Reporting on the various rifts within the party, Sally Neighbour wonders whether the Australian Greens can survive their own success (‘Divided We Fall’, February). Taking a look at the German Greens – whose core values have been adopted by their Australian counterparts – may help find a more definite answer to her question. For them, these tensions have made the Greens stand out not as an anti-party but as a more credible alternative to the existing parties which, instead of silencing its members into a collective voice, acknowledges that we are all individuals who by raising our voice enrich the political dialogue.
While the German Greens started off with the same struggles for the heart, soul and future as described by Neighbour, it is exactly allowing these discussions – and carrying them into the public – that has enabled the party to sharpen its profile and retain its credibility. Within the last 15 years, the German Greens have entered federal government, provided a highly popular foreign minister and successfully managed his retreat from the political stage. They now hold seats in all 16 state parliaments. If the example of the German Greens is any indication, the Australian Greens are here to stay, and rising.
Dr Katrin Steinack