Strategic Futurists; Value Systems Specialists


Will a Change in Greens Leadership make the Nationals Redundant?

Wednesday 6 May 2015

With the moderately surprising news that Christine Milne had decided to step out of her current political life, Dr Richard Di Natale moved into the driver's seat for the Greens. And I flag that this spells trouble for the National Party because this shift, this change in voice and style, connected to similar passions, will offer the traditionally National voting rural constituent, the 'go signal' for change. And here's why:

  1. The high level of disenchantment with the national's support for mining over farming particularly across NSW and QLD;
  2. The ongoing saga of perceived practises of the #Duopoly, Coles & Woolworths, and their treatment of farmers;
  3. The threats posed to rural and semi rural communities through Coal Seam gas fracking and threats to fresh water supplies from the chemicals used in that process;
  4. The perceived collapse in 'independent voice' at the Federal level with too many coalition aligned policies seemingly out of whack with rural concerns. 
  5. And into that mix, the support many rural communities received from the 'feral' green types trying to stop Maules Creek and other mining projects.


What those protests enabled for perhaps the first time, was a realisation on the part of the rural communities, that the people they thought were merely tree huggers, actually shared a similar concerns and passion - love for the land, the environment and the future. When you have a local farmer coming out publicly and saying that 'I would have lost my farm if not for these people' then you have a shift in awareness. That message, that impetus was clearly shown in state voting patterns, especially in NSW where inroads into vote % were significant. This was no protest vote, it was a fundamental shift in thinking of large sections of country Australia.

And now, with a new face at the helm of the National Greens, someone who has worked in the rural sector, who has seen the plights of people some distances from the cities, is a messenger that could parlay that growing Greens/Rural alignment into a significant shift in political representation. For over a decade I've suggested that the natural political alignment is between the Greens and the Nationals. It's not yet a comfortable fit, but it is a natural one. This new Greens leadership could well make the Nationals (at least the current group) redundant, for if all they do is represent non rural sector interests over those of their constituents, those same constituents will find voice through those who do.

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