Green benefit

David Burchell’s ‘Harsh light of reality about to hit Greens’ (The Australian, August 30) seems to assert that the very notion of idealism is flawed, and from this dubious premise tries to argue that the Greens deserve no place in our polity.

Whatever Burchell’s opinion of the Greens’ philosophical underpinnings, they received over 11% of the primary vote. Far from having “benefited from the present political situation”, they are in fact under-represented in having won but a single seat. By contrast, the National Party’s 4% earned them seven seats, yet Burchell has no problem with this.

It is unhelpful – and untrue – to dismiss the Greens phenomenon as “a few thousand young professionals in inner-city Melbourne”, any more than it would be to describe as a couple of hundred yokels the electors of the “poor benighted rural independents”, whose views, the numbers tell us, are further from the mainstream than the Greens’, but who are the real beneficiaries of the current impasse.

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