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May 12th 2016 print

Christian Kerr

Greens in Drag

Bob Brown in his op-shop pants wouldn't recognise the latest crop of candidates, with their fashion-label shirts, horn-rimmed specs, even a bow tie for Heaven's sake! Fortunately, there are still a few who uphold the tradition of weird names, gender fluidity and unadorned ratbaggery

fox in a suitAre the doctors’ wives of Australia being softened up by a creeping program of propaganda?  We all know that the ABC is a hotbed of leftist activity. And in the traffic report just ahead of the 7.45 news this morning, listeners to Melbourne’s 774 were told of a burst water main in Kew, in the middle of Kooyong, the bluest of blue-ribbon territory, where, they were assured “things will get worse before they get better”. Pure Trotskyism.

Much has been made of the YouTube video that surfaced yesterday in whiche the Green’s candidate for Anthony Albanese’s seat, Jim Casey, declared, “I would prefer to see Tony Abbott returned as prime minister with a labour movement that was growing, with an anti-war movement that was disrupting things in the streets, with a strong and vibrant women’s movement, Indigenous movement, and a climate change movement that was actually starting to disrupt the production of coal.” They seem to get them that way in Grayndler. The last Green that Albanese faced blogged away merrily at a site called Watermelon.

But by and large Greens candidates are playing down the Fourth International stuff or the links to even nastier doctrines. They don’t want the doctor’s wives asking “This ice pick: was it Alessi or Christofle?” – let alone anything curlier. And so we see Alex Bhathal, the candidate for the inner-northern Melbourne seat of Batman, who is hoping to surf in over Labor’s David Feeney on a flow of Liberal preferences, sporting pearls in her official campaign photo.

Jason Ball, the candidate for Higgins, in the city’s inner-east, has a tie and less hair product than Mike Baird. Their contender for the bellwether western Sydney seat of Lindsay, Kingsley Liu, looks like a classic Ivy League professor in plaid bow tie and tortoiseshell specs. And staying with the preppy look is Chris Winslow, running for nearby Greenway, who is pictured in a Lacoste shirt.

Upholding traditional values, the delightfully-named Greens candidate for Corangamite, Patchouli Paterson, hasn’t thought it necessary to be known as plain “Patsy” for the duration of the campaign, but otherwise it appears Greens candidates are going to some lengths to look as nice and normal as possible this election. Even their candidate for Blaxland, Suzan Virago, a large young woman of masculine bearing who appears to have waltzed out of Patrick Cook’s Susan and Susan comic strip of the Eighties in a Hard Yakka shirt (and who may just have changed her surname), is all smiles in her official photo.

True, there might be a lot of facial hair in all the photographs, but its far more restrained that the fuzz you find on the waiters at many five-star restaurants.

No. There’s nothing threating about the Greens. Except …

Except that their leader, Richard Di Natale, saw nothing wrong with Casey’s comments. “Jim wants to see a more caring and more decent society”, he told Lateline last night, describing his candidate as “a strong believer” in “traditional values”.

Indeed, Di Natale continued, Casey was simply voicing “the mainstream progressive values that I spoke about when I took on the leadership.” Presumably we’ll see those values on display when the Greens hold their national conference in Melbourne this coming Saturday and Sunday. Or would – were they to let the media in.

Even though there’s nothing threatening about the Greens.