On July 1, Senators who were newly-elected last August will take their places in the Parliament, while those who were defeated (eg, Steve Fielding) will depart at that time. This will leave the Greens holding the balance of power in the Senate in their own right, without ever having to rely on help from others.
It will be an event which will have a significant impact on the life of the current Parliament, as most of the incoming Green Senators come from the radical wing of the Party, somewhere to the left of Karl Marx.
Bob Brown is a moderate whom they believe has strayed from the paths of righteousness and purity by teaming up with Julia Gillard. A few of them think that that he is somewhere out on the far right, in the same political mould as Genghis Khan.
Last year, those on the left of the party tried to remove Christine Milne as Deputy Leader, but Milne, another moderate, survived in a close ballot against Sarah Hanson- Young of South Australia, the youngest woman ever elected to the Federal Parliament.
Emboldened by the arrival of their new left wing friends, the same group will flex their muscles again, but this time they will go higher and try to replace Brown as their Leader — sooner rather than later — most probably when he has to soften his stance on the Carbon Price to help Julia get it through the House of Representatives.
If they get Bob Brown’s scalp, they will remove Christine Milne as well. Both of them are Tasmanians, and the new breed feel that it’s time to bring the leadership to the mainland where 98 per cent of the voters are.
Radical NSW Green Senator Lee Rhiannon, who led the lamentable anti-Israel campaign recently, will mastermind the revolt, and will aspire to become leader herself, but she will be opposed by Sarah Hanson-Young, who is slightly more moderate.
No matter which one wins, it will become almost impossible to get sensible legislation through the Senate without making massive compromises to the Greens. It will also mean that the Victorian Green MP for the seat of Melbourne in the House of Representatives, Adam Bandt, will be in a position where he cannot be relied upon to support Gillard in crucial votes, thereby causing more instability within the minority government.
This scenario may cause Julia Gillard to seek support from Tony Abbott from time to time to get important legislation through both Houses, thus sidelining the Greens. It will be something to behold.
I intend to do whatever I can to support Brown and Milne in their battle to retain their leadership positions. I have found them both to be reasonable people to deal with, even though I often differ from their politics. I have been particularly impressed with Milne. She is a tough negotiator, but you can always achieve a result with some give and take on both sides. If someone is to replace Bob Brown (solely because of his advancing years), it will be best for Australia if it is Milne.