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There is one Party above all others that like to try and lay claim to the word progressive. They have made it clear that it is their “buzz-word” and it is one they feel a need to own.

That Party is of course the Greens.

I looked up the meaning of the word progressive in several dictionaries and have yet to find a definition that embraces the notion of hypocrisy and the idea of silencing the voices of the working class.

Never the less that is the agenda that the Greens are progressing.

The Greens have long opposed corporate donations and have also opposed the right of unions to make donations and contributions to political parties. Corporate donations are something I will be looking into at a later stage, but as for the union involvement in political campaigns that they oppose, Party hypocrisy is rearing its ugly head again.

The Greens have announced that the head of the NSW FBEU (Fire Brigade Employee’s Union), Jim Casey, will be running against Anthony Albanese in the upcoming Federal Election. Apparently the union Casey heads is not fit to donate money, run campaigns during elections, or provide resources to political campaigns. However despite that, the Greens believe Casey is fit to act as a political candidate.

Jim Casey (right) poses with a Liberal Party Councillor Image - News Ltd

Jim Casey (right) poses with a Liberal Party Councillor
Image – News Ltd

This made me wonder will the Party that opposes union donations and the use of union resources for political campaigns hold the same attitude towards Casey’s campaign?

This would mean that any time spent by Casey or any FBEU staff member campaigning, even online, would need to be done whilst on leave from the union. It would also mean no union resource could be used such as printing, mailing, telephony or meeting rooms etc or else the Greens would be seemingly acting in contradiction to their own policy. In fact any such union contribution would only serve to highlight the Greens “do as we say and not as we do” attitude, flexible morality and double standards.

Given these issues, I contacted Greens leader Richard Di Natale via Twitter, and despite sending him a reminder online twice a day have yet to receive a response. Alas I spelt Jim’s surname wrong (sorry Jim) as I copied the spelling from an article that had misspelt it.



I want to make it abundantly clear that this in no way reflects on the work of the FBEU, which has been truly exemplary.

The issue is also not that I think unions should be excluded from campaigns. I actually think quite the opposite. I think it is completely undemocratic to attempt to silence the only voice the working class have from political debate. To try and shut down the voice of the working class is a betrayal of democracy and is a clear indication that if you are someone who works for a boss then you would be foolish to vote for the Greens as history has proven that the Greens will join forces with the Liberal’s to shut the working class out of the political debate.

Fortunately the High Court Of Australia felt the same way and overturned the legislation that sought to shut out unions from political campaigns and donations.

Legislation that would mean Coal Seam Gas Miners could spend millions of dollars on commercials during an election campaign to influence voters, but a union representing cleaners or nurses could not mount a campaign to try and achieve better working conditions.

Legislation that meant donations could be made by a corporation to both the Liberal Party and National Party, effectively doubling the ability to donate to the Coalition.

Legislation the Greens in NSW voted in favor of.

Richard Di Natale - Avoiding the tricky questions

Richard Di Natale – Avoiding the tricky questions

So what is a Green to do when the legislation they supported and voted for is seen as undemocratic and overturned by the High Court Of Australia?

They can do what the Greens Member for Balmain Jamie Parker did by trying to pretend you were actually on the side of democracy and the Court by sending out an email to your database welcoming the overturning of the legislation you wholeheartedly backed and supported.

In an email sent from Jamie Parkers office, Parker proclaimed regarding the High Court decision;

“It was a fantastic result which gives us the opportunity to continue to clean up our political system.”

 I’m sorry but switching sides won’t win you any credibility awards Jamie.

The email stated that Jamie had been “leading the charge” on political donations reform, despite the legislation he personally backed being overturned by the High Court.

The email sent out by Parker was so blatantly misleading and overtly dishonest that I decided that I should respond to see if he really believed his own bullshit.

It turns out he doesn’t. But he expects you to.

In answer to my question on what work the Greens had done to achieve what Parker claimed was a “fantastic result” his response was

“We support the ban…”

I guess Parker views it as a “fantastic result” when he loses. I hope he has an equally fantastic result next NSW election.

When queried on this remark; 

“NSW laws currently ban alcohol, tobacco, gambling and developer interests from making political donations. The Court also upheld our laws which apply caps on the amount of political donations.”

which seemingly indicates that the Greens were responsible for bans on political donations from some industries, Parker responded to my query in this way;

“We Greens do not take credit for this but recognise it was credit to the community who pushed hard for reform and the Parliament (no one party had a majority) who passed the laws.”

These were massive changes to legislation that were in fact drafted, debated, fought for, and pushed by the Labor Party.

It would seem that when Labor turns progressive policy into passed legislation it is referred to as a “credit to the community”, and when it is failed Greens backed Liberal policy it is referred to as “leading the charge”.

Other issues I raised in my email regarding corporate donations Parker seemed to misunderstand. At least I would hope this was an intentional misunderstanding, as the alternative would mean that Parker should probably be in school rather than parliament. I sought then to clear up the confusion and never received a response.

The correspondence can be viewed in full here.

Jamie Parker Correspondence

The funny thing about this is that I have only met both Jim Casey and Jamie Parker once, and funnily enough it was at the same event that I met them both.

Jamie Parker, Jim Casey and other FBEU members and staff at a rally  Image - News Ltd

Jamie Parker, Jim Casey and other FBEU members and staff at a rally
Image – News Ltd

The event was an FBEU protest in Balmain against the Liberal Party seeking to shut down Balmain Fire Station. In fact if you look at the left hand side of the above photo you will see me looking at the heavens at the approaching electrical storm awaiting lightning to strike Parker down for his hypocrisy.

Those also wondering why I’m on the email database of a Greens member may crack a smile at the hypocrisy of this.

Whilst at the protest I filled out what I believed was a union petition against the closure of the fire station at one of a number of tables that were manned by FBEU personnel. After filling out that petition I was suddenly on the Greens member Jamie Parker’s email database.

I guess this is one Green who doesn’t mind using union resources for political campaigning despite voting against it.

Progressive Hypocrisy Pty Ltd…

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16 thoughts on “Hypocrite Blues – Greens struggling with their own ideology

  1. Wixxy as Bob Nanva of the RTBU stated in the NSW 2014 ALP State Con,the Party hierarchy wants only corporate donations and is distancing from Unions.
    So is this an embroilment of Sussex Street`s right factional lethargy pushing into Federal Grayndler and Albos turf along Marrickville Road.

    The hypocrisy of the Greens needs no mention to this reader as the play their troika card we see their preferences were not distributed to Labor completely with almost 17% of them going to the LNP in 2013

    So with an election that had only 30K votes in it across the board this makes one wonder even more at agenda.

    Now the Greens Hall Greenland received a little over 23% of the vote against Albo in 2013 dropping 2.87% on the previous election
    So could they be planning a compete preference swap with the LNP as to whose candidate finishes above the other then they`ll combine to oust Albo
    Liberal Spencer could have done this with all other preferences going to him and Albo would have been gone as he polled 24% of the Grayndler vote

    But Albo polling just over 47% saw a 1.11% rise for him and we have much serendipity possible because of the LOTO voting etc which may see Albo getting over 50% outright

    Casey and the FBEU being a Greens affiliate? well some unions have sold out to corporations and the SDA has been the primary example with even de Bruyn now backing SSM so he can hold power and influence the ALP with his dinosaur policy making.

  2. I say it every time Peter, and this is no exception – the system is broken.

    whilst you are searching online dictionaries and word databases, may I suggest you check out the word “democracy” which you mis-use with what I would consider to be reckless abandon !

    maybe you should consider writing a post on the death of democracy, and/or the incompatibility of capitalism and democracy as co-existing systems … a topic that may well be more relevant and pertinent at this point in the cycle. Chris Hedges and Sheldon Wolin have much to say on the subject – it’s time to evolve.

  3. Liberal legislation that greens backed to stop unions ability to campaign or make donations during political campaigns

  4. Here is a link to an article giving an overview of the case.
    Is this the case you are talking about Peter?
    Moreover, the Greens don’t oppose unions making political donations. A number of unions supported the Greens at the last federal election and I have no doubt they will do so again. As I understand it, the Greens position on political donations is about strengthening democracy by working to avoid quid pro quo deals. I see nothing here about the Greens trying to keep unions and union members out of the democratic process.

  5. So this whole article is essentially about Peter’s opposition to campaign finance reform? Attempting to imply that the Greens supporting campaign finance reform makes the party “hypocritical”? That preventing large donations from organisations/individuals is somehow an affront to democracy and “shutting down the voice of the working class”?

    I would have thought it was the exact opposite myself.

    Nevertheless, I wish him the best of luck, in a suitably faceless fashion.

  6. Can you provide examples where Greens “opposed the right of unions to make donations and contributions to political parties”?

    and the point me to the “Liberal legislation that greens backed to stop unions ability to campaign or make donations during political campaigns”?

    I checked the Aus and NSW Greens POLICY:


    The Australian Greens (AG), as a party committed to enhancing Australia’s democratic process, will pursue the model of publicly funded elections at all levels of government. Publicly funded elections would promote more equitable access and reduce the risk of corruption through donations.

    In the current situation where donations, including gifts-in-kind as defined by the Australian Electoral Commission, are used by parties throughout the political cycle, AG, using transparent practices, will accept donations, subject to ethical review.



    Palmer United Party $25,932,983
    Australian Greens $1,666,954

    “But without it we are dead in the water. The truth of the matter is that without donations made to our party we cannot compete with the old parties or the cashed-up millionaire party of Clive Palmer.


    We all know that contesting elections is expensive. Clive is preparing to sue Jacqui Lambie and Glenn Lazarus for costs incurred by the Palmer United Party for their election campaigns. Jacqui is facing a bill of $2 million; Glenn, $7 million. $9 million for two people. By comparison, the Australian Greens spent less than $5 million on the 2013 election — across the whole country.

    It’s not that we Greens don’t accept donations from unions or corporate entities. With the exception of the Greens NSW (where it is a Party policy that corporate donations cannot be accepted) all State parties — and the Australian Greens — can accept donations from organisations. However, donations are vetted by Donation Reference Groups (DRG) in each state — and in the case of contributions being made to the Australian Greens — the DRG has representatives from each state and contributions over $1,500 are listed on our website.”

    NSW policy

    38. requiring each political donation from not-for-profit organisations including unions to be:

    a. approved by a decision-making body that is elected by the membership,

    b. fully disclosed to all members of that organisation, and

    c. within the relevant donation caps;

  7. Not at all, I have backed many campaign finance reforms.

    The working class do not have access to millions such as industry lobby groups and major corporations. Examples of which are the anti-pokie campaign that ran and the anti-mining tax campaign.

    They rely on the unions to run and fund campaigns on their behalf. To oppose that is to seek to silence the representatives of the working class

  8. This is a different, but related matter

    The Greens do oppose unions making political donations actually, it is in their policies and it is something referred to in the correspondence with Jamie Parker a Green MP,and it is something they have voted as a Party for in NSW Parliament. I do not know how they could make it more clear.

    This is keeping union members out of the process, part of the legislation the Greens backed was to stop unions being allowed to run campaigns during an election campaign, a time when they will be of most influence and of greatest use to their membership.

    Keeping the workers elected representatives from running a campaign whilst allowing industry groups to run campaigns like we have already seen from the Clubs lobby group against pokie reform, or the mining industry against the mining super-profits tax is about as far from progressive as I can imagine and is a position that should sicken and disgust every single worker in the country.

    How you can say the selective silencing of a huge section of the public is strengthening democracy is utterly beyond me

  9. The matter is referred to in the email from Jamie Parker, as is the legislation and High Court case

    Greens may accept donations from unions, but it goes against their stated policies

  10. You are confusing the two high court cases the recent one had nothing to do with unions and was only about spending caps and similar.

  11. Here we go Peter. A few fine examples of of seemingly purblind Greens’ devotees rejecting any apparent criticism of their ‘Sainted’ Greens despite provided facts.

  12. I would also go so far as to say that a union donating to the Greens is an intentional misuse of members funds, and would encourage members to bear that in mind when electing officials.

    Unions negotiate with a government things like award rates. It is fair to say that a Coalition govt will not be union friendly, it would also be obvious that these negotiations are highly unlikely to be with a Green govt. This leaves the best option negotiating with a Labor government.

    It does not take an Eistein to realise that the best way to start a negotiation is not going to be having to deal with the fact that you funded the campaign of the opponents of those whom you seek a favourable outcome for your members from.

  13. Exactly Peter. Well said. Wonder if these union members are aware of this? Or that their resources might be used to campaign against the very MPs who would fight hardest for their best interests. Nowadays a vote for the Greens is a vote for the LNP. After years of voting Green for the senate, but after witnessing the chicanery of the NSW Greens during our latest state elections I shall never ever give them a single vote nor preference. It will be Nats last & Greens second last. Maybe even the other way around depending.

  14. So… the future of the union movement depends on whether unions can give large sums of money to the Labor Party or not? Defending the ability of the De Bruyn family, the Ludwig family, the Farrell family & other such repugnant people to exercise political influence through money is somehow about supporting the interests of the working class? Supporting the voice of workers?

    It really isn’t.

    And real campaign finance reform means statutory donation limits. It’s curious to see this apparently opposed within this blog, & seemingly implied that such donation limits would somehow silence workers, rather than giving workers the more equal say we deserve in a mature democracy.

    Also puzzled how a vote for the Greens is somehow a vote for the LNP, and voting for Labor somehow isn’t, when Green MPs have voted for less Coalition legislation – 2% – than any other MPs/Senators in Federal Parliament, while Labor have voted for 35% of Coalition bills since the last election. Would like to see evidence of supposed “NSW Greens chicanery” too. But if the last commenter wishes to aid the Coalition with her preferences, that’s up to him/her, I suppose.

  15. I too am amused by your putting words in my mouth

    I have no issue with Labor taking donations from unions because they did not back Liberal legislation that sought to stop unions being able to donate and run political campaigns

    The Greens did, whether you like it or not.

    I did not make any mention of the union movements future at all

    You seem to be reading what you want to read into my article, perhaps I should just post a blank page and you can just read what you want into that?

    As for statutory donation limits I didn’t say I oppose those, apparently or not. I do note however that the Greens probably wouldn’t support this move given they were the beneficiaries of Australia’s largest ever political donation.

    Then again, given their form, they may back it and still take the donations at any rate, the hypocrisy all seems to wash off with their supporters anyway.

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