A political career with a bit of colour

DON’T underestimate the symbolism of an Australian political legend named Brown standing down as leader of the Australian Greens on Black Friday.

Some will say Bob Brown’s red and green views and vision for this country and the planet’s collective ecological futures were a lot greyer than those held by other Greens.

But they may also agree with suggestions the Greens legend has now handed the party’s leadership over to someone whose thinking is a little more black and white on watermelon philosophies, in Tasmanian Senator Christine Milne.

While dark clouds have hovered over the heads of all political leaders at some stage in their careers, Senators Brown’s nebulosity has produced more silver linings in recent times than some other leaders clouding the federal scene.

But don’t think for a moment he’s never turned white as a ghost in contemplating political survival or fortune, nor is he as white as the driven snow – he’s in the wrong job for that kind of colour-blind reasoning.

Anyone who has ever remotely considered becoming an environmental activist or protestor will be green with envy at Senator Brown’s multiple achievements during three decades in the political spotlight.

While many criticise the Green legend’s red and green intentions - and even his opposition to the global dominance of the US greenback and military forces - they could never accuse him of being yellow-bellied in the pursuit of those causes.

Dominating the early headlines about the Green’s leadership shift last week was news they now plan to focus more attention on the nation’s finances and scrutinise the numbers harder, through a purple lens.

The Federal budget is a perennial issue that’s likely to cause more than a few more political blues in upcoming months leading up to budget time, as the Federal government continues pushing its desire to get the economy in the black.

Some say the government’s pursuit of an overall economic surplus is merely an ideological goal and some aspects of the nation’s finances would be better of remaining in the red.

Being in the black for the sake of being in the black is not as positive for some longer-term goals and programs, as some people may have you believe.

But the Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan will be break into a golden glow and adopt a ruddy complexion if he can achieve that symbolic surplus for the ALP.

However, if budget cuts are made for the sake of slashing costs and programs, including green ones, to achieve an overall surplus, some people will see red.

Being in the red can sometimes be better than being in the black, especially if some sectors of the economy, like mining, are running white-hot, while others are stone-cold.

If you’re confused or seeing red about this kaleidoscope of colourful thoughts and ideas, then consider the Prime Minister may be tickled pink to see the back of Senator Brown.

Those who support the mining of black gold in Australia will also be tickled pink at the Green guru’s departure.

But he won’t be missed for long with other Greens lining up to talk down mining until they’re blue in the face, having watched, listened and learned.

And finally, one achievement of Senator Brown’s from his days in 1970 working as a young doctor in London deserves a footnote, in that he pronounced dead the artist Jimi Hendrix, who gave us the classic song - Purple Haze - which from reading the lyrics appears it was dedicated to another interesting mix of colours, light and imagery in the pursuit of meaning.

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25/04/2012 12:55:45 PM

if someone can explain to me why Tasmania, with less than 400 thousand voters, gets the same number of senators as 4.6 million voters, it would help. Greens have an inflated ego as their Tasmanian over representation is holding the country to ransom. Election now please.
26/04/2012 7:23:34 AM

Oh please Colin. Colour analogies are fine up to a point, but this goes way beyond that.
26/04/2012 8:55:26 AM

Shambolic, the answer goes back to Federation in 1901. The smaller population colonies, like WA and Tasmania, only agreed to all the terms in the new Constitution if they could have the same number of Senators as every other new state. WA and Tassie could see that they would be outvoted in the House of Representatives by the large populations of Vic and NSW, hence more seats in the HoR. The Senate was designed as the 'states' house and the Senators from each state would vote in the interests of that state, not along party lines. We are stuck with it - very hard to change the Constitution.
Canberra CommentFairfax Agricultural Media Canberra correspondent Colin Bettles tackles the big national rural and agricultural issues which will impact regional and rural Australians.


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