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Greens deserve rational scrutiny

By Nils von Kalm - posted Monday, 25 July 2011

Politics is an emotive topic. The original Greek word means "of or relating to citizens," so anything to do with our welfare is going to cause great passion on all sides.

Personally, I don't like to align myself with either the left or the right side of the political debate. As a Christian I prefer to gauge my response to issues on how people are treated, particularly the less fortunate.

It has been said that the measure of a society is in how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. For me that will mean that on some issues I lean to the more progressive side whilst on other issues I am more conservative.


It is for the above reasons that for some years now I have been a supporter of the Greens. I need to make clear from the outset that I am not a member of the Greens and in this article I am not speaking on behalf of the Greens. I am speaking as an individual supporter who sees a need to defend them against much hysterical criticism in certain parts of our society.

The reason I support the Greens is because their core principles of social justice, peace, democracy, and environmental concern align much more clearly with my Christian values, than those of any other political party. There are Greens policies with which I struggle, but isn't that the case for any honest supporter of a political party? I am never going to support a Greens policy just because it is from the Greens. I am going to think through it before I decide on whether or not I agree with it.

Thinking through such policies with reasoned logic and intelligent debate has been sadly lacking when it comes to the reporting of Greens' policies in much of the media, including the blogosphere and talkback radio.

Therefore in this article I would like to point out somemisconceptions on a few issues on which the Greens have copped a fair share of criticism by people who have not bothered to do their research and have thrown emotive comments around in an irresponsible manner, which is unworthy of a great democracy like Australia.

I come at these issues as a layperson only. I am not an expert by any means, so as far as detailed policy goes, I encourage readers to look at the Greens' website, where their policies are set out in detail for anyone to subject them to scrutiny.

The first area I would like to look at, and one in which the Greens have been criticised for, is that of drugs, particularly heroin injecting rooms. Contrary to popular opinion, the Greens actually want people off drugs, and injecting rooms have been shown to be a way to minimise harm in the process.


In terms of harm minimisation, the Greens are simply putting forward what the vast majority of experts in this field say. The NSW Government in 2010 approved a heroin injecting room in King's Cross after it was revealed that the trial period had been a resounding success.

And despite the evidence clearly pointing to the success of injecting rooms, many people fail to see the positive effects because it is such an emotive issue. In an article in September 2010, The Australian said that a number of results from the last National Drug Strategy Household Survey conducted in 2007 suggest people aren't basing their views on the weight of scientific evidence.

Another area in which the Greens have received criticism is to do with preference deals with Labor. The fact is however, that as recently as the last Federal election, the Greens made it clear that people have a choice to preference whoever they like when they vote. Bob Brown made this point a number of times during the campaign.

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About the Author

Nils von Kalm is a funding coordinator at World Vision Australia who also enjoys writing about social, political and cultural issues. His website is at

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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