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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Refreshing candour of progressive Left

Bob Brown yesterday.
Amid the "shock" felt and expressed by journalists yesterday at the resignation of Greens leader Bob Brown, there was some distasteful raillery from the Right about his replacement by deputy leader Christine Milne (“When it comes to charisma, Christine Milne must have been ill the day they handed it out," appeared in one News Limited vehicle). But it was only shocking because it was a slow Friday, and nothing else of importance was happening in Australian politics, what with COAG rumbling along like a beanbag that is filled with massive lead pumpkins rolling down a hill. As for the childishness of the name-callers, it's enough to point out that Bob Brown has seen off quite a few similar attacks in his time in politics. But at least there was no need to second-guess Brown's motives for leaving the top job in the Green Party. It's refreshing.

When Brown says that he left to make room for the next generation of leaders, who no doubt have their own aspirations and a list of things they want to achieve, you can take the man at his word. There's no need to second-guess, tea-leaf read, or additionally construe actual motivations as there is in the case of the leader of one of the major parties leaving. It's not about factional deals. It's not about preserving a legacy. It's not even about making sure a particular piece of legislation gets up in the House. When Brown says that one of the bad things about a strong leader is that he or she stands in the way of the aspirations of others, you can take him at his word. Brown can smile so broadly, as he does in this photo, because he's being completely honest. He's not trying to keep his legacy intact by appeasing someone else's hunger for power.

Brown has always been a true-blue pollie because he created the position he held in Parliament. From the early days of the environmental movement in the 70s in Tasmania, to the formation of the United Tasmania Group, to the establishment of the Australian Greens in 1992, Bob Brown has come to personify an entire political movement. He's not called a "conviction politician" for nothing. His retirement from politics, now, resembles his rise to prominence throughout the years because there is no hidden agenda, no alterior motive to unearth, no internal power dynamic at play that the electorate needs to figure out in order to understand reality. What you see it what you get. It's so refreshing.

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