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A real end to an era

April 13th, 2012

Bob Brown has just announced his retirement from politics. It comes as a shock, but such announcements usually do. I can’t do justice to Bob’s thirty or more years of activism in a blog post, but there have been few people in political life who’ve achieved as much while not compromising their integrity to secure political support. The Green Party which Bob effectively founded and has largely embodied for many years, has made a big positive contribution to Australian political life

Given the rubbish in the comments threads recently, I’m going to be ruthless in moderating this one. There will be plenty of time for critical thoughts on Bob Brown’s political career and on the Green Party. If you can’t wait for a more appropriate occasion, take such comments to the sandpit. Anything in this post that crosses my subjective line will be deleted with prejudice.

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  1. Chris Warren
    April 22nd, 2012 at 10:45 | #1

    @Fran Barlow

    If required means “if required”. This is not a leap from anything – it is a restriction where options exist in fact.

    On the other hand, imagining creates substantial leaps all over the place.

    We can add Turkey to the list. Did Bob Brown (or any politician) call for military intervention against Turkey to prevent the slaughter of Kurds?

    Did any Western power bring the issue of Turkey’s raids to the Security Council?

  2. Alan
    April 22nd, 2012 at 11:14 | #2

    @Norman Hanscombe

    Bob Brown’s motion in 91 called for intervention in Iraq without requiring prior U.N. endorsement.

    Not a fair description of the motion. In 1991 it was unnecessary to include the UN because everyone recognised the UN’s authorisation was needed for these operations.

  3. Alan
    April 22nd, 2012 at 11:20 | #3

    @Chris Warren

    That cannot be an accurate statement of the motion either. the words up to ‘self-determiantion’ could be a parliamentary motion, but the words after that have to be part of a speech, real or imagined. I think it is very persuasive against the Norman case that the 2004 Online Opinion piece does not include the second alleged quote from Norman’s original comment.

    You’d think if Norman has been promoting this stuff for so long he could have scanned the relevant Hansard page by now.

  4. Chris Warren
    April 22nd, 2012 at 12:12 | #4

    @Alan

    Yes. Or provided an accurate reference to the relevant Hansard.

    I wonder whether (in 1991) everyone recognised the UN’s authorisation was needed?

    I doubt whether our Defence Minister would state that this is so. After all we send ASIS forces to assassinate and support others’ wars without reference to the UN [see 'New Idea' 26 March 1994: 4-7. 'Canberra Times', 17 December 1993, p2].

  5. Alan
    April 22nd, 2012 at 12:37 | #5

    @Chris Warren

    Rightly or wrongly (I think wrongly) international law does not treat war and covert operations in the same way. It’s drawing a long bow to say that ASIS operations are not covered by the UN charter and therefore nothing is covered by the UN charter.

  6. Chris Warren
    April 22nd, 2012 at 12:51 | #6

    @Alan

    Not quite what I was saying. I am sure all national Defence Ministers would welcome UN sanctions and coverage by the UN Charter when it suits

    My point is that they would not move to the next step and say UN sanctions are needed, because of the reality of their undertaking less public warfare around then globe.

    Bob Brown’s April call was in the latter (common) category.

  7. April 22nd, 2012 at 13:41 | #7

    Norman’s condescending ad-hom attack on me before he huffed off is rather funny (especially in light of his self-described brilliance in helping those with poor comprehension) when you try to make head or tail of his earlier “put down”:

    “The fact you find the motion’s wording doubtful confirms cognitive dissonance says about how True Believers deal with possible inconsistencies in their belief system, doesn’t it?”

    As is so often the case with Norman here, I can try to work out for myself what he is attempting to say, but it would be so much better if he just did that himself.

  8. Freelander
    April 22nd, 2012 at 16:54 | #8

    @Megan

    I wouldn’t worry about Norm’s comments. Clearly his good sense had left the building before he even arrived.

  9. April 22nd, 2012 at 19:28 | #9

    Thanks Freelander,

    But I’m not worried about Norm’s comments – they have been instructive, in the sense that:

    a) There appears to be no evidence that “Bob Brown supported the first gulf war”, after all; and

    b) It may operate as a lesson to others that just because someone makes a bold claim and refers them to some apparently authoritative source, using selective quotes, that does not “prove” the truth of the claim.

    The funny thing is that I’m still going to go and get the Hansard for the Tasmanian House of Assembly for the period 1990 – 1991 and actually see for myself. As I’ve repeatedly pointed out, it will show what it shows – in context.

    Far from suffering the various delusions, bias and cognitive shortcomings projected onto me by others I’ll simply read them and see if they are evidence, as Norman has been saying for years, that “Bob Brown supported the first gulf war”.

  10. Freelander
    April 22nd, 2012 at 19:51 | #10

    There’s too much rush to war and plenty of history to show that however well intentioned too often things are made worse. Of course, sometimes going to war is necessary.

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