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Election 2007

I am a member of the Greens. The main reason for joining them is that they have principles. The Greens Charter [1] guides everything, policy must comply with the charter and candidates agree to uphold the policies which have been ratified if they get elected. There are no “non-core promises“.

The policies of the Greens are all positive. The major parties have some mean-spirited policies that aim to help Australians by making things worse for people in other countries. Unfortunately for them the world is very inter-connected at the moment, so it’s difficult to harm other countries without harming yourself in the process.

As you might expect the Greens are very positive towards the environment. Anyone who expects to live for more than 30 years (or who has children) should be very concerned about this. Currently even the most cautious estimates of the scope of the climate change problem by reputable scientists suggest that there will be serious problems in the next few decades. If you are young or have children then you should vote for the Greens (that covers most people).

Many religious groups have determined that God wants them to help the environment, for example the Australian Anglican Church General Synod 2007 resolved that “the Anglican Communion’s 5th mark of mission to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth; and recognises that human activity contributing to Climate change is one of the most pressing ethical issues of our time”. Anglicans and believers in other religions that have similar ideas should vote for the Greens.

The Greens have policies that are very positive towards minority groups. If you are not a straight-white-Christian then this is a strong reason for voting for the Greens. If you are a straight-white-Christian but have compassion for others (as advocated in the Bible) then again voting for the Greens is the right thing to do.

The Greens policies are humane towards people in unfortunate situations, including drug addicts, the mentally ill, and the unemployed. When considering who to vote for keep in mind that at some future time you or a close friend or relative may fall into one of those categories.

Finally the Howard government’s industrial relations legislation is very bad for the majority of workers. If the Greens get the balance of power in the Senate then they will be able to get such laws significantly changed or removed.

The Greens election web site is here [2].

As an aside, I never liked Paul Keating (our last Prime Minister) until I read his op-ed piece in The Age about John Howard [3].

Also here is an interesting article on preferences and why the major parties want people to misunderstand the Australian electoral system [4]. In summary if you vote for the Greens as your first preference and they don’t win, then your second preference gets counted, and if that party doesn’t win then the third preference counts, etc. So if you have the two major parties in last and second-last position then your second-last preference may make an impact on the result! Putting Greens in the #1 position does not “waste” your vote. Parties get government funding based on the number of #1 votes, vote for the Greens as your first preference and you effectively give them $2 for their next campaign. Finally when a party wins an election they immediately look at where the #1 votes went and often adjust their policies to please the people. Vote #1 for the Greens and if Labour wins they will have more of an incentive to adopt policies that are similar to those of the Greens.

10 comments to Election 2007

  • Tom

    While I won’t be voting in tomorrow’s election, I agree with where you are coming from, and I do believe that the Greens do an excellent job in represent their voters. While I would not vote for them – I disagree with key areas of there policy – I think they do a smashing job. We need more smaller parties along the lines of the Greens.

  • Re: your comments about religion and the greens, as a Christian myself and as someone working on sustainable technologies, I’ve been very glad to see more people within the church starting to take seriously the issue of stewardship (i.e. conservation). It’s well overdue. I fully agree with your sentiment. What you’ll find though, is that some of the greens’ other policies are so strongly in opposition to some ethical/moral bible teachings (an obvious case being policy regarding gay marriage) that it’s enough of a turn-off not to want the party to form government, and thus not vote for them. I know many other strongly left-wing Christians who feel the same way. My own approach is to vote Labour for reps (Garrett as enviro minister = great!) and greens for senate, to add much-needed balance.
    I would never vote Liberal (or say Fred Nile’s party who ally themselves with liberal) no matter how much their morality _seems_ to be “Christian”, because it’s a party that worships money (“the economy blah blah economy! blah prosperity! blah blah”) and heavily favours the rich at the expense of the underpriveliged. That’s deadset unbiblical.

  • etbe

    Dave: Where is the bible does it say anything about banning gay marriage? My Jewish friends assure me that the Torah doesn’t ban homosexuality (the interpretation of the passage in question is apparently a complex issue due to a grammatical error) so therefore any accurate translation of the “Old Testament” won’t ban it (my Jewish friends claim that taking the Torah without the oral traditions as is done with the “Old Testament” is also wrong).

    There is also the issue of whether any of the rules from the Torah should apply to converts to Christianity who were not previously Jewish. I believe that the majority opinion from the earliest days was that that they shouldn’t.

    Incidentally, I hope you don’t eat bacon or cheese-burgers. They are both clearly and unambiguously prohibited in the Old Testament. Any Christian who wants to ban gay marriage and also wants to be respected by anyone who has read the bible should first start by trying to ban bacon.

  • Tom

    etbe, my main disagreement with the Greens is their approach to nuclear power and the Aboriginal issue.

  • etbe, I wasn’t intending to start an exegetical wrangle over the Torah. If that’s what you’re after, I would suggest reading something like “What Some Of You Were”*. There are enough references to homosexuality itself being sinful in the New Testament anyway (e.g. 1Cor 6:9) for me not to be troubled by liberal theological gymnastics over the Old.T references. It was just a convenient example of the point I was making, being a high profile issue.

    However, you have also demonstrated very neatly another reason why even politically left-wing Christians are unlikely to vote Greens – that being that the party and its members are often very antagonistic toward orthodox Christianity. I wouldn’t want a party in power that consistently demonstrated a strong antagonism toward my world-view and belief system. I’m sure you wouldn’t either. Nobody would. Odds are that once in power, such a party would start attempting to suppress or persecute that worldview. No thanks.

    I personally believe that the presence of the Greens is necessary to maintain balance against the ultra right-wing element in politics (no shortage of far-right voters in Oz, unfortunately) but I really wouldn’t want them to _be_ the government.
    You’re free to disagree, I’m just sharing my take on why it is that not many Christians would be voting for the Greens.

    * http://secure.fellowworkers.com/cgi-bin/mmstore/wsyw.html

  • etbe

    Tom: The minimum time to get a new nuclear power plant fully operational is 15 years. The best information suggests that we don’t have that much time to address the climate change issue.

    Dave: I’ve spent some time discussing the Torah with Jewish friends, I doubt that you could teach me anything about it. It’s not any “theological gymnastics” on my part, merely consulting the experts on the document in question (religious Jews). Incidentally the word you are looking for is “eisegesis”, not “exegesis”. I already explained why I believe that almost all Christian use of the Old Testament is incorrect – but don’t argue with me, tell the next religious Jew you meet that their belief about their own holy book is wrong.

    As for 1Cor 6:9, that verse states that the effeminate will not go to heaven – it’s interesting to note that the largest denomination bans it’s priests from marrying and most major churches have their priests wear what is (by today’s standards) women’s clothing. 1Cor 11 is used to oppose equal rights for women, if you are going to try to follow everything in 1Cor then you will be opposing almost everyone in this regard.

    But really, all the Christians who want to persecute homosexuals should just read 1Cor 13.

    I have no antagonism towards the Orthodox church, they are a bit old-fashioned and difficult in some ways (some priests refuse to allow people of other denominations to marry in their churches – this wasn’t a problem for me when I was married although I had to claim to be Catholic) but these are minor issues. The Orthodox Church in Australia has no history of trying to suppress other religions or beliefs (AFAIK).

    It’s the churches that want to suppress science (have Creationism taught in science classes) etc that get an antagonistic reaction from everyone who values freedom.

    Then of course there’s the GodHatesAmerica.com crowd who are abhorred by all decent people. It seems that there are some issues on which you agree with them, this in itself isn’t necessarily a problem, but when you want to use legislation to force such beliefs on others then you will get a negative reaction.

    PS Almost every Christian I know personally and with whom I have discussed these issues voted for the Greens. The exceptions are the ones who vote for Family First.

  • If you choose to equate me with the godhatesamerica people, then to quote the late great Tyler Durden: this conversation is over.

  • etbe

    Dave: You agree with them on the most essential part of their belief system. The fact that you go to such lengths to persecute people who don’t do anything to you instead of merely ignoring them is what puts you in the same category as the godhatesamerica people.

    You could choose to disagree with them if you wanted to.

  • I will say this one thing: you have made a ridiculous number of assumptions about my personal attitude to, and dealings with, homosexual people. Get off your high-horse. To set the record straight, I have a close family member who is gay and who, believe it or not, I don’t persecute and vilify. Disagree with, yes. Persecute, no. The disagreement hasn’t affected our friendship or family tie in any way, from his perspective or mine. Am I going to great lengths to persecute gays? Hardly.
    It was never what my comments were about anyway – they were about whether (in general) orthodox Christians are likely to support the majority of greens policy and thus vote for them. Clearly I’ve hit a raw nerve by bringing up the topic of homosexuality, to the point that you’re now implying I’m in some way affiliated with a bizarre cultic hate-group. It’s the sort of tactic I’d expect from political commentators like Ann Coulter, a kind of ad hominem along the lines of “if you are a muslim you are therefore a terrorist”.
    So really, I think any useful conversation is well and truly over.

  • etbe

    Dave: If you have no desire to persecute homosexuals then why do you care whether they get married or not? Disagreeing with someone does not require enacting legislation to prevent them deny them the same rights as everyone else.

    It’s not a raw nerve. I merely have a strong belief that people should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t hurt others. You believe that people should not be permitted to do anything that goes against your religion (even people who don’t follow it). You could have started claiming that your religion demands that you lobby for laws prohibiting alcohol, sex before marriage, pornography, women showing their faces in public, women owning property or voting, blasphemy, or any of a number of other topics common for religious oppression and received exactly the same reaction from me.

    Do you have any disagreement in theology with the GodHatesAmerica,com crowd? Or is your only disagreement with them regarding the tactics used for implementing theocratic laws?

    Do you believe that we need “bedroom police” to prevent homosexuals from having sex? Do you believe that “aversion therapy” should be forced on homosexuals? Should homosexuals be prohibited from working for the government or other jobs?