Well, Australia's problems are solved; today the Greens take the balance of power in the Senate. Alternatively, if you listen to the loony right, the sky will fall in (it hasn't yet, but it's not 11am yet) and this will "ruin our once great nation" (so many things have happened to "ruin our once great nation" according to conservatives, that it's a wonder that there's anything left of a functioning democracy at all - which they seem bent on destroying anyway). The Herald Sun have already gotten in on the doomsaying in unintentionally amusing ways.
What It All Means is not that the Greens are running the country. However, the Government won't be able to pass legislation through the Senate without Greens approval, if the Opposition tries to block said legislation. Hopefully this will see some real, effective measures in improving environmental and social justice measures passed through parliament. Those of us on the Greens side of politics can only shake our heads and laugh ruefully when it's claimed that the Greens and Labor are in some sort of alliance. The evidence speaks for itself; does anyone honestly think the Greens are in favour of offshore asylum seeker processing, let alone the cruel, expensive and inhumane "Malaysian solution"? The ALP has taken Greens support for granted for too long, even as they clamour to present the electorate with the smiling face of Howard Lite. Now we're in a powerful bargaining position in our own right, I'm cautiously optimistic this will come to an end.
So who are our new "Greens Overlords"?
- Richard Di Natale - a former GP and Drug and Alcohol clinician from Geelong. He's worked in India on HIV prevention among drug users and has two Masters degrees in health.
- Lee Rhiannon - former member of the NSW Legislative Council, journalist, zoologist and founder of the Coalition for Gun Control.
- Larissa Waters - an environmental lawyer from Queensland.
- Penny Wright - a solicitor and mediator from SA. She's worked as a Dispute Resolution Practitioner with Relationships Australia and is a former campaigner for human rights and the environment.
So I'm looking forward to seeing what transpires over the next few months. As well as ending offshore processing and introduction of a carbon tax, I'd like to see the banning of open-toed bootie shoes and TV ads containing the phrase "as a mum...". Hey, I said I was optimistic.