day your vote is going to the one of the two top parties. So if you are for example a loony fridge party like… THE GREENS, unless you live in a dystopia like Melbourne your vote is going to go to either Lib/Nationals or the ALP because that is the way the system works.

So does the ALP need to formally make a deal with The Greens for their preferences? Grud no. All they need to do is encourage the physical voters that Tony Abbott or ScoMo or Howard really deep down wants to strip mine the Barrier Reef and that these people should be literally the last people you vote for. It doesn’t matter if the ALP is second last on a ballot paper, as long as the Liberals are last, because under 2PP the ALP gets the vote.

Same goes for formal power sharing. Back a few elections ago the ALP did not formally win enough seats to govern in their own right and required the support of the Greens. So they bent the knee to them and signed all sorts of formal agreements.

Why? Did they REALLY think the Greens would go behind their back and make a deal with the Australian Right? The Greens were NEVER going to get into bed with the evil conservatives, so the ALP help all the cards and should have made the Greens their vassal. “Hey, don’t like our offer? Go and be friends with Abbott. I DARE YA!!!”

The ALP don’t need to be nice to the Greens because in real terms the Greens are forced to support them regardless.

Interested Observer
Reply to  Craig for Oz
August 3, 2020 8:09 pm

That’s a nice summation but, it ignores a few realities.

The reality is the ALP now has trouble forming government on its own so, they have entered into a de facto coalition with the Greens. The ALP does not hold all the cards – the Greens hold the “If you want to form a government, you have to cater to our platform!” card. So, yes, the ALP does need to play nice with the Greens or they’ll be waiting a long time before they can ever form another government. The Greens aren’t forced to support the ALP; the ALP is forced to support the Greens. Remember, if you vote for the ALP, you are voting for the Green-ALP coalition and the Greens will call the shots or pull their support for any ALP initiatives. The ALP won’t be able to get anything done without Greens approval.

It’s true the ALP are cowards for falling into this trap but, all politicians are cowards at heart. The only thing they care about is getting elected and holding power. If they had any guts, they would have gone after the Greens from the get-go. Make a bi-partisan effort to frame the Greens as a bunch of seditious bastards who want to destroy the country and anyone voting for them is a traitor. The Greens brand would become so toxic no one would ever admit to voting for them for fear of becoming a pariah. The only way to be rid of a noxious plant is to rip it out by the roots and burn it – and keep doing that until its completely gone.

But politicians in this country are too weak and too stupid to ever do anything as smart as that.

August 3, 2020 6:09 pm

I’ve stocked up on popcorn in anticipation of placeholder Biden’s VP pick.

Lefty feuding will go Postal no matter who is chosen.

Reply to  clipe
August 3, 2020 7:15 pm

Looks like Sleepy Joe is having trouble making up his mind. (What, again?)
According to those in the know, the VP announcement has been pushed back from the first week of August to the 2nd week.

Will we know in time to print the ballots?

Reply to  MarkW
August 3, 2020 8:06 pm

Joe can’t wait to find out who he picked to be his running mate.

(h/t Babylon Bee?)

August 3, 2020 6:58 pm

I fund it amusing that factions of the ALP are realising that their party is losing elections because the general public don’t want renewables, we in no way support the Greens.

The reason I find it amusing is that Scott Morrison himself hasn’t twigged to the idea that he ‘was’ elected for the same reason. We don’t want renewables, if we did we would have voted differently and the ALP would be in power.

Scott Morrison’s win was not expected, the polls all indicated that the opposition was a shoe-in. Prime Minister Morrison himself was surprised, he called us his quite Australians. Why didn’t he endeavor to find out why we voted the way we did? What it was that actually won him the election.

Yet he is throwing our taxes by way of renewables subsidies at anyone who puts their hands up! The latest being the Darwin to Singapore scam at 20 billion dollars. He is handing over our hard earned money to overseas concerns. Our solar panels are almost exclusively from China. Most of the ‘jobs’ associated with renewables are overseas jobs. There are no returns on this money, it is lost to us forever. Does he think that in any way his ‘quiet Australians’ are supportive of this?

Does he not know that Energy Australia is wholly owned by the Chinese, that as of 2017 they had earned 30 billion in revenue over 4 years and paid not one cent in tax. That they own 6 power stations, a wind farm, a coal mine and an ash repository too here in Australia. That they put up our electricity prices, that they are sucking us dry in any way possible and giving nothing back.

Does he think that all this sits well with us? Who are his advisors? Does he trust them so completely that he just rubber stamps everything?

There is so much more, but for me the worst of it is that even he has been sucked in by the pretenses of Black Lives Matters. It’s sheer hypocrisy. Tens of billions of dollars are thrown at renewables and batteries here in Australia. Our subsidies are in fact contributing to atrocities in developing countries. People, including young children, of all colours globally, are dying and being displaced through pollution as a direct result of the mining for renewables and batteries. And they are trying to ramp up the pace of this with cries of Catastrophic Climate Change. There are 40,000 children working in Cobalt mining alone in the Congo.

The CO2 rouse is part of the marketing and people pretend it’s justification.

I am ashamed to be a part of a so called developed country.

Payback is coming to us big time. Recycling this toxic trash will hit us big time. We will be dealing with the new asbestos. Though China sends theirs to Africa and the Middle East as though it’s really worth something.

I have know idea who I’ll vote for when the time comes here in Australia, but like him or not, if Donald Trump loses this upcoming election we are all doomed. The Green New Deal would destroy the planet.

Reply to  Megs
August 4, 2020 6:36 am

between scomo n shortarse?
scomos a best bet
losing albanese was smart
his whine annoyed more people than just me;-)

August 3, 2020 7:46 pm

Never interrupt your opponent when they are making a mistake.

August 3, 2020 8:14 pm

I wonder how long it will take all the Australian political parties to realise that ‘Climate Change’ and ‘Renewables’ are anti-capitalist issues that have, and will continue to, do severe electoral damage to any political party that takes them seriously. The first party to walk away from them will find out how much the Australian electorate is sick and tired of being brainwashed by this twaddle and worse, made to pay for policies which do long-term damage to the economy. The similarity with the promotion of Communistic ideas by the Left in the last century is remarkable, but hardly mentioned.

J Mac
August 3, 2020 8:42 pm

RE: “In the wake of three disastrous federal election defeats, Australia’s left wing Labor Party is openly feuding over whether “fundamentalist” green policies are delivering results.”

The irony of that statement put a large smile on my face! The ‘results’ delivered from their ‘fundamentalist green policies’ is three disastrous federal elections for the oxymoronic Labor Party. Their destructive policies are reaping bitter harvests. Slow learners, eh? “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” applies perfectly here!

August 3, 2020 8:43 pm

Joel is one of the incredibly small number of pollies on the left who have every had an actual job or run a small business.

He is quite level headed, I’ve enjoyed chatting with him over beers at family BBQs. Its always nice when you see little things you have thrown into a conversation come out in the public utterings.

August 3, 2020 9:05 pm

Not really sure what the problem is. Just lie. Lie about having a sensible , achievable energy strategy and get into power and then fly off into green fantasies due to some imaginary crisis, tipping point thing. Its not as if politicians have never before launched into some pet project that wasnt part of their election campaign. Happily there is a section of the party that is intent on virtue signalling above all, so they effectively shoot themselves in the foot until enough indoctrinated automatons come through the “education system”

August 3, 2020 9:35 pm

Funny that there’s no mention of Industry Superannuation in this discussion. Surely every Labor pollie wants a job with their super fund mates when they are done with “governing”. But these financial service jobs only come to them that toe the progressive line. And funds have plenty of lazy dosh to throw at all those renewable projects that would not get funding from real banks. This is now likely the main mechanism that the unions use to influence Labor government practitioners and bureaucrats.
Feuding – “Don’t interrupt an enemy when they are making a mistake”.

Reply to  Russell
August 3, 2020 10:05 pm

Russell the Industry Super Funds investing heavily in renewables is the reason that you won’t see much in the way of the ‘dirty side’ about them in the MSM. Of course the general public are starting to wake up to it, that’s why they’re ramping up the pressure to put more through as quickly as possible. The 20 billion dollar Darwin to Singapore scam is a fine example of that.

There are a lot of Australian’s who’ve been given permission to raid their superannuation funds due to the virus. They might turn out to be the lucky ones, once this pyramid scheme collapses there won’t be any money left to take out.

Reply to  Megs
August 4, 2020 12:13 am

Wait until the ethical super funds all take massive losses and the witch hunt begins 🙂

Reply to  LdB
August 4, 2020 4:48 am

Pass the popcorn!

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