Minority tyranny, the Greens and the Mining Tax
I get nervous when the Green political party starts issuing ultimatums and threatening to act petulantly when important legislation is before the national parliament.
This morning the Green political party's leader, Bob Brown, threatened to reject the Gillard Government's Minerals Resource Rent Tax legislation if it is amended and projected revenue is reduced.
This absolutist position is remarkably similar to the one the Greens adopted with disastrous national consequences at the end of 2009, when they voted with the Coalition to block the CPRS - a mechanism to set a market price on carbon.
Then, the Green political party apparently knew better than anyone how best to put a price on carbon and compensate industry.
The Greens refused to support industry compensation in the Government's bills. They sided with those opposed to responding to climate change and voted down the government's legislation in full.
That rigidity of mind wrecked the CPRS which would already be in place today and looks remarkably similar to the mechanism now set in law.
Politics is the art of the achievable. And that is never truer than when a government holds office with the support of a few independent MPs.
In this environment, building majorities is not always easy and governments need to hold to principle, be canny and sensibly accommodating of independent MPs - all at the same time.
There will be wrangling on a bill like the Mining Tax in the people's chamber - the House of Representatives. It may well be amended and that might impact slightly on revenues.
But what the Green political party must decide in that event is, do they want to wreck a tax on mining industry super profits completely or will they recognise what is possible in politics and pass the bill.
The Greens’ minority tyranny cost the country the CPRS two years ago.
Let’s hope they act more sensibly when examining the Mining Tax in the Senate this week.