The Greens should broaden their base.
If they want to survive and indeed prosper as a political movement and get their vote above the low teens, they need to broaden their appeal.
It may involve compromise without necessarily diluting what they stand for.
Politics is the art of the possible.
It is not the plaything of ideological belligerence.
In their heyday I remember May 12, 1989, the Friday before the state election polling day I was writing a nuts-and-bolts election day preview about how many people will vote, what time polling booths open and close, etc.
The usual electoral news blackout prevented any coverage of the politics on polling day.
Across my desk came an opinion poll I couldn't use, but it suggested five Greens would win five seats the next day.
I scoffed at the suggestion and relegated it to the waste bin.
The next night five Greens stunned the world and certainly me.
From the outset the Greens threw their weight around, negotiating with the new minority Labor Government. They were cocky and uncompromising.
They even foreshadowed a Green Government, but that's never going to happen while they remain political fringe dwellers.
They have to broaden their base.
I attended a Greens party retreat and annual conference on the East Coast in the 1990s. We ate their lentils and vegan. We got booted out of their meeting hall when conference debates started, so my journo mates and me took off to look for Nancy Grundwaldt.
Seriously, we drove over numerous backroads looking for an abandoned pushbike. The Greens could shove their elitist closed sessions.
In Parliament a Labor source tipped us off that the Greens leader Christine Milne had applied for use of a government limousine.
We crucified her over that revelation, although I remain a Christine Milne fan.
When she took over leadership of the Greens party Mrs Milne sought to break the stigma of the Greens being seen as economic wreckers, by offering cooperative politics.
She wanted the Greens to be seen as agents of stability but the major parties were never going to let her get away with that.
The Green vote has fluctuated.
In 1989 they won 17.3 per cent of the vote, 21.6 per cent in 2010, 13.83 per cent in 2014 and 10.3 per cent at the last election.
They have thrived on major resource issues, such as hydro dams and pulp mills, but the heady days of the Franklin dam blockade in the summer of 1982 are gone.
Usually when they're stuck for a cause they wheel out draining Lake Pedder, but they've done Pedder to death.
They tried to negotiate with forest industries in 1989 but were no more sincere about a forest peace than the loggers.
I reckon the Greens could hit 25 per cent of the vote if they just got rid of this notion that politics is a martial art rather than the art of the possible.
It's there, within their capacity, to be pragmatic and work outside the square.
Current Greens leader Cassie O'Connor has defied more Leftwing Greens interstate by calling out excessive Chinese acquisition of Tasmanian land.
You usually don't expect that from a Green.
Labor stalwarts view her party as the real Leftwing of the ALP but such a characterisation is wrong and counter-productive.
If they want to historically increase their vote, they have to show they can work with either major party, where there is common ground or compromise.
They could broker a peace with resource industries, which preserved both jobs and wilderness.
I notice that in a recent Budget reply address Cassie O'Connor devoted chunks of her speech to creating jobs and reviving the post-COVID economy.
It was refreshing to see.
Paying due regard to the mechanics of the real world will win votes.
People trust the Greens to maintain a vigil on the health of the environment but not at the expense of battlers and their families.
The Greens have a blanket hatred of poker machines, without engaging with Federal Hotels and other would-be casino operators on the number of the machines, a healthier community service dividend and even a limit on machine numbers.
It's not a sell-out, it's what all politicians are expected to do; resolve conflict and inequities; strike a balance between development and preservation and foster economic growth and prosperity.
The zealots in the Green movement and hybrid offshoots like GetUp will pan such talk of compromise as heresy, but I have no doubt legions of potential voters want to see the Greens save jobs along with the trees.
The two are not mutually exclusive.
With a swag of other high quality independent and party candidates in the south, the Greens might reflect on why Rosalie Woodruff is at risk of losing her seat in Franklin, leaving Cassie O'Connor as the sole Green in Parliament.
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