Christine Milne says the Prime Minister has turned her back on the ‘‘the brawling boys’’ of Labor’s NSW Right faction after they derided the Greens as ”loopy” and ”dangerous”.
Ms Milne said the Prime Minister’s avoidance of any mention of the Greens during a speech to the ALP faithful was telling because it signalled the ”brawling boys” were on the outer.
The Greens leader congratulated Ms Gillard for highlighting the ‘‘positive’’ achievements of the minority government alliance.
Internal Labor Party sources are furious with Senator Milne with one leading factional figure telling the National Times: ‘‘If Milne thinks she can front the cameras with a smug smile and a claim the PM is willing to break bread, then she is only exposing her naivety, not any peace deal between us and them.’’
Ms Gillard had been expected to address the recent outbreak of anti-Greens sentiment during her keynote speech to the NSW party conference.
The Prime Minister chose instead to highlight her government’s achievements, while urging the party to retrain its focus on the party’s traditionally strong areas – workplace relations and supporting jobs.
In the past 10 days, union bosses and party officials have demanded that Labor cut ties with the Greens, a call joined by federal and state Labor politicians who are furious the minor party will not budge on its hardline position of refusing to endorse offshore processing of asylum seekers.
The brawl has intensified the focus on this weekend’s Victorian state by-election in the seat of Melbourne, which Labor is tipped to lose despite having held it since 1908.
The Greens won the federal seat of Melbourne in 2010 and the party is expected to repeat that success at the state level on Saturday.
As the two parties go head-to-head, Victorian Labor leader Daniel Andrews says he will never sign a deal with the Greens in the event of winning minority goernment.
Mr Andrews told the ABC’s Insiders program they were “a political party who require everyone else to compromise except them”.
He said: “That sort of purity, that sort of absolutism, means you don’t get good outcomes.’’
Meanwhile, the NSW branch of the Labor Party has backed a watered-down motion which will ensure the Greens will not automatically receive Labor preferences.
Union leader Paul Howes has backed calls by ALP NSW secretary Sam Dastyari for the ALP to consider putting the Greens last in preference deals at the next election, warning the Greens were ”loopy” and ”dangerous”.
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