The Greens

The Greens (2011) edited by Andrew McIntyre is an assessment of what are alleged to be the policies of The Australian Greens. Unfortunately, as recent attempted assessments of the Australian right from the left by Waleed Ali have done the book, while containing some worthwhile insights, winds up showing how people of different political persuasions have difficulty dealing with the reality that people have different values. It also shows how rare relatively balanced book such as Paul Kelly’s The End of Certainty are on politics.But such books look at the practical reality rather than the purported philosophy of parties.

The strongest sections of the book are those on the great weakness of the Greens, the economy. Sinclair Davison and Alan Oxley point out that the Greens policies on Economics are poor. Davison writes about how the Greens have little understanding of opportunity cost and that their desired interventions into the economy are essentially a throwback to policies that most people rejected in the 1960s. Oxley points out the effective opposition of the Greens to Free Trade.

Other chapters that are interesting are the one on the unions by Grace Collier and Kevin Phillips. The two authors detail how the Greens are attempting to gain favour from the Unions and get funding from them.

Impressively the book does make sure to refer to the Greens policies on their website and in other Greens literature.

The book will, like critiques of the right from the left, be read mostly by people who agree little, or not at all with the Greens. It makes some points that are worthwhile but will probably not change many people’s views of the Greens. A balanced book on the actual Greens party would be a better read.


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