The Greens - I'm With The Brand

You'd think someone of my political persuasion, being a Greens member and all, would be a nature lover. Nope. I can't stand nature. I'm a lady out of the concrete canyons. I hate dirt, trees, fresh air, and being away from wifi. And nature hates me back - look at all the dangerous things that happen to people woh go out in nature. There's an awful lot of weather out there, and you can get lost, and aren't "natural" disasters the worst sort? That said, I'm a pretty peaceful sort of person, so I wish no particular ill upon nature; I just think the best place for humans is in medium-density housing in the city, leaving nature well alone.

So I'm not a tree hugger, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean. I understand the need for a pristine natural environment, but it's not one of my main passions. And whilst I'm well aware that environmental protection is the Greens' raison d'etre, I was nonetheless surprised to read that, according to the SMH, the Greens brand is outdated and they need to remarked themselves to appeal to a new demographic on social justice issues. Really? It's not like the Greens are doing too badly. Leaving aside the untrue line that the Greens are actually running the country (that'd be nice!), they're doing pretty well in the polling at the moment, and getting some good work done in parliament, with nine senators and Australia's best-looking parliamentarian, Adam Bandt (although he would have faced some stiff competition from the lovely and vivacious Helen Coonan).

So is the Greens' image really that of sandal-wearing hippies? I began voting for the Greens, and later joined the party, because of their policies on social justice issues. Labor and Liberal were largely indistinguishable on many of the issues - asylum seekers, same sex marriage, welfare, education - and believing that the measure of a society is how we treat the worst-off of us, I could no longer in good conscience keep supporting the Labor party. I'm not alone; it has been lamented that Labor is losing a generation of talent to the Greens, so it seems that even if the Greens are perceived as crusty dreadlocked types chained to trees, there is more than that attracting the 1.4 million Australians who gave the Greens there first preference at the 2010 federal election.

Does it really matter that "Greens" has become a pejorative term on talkback radio, a synonym for socialism, government control, do gooders and bleeding hearts? I'm proud to be "insulted" by talkback radio callers and News Ltd columnists; the bile spewing from the right may actually be doing some good. Would rebranding the Greens do any good anyway? The Country Party became the National Party, but without a significant change of party they've not exactly set alight inner urban electorates.
Besides, Greens parties an international movement, thanks in part to Bob Brown. The Australian Greens would be nuts to distance themselves from it. No, the Greens should stay proud to stay exactly the way they are.

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