Freeway fun and games

Transport is the big issue that will decide the eastern suburbs of Melbourne this campaign. Forget terror, national security and war in Iraq, it'll be a big stretch of bitumen from Frankston to Mitcham that will be the major vote-grabber, particularly the question of who's going to pay for the thing. The State Government Bracksflipped soon after the last state election, deciding on a toll road, and the Federal Government are playing hardball, denying Federal funds unless the state stick to its original promise and make it toll free. It does seem like a rather arrogant move by the Federal Government to decide to be the enforcer of the State Government's electoral promises, but cynical politics prevails.

Okay, so on the ground, how does each party respond? The Liberals are unashamedly selling themselves as the motorists best friend, promising a big fat long and FREE road. The ALP will put pressure on the State Government to forget the tolls, and will direct federal road funding elsewhere in the state (but, God forbid, not to rail) but seem to be in a muddle. The Democrats? Against the freeway, toll or otherwise, unless you can plant Meg Lees in the middle of it and have Government-funded-eco-friendly-ethanol-fueled-steamrollers for all.

But the Greens? Ideology and principle says that it should oppose the road, and push to shift funding toward public transport. This would be a thoroughly desirable position, and it one that would do this city a lot of good if it was to be put into practice.

Amongst the best bits of the Green's stated policy:

1.7 favouring walking, cycling and public transport as the preferred modes of ‘passenger’ transport.

2.2 reduce car ownership and use for urban commuting while improving the quality of service provided by public transport, especially in frequency, speed and convenience

2.4 make users of private transport aware of, and ultimately pay for, the full costs of their transport choices
2.5 make users of private transport aware of, and ultimately pay for, the full costs of their transport choices
(yep, they believe it so much they included it twice)

How then, do we explain this odd piece of politicking from the Greens candidate for Aston, Michael Abson?

Clearly the policies of a party opposed to freeways and in favour of tolls.  Photo courtesy of Anthony Morton and the PTUA.

There is no possible way that this could be consistant with the Greens transport policy. Yes, it's one thing to have the right to differ from the party position, but it's another to completely and utterly misrepresent the party's position and confuse the electorate. In the words of a Queensland Senate no-hoper, Please Explain.


Polly said…
I remember my local green candidate in 2002 (in Wavereley Province: note: this is where I ran for the Dems in 1999 and 2002) telling me how they were going to fund better hospitals and schools etc because they were going to cancel the Scoresby Freeway and save 1 and a half billion dollars.

So where are they going to get the money to increase funding to schools and hospitals, protect old growth forests, save the whales and build the freeway?
Clearly money does grow on trees.

If the greens had any credibility on this issue, they would be out there pushing Labor to put the Scoresby roads funding into building the tram line to Knox and the train line to Rowville, and back up the efforts made by Knox Council and groups like the PTUA.

Instead they've decided to take the populist route which undermines local community efforts to get attention on this issue, and Labor will probably continue with their 'who cares, it only effects Liberal electorates' and funnel the money out to roads spending in the western suburbs.
Anonymous said…
Well, I'm appalled... what an unprincipled, vote grabbing , nmby-style position. and they want the balance of power in the nation's parliament?

Anonymous said…
they are an excuse for a political party ,Sara
Anonymous said…
The Greens have become just another political party that is more concerned with jumping on any bandwagon to increase its voting pull, rather than maintain (a perceived) position that is it a principled, moral high ground party. Hence the "No tolls" deceit.

No bloody wonder Informal is looking good......

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