Labor Breaks With Greens In Australia

  • Date: 09/01/14
  • Matt Denholm, The Australian

Labor is poised to emphatically end its last significant experiment of power sharing with the Greens as the party seeks to rebuild its standing among its disaffected traditional blue-collar base.

The Australian understands the Tasmanian ALP is preparing to sever its four-year power-sharing alliance with the Greens and publicly vow not to repeat the arrangement, even in the event of another hung parliament.

Labor’s move, yet to be endorsed by a vote of state caucus but broadly supported across its rank and file, blue-collar trade unions and leadership group, would end its last dalliance with the Greens at the state or national level.

It follows the collapse early last year of the Gillard government’s agreement with the Greens, struck with then Greens leader Bob Brown in the wake of the 2010 hung parliament and severed over fundamental policy disagreements, including the mining tax and asylum-seekers.

In the past 18 months, there has also been a repudiation of such power-sharing deals by Labor leaders in Victoria, NSW and Western Australia, and an ongoing attempt by leading ALP figures, such as union leader Paul Howes, to distance Labor from the Greens federally. A Tasmanian decision to reject future deals would leave the ACT – with a large population of white-collar public servants and high-income households – as the only jurisdiction in which Labor remained open to an alliance with the minor party.

While final decisions on the details of the Tasmanian split are yet to be made, The Australian understands a consensus has emerged in Labor ranks that the Greens alliance has run its course – and should not be repeated.

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