From ancient Greek mythology we learn the story of Odysseus attempting to chart a safe passage through two perilous hazards at sea: the 'Scylla' of a rocky shoal and the 'Charybdis' of a whirlpool.
I believe that good policy and political outcomes for Australia also depend on steering such a delicate course, and I believe the Greens are the party best placed to do so. The Scylla we must avoid is blind ideological adherence to failed theories in the face of evidence; the Charybdis is to avoid being sucked in by the false charms of expediency and pragmatism at the expense of our principles.
But in recent decades Australia has been governed by both Liberal/Nationals and Labor governments that have repeatedly failed to find that course. (Read more below the fold...)
By contrast, I believe Labor have transformed themselves into a sort of Australian Groucho Marx Party: "These are my principles. If you don't like them, I have others." Without any clear sense of what Labor truly stands for or what bedrock principles they are prepared to defend, they lead Australia into a dizzying whirlpool of backdowns, water-downs and policy inaction. In other words, they are sucked into the Charybdis of pragmatism trumping principle.
I believe Greens offer Australia a better course; and the answer lies in our principled, evidence-based approach to policy development. Over 30 years, Greens have earned a reputation for sticking to our principles, often in the face of enormous political pressure. Even those who don't agree with our principles have shown respect and a grudging acknowledgement that we won't be shaken from them. That respect is hard-won and all too easily lost if we were ever to be seen to go back on those principles for the sake of some short-term expedient outcome. As Labor learned to their cost, once that respect is lost, it is all but impossible to regain.
But no lesser than the strength of our principles, equally strong is the Greens' insistence on the evidentiary basis for the policies we adopt. It is by following the evidence wherever it leads that we can arrive at policy that matches the real world, not some utopian fantasy. In recent decades we've seen the Liberals lose their way in an ideological hall of mirrors, captured by culture warriors, beholden to the most hard-core climate denialists and cashed-up lobbyists in their policy briefings -- resulting in an absurd and untenable set of failed neoliberal economic theories and a refusal to respond to evidence of the ecocide that Australia's current policy settings will deliver.
I believe that the principles of the Greens, informed by evidence-based policy making, will steer Australia between the Liberal's Scylla and Labor's Charybdis -- and I hope to serve as a part of the crew (with your support, perhaps even as an 'officer'?) that helps to steer the ship safely through.