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Parliamentary Experiences of the Tasmanian Greens: the Politics of the Periphery


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Crowley, K 2000 , 'Parliamentary Experiences of the Tasmanian Greens: the Politics of the Periphery' , Ecopolitics: Thought and Action, vol. 1, no. 1 , pp. 53-71 .

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This paper reflects upon the green political trajectory in Tasmania from the founding in 1972 of the world's first green party, the United Tasmania Group, to the recent 'electoral reform' that in effect disenfranchised most of the Tasmanian parliamentary greens (Crowley, 2000). It argues that green
politics, whilst fundamentally transforming the island state of Tasmania in part through its nature conservation successes, has remained a politics at the periphery that is resisted by both the major parties. This peripheralisation is not entirely owed to the green's longstanding pursuit of wilderness preservation, however, but also to their preoccupation both with progressive politics and democratic accountability that has led them into state parliament where they have twice achieved the balance of power (Crowley, 1996; 1999b). This paper recounts familiar terrain with its description of Tasmania as a conservative, economically marginal island state that has pursued a development formula based upon resource
exploitation and hydroindustrialisation that went unchallenged until the rise of the greens. It shows how Tasmania's green politics, perhaps unlike green politics in more vital, less marginal contexts, has been a politics of contrast and change, ecocentric to its core, but strategically concerned with broader social reformism. By considering the failure of both green minority governments (Labor-Green 1989-91; and Liberal-Green 1996-8), it further reinforces how much the major parties have resisted green efforts both
to share the state political stage and to move more than rhetorically away from resource based developmentalism.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Crowley, K
Keywords: green politics, parliamentary greens, Tasmania, green minority government
Journal or Publication Title: Ecopolitics: Thought and Action
ISSN: 1445-1840
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