POLITICS

The Greens Are A Mess -- And So Is Politics In General

No politician should throws stones at the moment.

19/07/2017 4:07 PM AEST | Updated 19/07/2017 4:23 PM AEST
Alex Ellinghausen/Fairfax
"It's been a shocking few weeks, no sugar-coating it, Leigh, it's been shocking," Richard Di Natale.

CANBERRA -- As far as own goals go, the Greens have kicked two spectacular howlers over the past week, taking out their two leading lights -- Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters.

A failure of paperwork and due diligence. Two breaches of the Australian Constitution for standing for election as dual citizens. Simply, they were not eligible.

Even arch political enemy, the freshly promoted Immigration Minister Peter Dutton feels "sad" for the departing Greens.

That hurts.

The Prime Minister has accused them of "incredible sloppiness" and "extraordinary negligence," while Labor Leader Bill Shorten called on the Greens to "get their house in order".

They owned up to it, they will be missed, but there are no excuses. This Constitutional no-no is specifically addressed on the nomination forms.

It's hard to fathom what Waters and Ludlam were thinking when ticked the boxed on their forms all those years ago. Did they not have a little voice saying 'hey! maybe this is something I need to check?' And if in doubt, always check?

The real responsibility lies with the Greens party machine. The vetting system has failed them and all of the Greens are now paying for that.

The Greens are in an unprecedented period of infighting and NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon is currently sitting on the sidelines after being temporarily suspended from the party room after an ugly split over schools policy.

"It's been a shocking few weeks, no sugar-coating it, Leigh [Sales], it's been shocking," Greens Leader Richard Di Natale told the ABC's 730 in the wake of Waters' resignation.

"I've got members and supporters who I suspect will be feeling like many of us -- they'll be frustrated, they'll be disappointed. Many of our members, supporters and indeed, voters, will be reeling right now."

And they are.

The Greens debacle feeds into the growing distrust and distaste Australians have for politics. Policy and the public good are again taking a back seat while politicians talk about themselves.

People are tuning in elsewhere and then the alternatives are saying unfounded, "uneducated", mind-boggling things about vaccinations, disabled children and black lung disease.

The Prime Minister's national security shake-up this week is purely being seen through the prism of his own survival. Turnbull is having to deny he is 'pacifying' Dutton, the conservative figure he is promoting to the soon-to-be-created Home Affairs portfolio. Those who put that cynical view to him are putting a "political gloss" on his announcement.

It's the biggest shake-up of national security in 40 years, but you would not know it.

Of course Turnbull, has a political problem that comes wrapped in all the recent Newspolls. The Liberal Party is in the midst of another big scrap, and now that we are starting to talk about the date for the expected 2019 federal election, self-preservation amongst the members is starting to kick in.

And no matter how many radio interviews Turnbull did on Wednesday trying to sell the Home Affairs overhaul, he is fighting for clear air and his predecessor lurking on the backbench won't give it to him.

Can you believe the luck of Shorten? He's just sitting and watching it all happen. Surely with a smile.

Correction: The author has removed a reference to source of the Ludlum dirt digging. A "non political" WA barrister has been identified has the digger.

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