Editor’s Note

Editor’s Note June 2015

The Greens have changed leaders and “the Tasmanian era is over”, as Amanda Lohrey writes.

The transition from Christine Milne to Richard Di Natale was a smooth one, and for all the criticism she faced during her time as leader, Milne left the party in good shape. It’s an opportune time to consider the Greens party’s stocks.

As Lohrey points out, the Greens have enemies not just among the major parties, the right-wing elements of the media and other vested interests. Regardless of who leads them, they face a deep cultural antagonism, bordering on hatred. There is a widespread, if uncharitable, view that they are morally superior and self-indulgent, “sometimes scruffy and feral, sometimes urbanely hip and affluent”. They are disliked because they have “dared to assert themselves against the stifling and often mindless conformity to the norm”.

Di Natale has the sort of background that would make a Labor Party recruiter blush. He’s a football-loving former GP from a working-class, inner-city migrant family. He lives on a small farm, has a young family and bakes pizzas in his own wood-fired oven. He has worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory and HIV prevention in India. You couldn’t tick many more boxes. His challenge, as laid out in Lohrey’s perceptive essay, is to persuade the mainstream voting public that his party does, as he insists, share their progressive values, and to avoid the fate of other minor parties that have aimed for more than the protest vote.

Also in this month’s issue, John Keane has a conversation with Julian Assange about Google’s disturbing ambitions; Karen Hitchcock, returning to the controversial topic of her acclaimed essay, ‘Fat City’, challenges the discourse around obesity; and Alice Pung has a baby.

Nick Feik

Nick Feik is the editor of The Monthly.

@nickfeik

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