How can Labor lose 'green' votes to Howard And Friends? Easy. Betray the hardcore over issues like Kyoto and opposing pulp mills and watch their anger and dissent spread amongst the waverers like wild fire.
Some amazing stats drawn from the latest NewsPoll :
* In only four weeks, Labor has lost a big fat ten points in its lead over Howard And Friends on the question of which party would best handle the environment.
* 22% of 'Howard Huggers' would rather Peter Garrett be environment minister than Malcolm Turnbull. Yes, really.
* 45% of voters believe Garrett would be a 'more capable' environment minister than Turnbull at 37%. But there's still a whopping 21% of voters who believe neither are 'more capable' or remain uncommitted.
From The Australian :
Labor is going soft on one of its biggest issues. And they're paying for it.
Labor's strong lead over the Coalition on handling the environment - about 15 points since Mr Rudd became leader and appointed former rock singer and conservationist leader Mr Garrett as his environment spokesman - has shrunk dramatically.Last weekend, when asked which party would better handle the environment, 29per cent said Labor, 24per cent said the Coalition and 27per cent said "someone else".
In June last year the ALP and the Coalition were equal on 28per cent and "someone else" almost the same on 26per cent. But after Mr Rudd became leader, the ALP's support jumped to 41per cent, the Coalition dropped to 24per cent and "someone else" registered 15per cent.
Think about it. Peter Garrett is losing votes to Howard And Friends on the environment.
Howard is now actively trying to portray himself as being a successful and reliable custodian of the Australian environment, a conservationist and the person who can realistically handle the complex environmental, social and economic issues surrounding climate change.
Incredibly, it seems like Howard The Greenie is now starting to become a more believable proposition to more and more voters. If Howard thinks there are votes in it, you might even see him lying down in front of some old-growth forest clearing bulldozers. Okay, maybe not. But you will see him standing with his hands on his hips staring up at a rainforest canopy sometime soon. Or handling some wide-eyed trembling little marsupial.
Turnbull, meanwhile, is quickly on his way to becoming as popular as Tony Abbott. That is, as popular as slipping in someone else's warm vomit on a hot summer evening.
And seeing as we haven't done this yet, we'll quote some lyrics from a Garrett-credited Midnight Oil song, one of their best, 'Pictures' :
I just want to talk through paradise
I just want to see that clear clear ight
Don't want to be a member of a species that's deceasing
Keep on making those promises that they aren't keeping
Don't sit around in silence you don't need a licence
It's moving in a hurry
there's no need to worry
We're really going to change it the critical mass approaches
I can almost hear it
The video for 'Pictures', from 1985, which ends with a quote from Dr Bob Brown follows :
Garrett can't afford to forget the messages that helped make him such a popular and important leader of the 'green movement'. Claiming he can achieve more by working within the system, rather than pushing against it from the outside, only cuts through for so long. He's losing the faith of green voters. Indeed, a critical mass approaches...