According to Liberal frontbencher Eric Abetz, the Australian Greens Party is the “epitome of extremism”. Talk about the pot calling the kettle extremist.
Abetz was inspired to his alliterative epithet because a couple of Greens Senators, notably party leader Christine Milne, refused to condemn the anti-coal activist Jonathan Moylan, over a hoax which — for about 90 minutes, until it was discovered — decreased the value of Whitehaven Coal by more than $300 million on Monday.
It was the simplest of hoaxes. Moylan dummied up a press release, purporting to be from the ANZ Bank, saying it had withdrawn a $1.2 billion loan for a new coal mine.
(The trick, we might add, would not have had its effect if members of the financial media had bothered to check the veracity of Moylan’s fake press release before publishing stories.)
Milne described the hoax as being part of “a long and proud history of civil disobedience” in Australia.
This was, when you parse it, a pretty mild endorsement, more a statement of the bleeding obvious, really.
More importantly, Milne specifically denied any foreknowledge of the hoax. She also said “nobody is above the law”. She went on to draw the links between coal mining and climate change, and to question the ethics of those involved in mining or the funding of mining.
You can hear her whole argument, in context, here.
To be fair, we should note that another Greens Senator went further, in a tweet congratulating Moylan for “exposing ANZ investment in coal mines”.
But again, there is no evidence of direct involvement of the Greens party in the stunt.
But to Eric Abetz, this made the Greens “extremists” with “communist connections”.
“With the Greens,” he said, “it is always a case of the ends justifying the means.”
This all prompts a couple of observations.