The right wing of the Greens

Joan, Asian woman, is standing in a crowd holding a large poster saying 'Tony Abbot: Climate action is on MY agenda'

It may not surprise you that my political views are closest to the Greens (although my economics are a bit more liberal).

This podcast from ABC’s Background Briefing show is fascinating: No love lost in the Greens. The blurb features a bit of clickbait (earbait?): ‘You might not know it, but the Greens have a right wing.’

This is how the program characterises the ‘left’ and ‘right’ of the Greens (my interpretation).

  • Left: Activist, principle-driven, pressure group, uncompromising, change politics, revolution
  • Right: Get things done, offer a candidate to the mainstream, win political influence, change from within

This division goes back to the earliest days of the party. The ‘left’ side of the Greens resisted the national organisation, the trappings of respectability as a political party. Instead, their focus has been on grassroots activism and direct action (so haha, now that the Coalition Government has co-opted this term).

The ‘right’, championed by former Greens leader Bob Brown, focuses on making inroads into mainstream politics. With the selection of Victorian Senator Richard di Natale as national Greens leader, the pragmatic side of the Greens is once again determining the party’s vision and strategy.

I now understand why people think the Greens are a single issue party. In the past, and perhaps today in New South Wales, the Greens haven’t presented as a viable party of Government. It was/is a ‘protest party’.

One of my university lecturers once said that there is a role for all kinds of change agents: the ones that work from within the establishment and the ones that put pressure from the outside.

Rather than fight each other, these people can help each other. The people within a group arguing for change can find their efforts boosted by external activists. Activists can find change happening suddenly when they apply pressure to a platform spring loaded by an internal ally.

I am not activist by nature: my instincts are to teach, to empathise and to help. I might have the same values as an activist, but I can’t sustain the passion (fury) to fight. So my toolkit looks completely different, in all likelihood more similar to a pragmatic Greens member or even the progressive sides of Labor and the Liberal party, than the ‘left’ wing Greens.

Let’s nip those biases in the bud

We were at a restaurant and Mia was distracted by a flickering light on the ceiling.

‘Light flashing!’ she said.

‘Yes, Mia.’

‘Light still flashing!’ insisted Mia. She thought for a second. ‘Man fix?’

‘Good idea, Mia,’ I said. ‘Maybe a woman might fix it?’

‘Oh, yes.’ Mia nodded sagely. ‘Woman. Woman with ladder.’

Postie has keys to our mailbox

Sometimes we open our mailbox and there is a parcel in there. There is no way the postie could have shoved the parcel through the slot, which is about the size of the one in the photo below.

A wall of mailboxes in an apartment building.

Our mailbox is similar to these.

One day, Damjan asked a postman how they managed to get large items into our mailbox. He said:

‘Twenty years ago, when this area was being developed, a building manager gave Australia Post a master key to the mailboxes in his apartment building. We noticed that a lot of the new buildings had similar-looking mailboxes, so one day, a postie tried the master key in another building. And it worked.’

So it looks like Australia Post has a key to our mailbox. And our neighbour’s mailbox.

I thought about whether or not this is a privacy or security risk. Posties already have access to our mail. As long as no one loses or copies the key, which I guess is a big risk…

Oh well. It’s convenient that I don’t need to trek to the post office whenever I miss a small parcel delivery.

A massive bite for Mother’s Day

I was struggling to get pyjamas on an overexcited Mia when she took a massive bite of my arm. I screeched and slapped her.

Damjan came running into the room holding Lana, who he was trying to put to bed.

Consequences were swift. Damjan took over Mia’s bed time routine and I took Lana.

Mia cried as her beloved mummy disappeared. ‘Mummy! Mummy! Mummy…’

Later that night, Damjan said that he asked Mia, ‘Do you know what happened? Why did mummy go away?’ Mia didn’t say anything for a while but eventually admitted, ‘Mia ate mummy.’

Damjan said Mia will apologise to me tomorrow.

A story about poo

Having had her nappy changed for the evening, my toddler Mia was watching as we put 5-day old Lana on the change table.

The action started when I took off the newborn nappy. Having not poo’ed for two days, the liquid brownish yellow volcano erupted. Spurt! Spurt! Spurt!

‘Oh!’ I said, as the soup poured onto the change table mat. ‘It’s poo!’

Mia looked on in horrified fascination. ‘Poo! Poo!’ Then Mia started crying.

My resourceful husband stepped in. ‘Yes, Mia, that’s where poo comes from, remember your body book? You eat the pear, it goes down your throat, into your tummy, then comes out as poo?’

He whipped out the book from the book shelf and tried to distract an increasingly hysterical toddler while I struggled to contain the mess.

‘She’s vomiting,’ I exclaimed, as yellow curds tumble out of Lana’s mouth. ‘She’s throwing up!’

Damjan managed to taken an overtired Mia away and sit her down with her bedtime books. ‘Can you manage?’ he asked. ‘Sorry that my hands are tied.’

‘I think I can,’ I mumbled. ‘AARGH! Wee! Wee!’

Lana looked oblivious as poo, wee and vomit come out every hole. At least she wasn’t crying.

Biennial spring clean

We do our ‘spring’ clean each summer. Last year I was very pregnant so didn’t get to do my usual task of cleaning the windows.

Today, I got out the newspaper and water bowl to wipe away two years of dust.


Dirty window


Clean window

It took an hour and a half for six windows and a set of glass French doors.

We’re fortunate that we can clean the windows ourselves. When we moved into the apartment, we replaced the original impractical sash windows with wonderful tilt-and-turn windows. This means they can swing (turn) right open as well as tilt from the base for a small gap.

On the radio today

If you were listening to By Design on Radio National this morning, you would have heard me being interviewed about community scale retrofit of homes.

A friend put me in touch with the show’s presenter, Fenella Kernebone. Fenella suggested I pop into the ABC studios to do the interview by tardis.

I thought the TARDIS comment was a geek joke until the ABC security guard at the front desk asked, ‘Are you here for the TARDIS?’

Tardis studio at ABC Southbank

Tardis studio at ABC Southbank

The fine print on the sign explains that the most remarkable characteristic of a TARDIS is that its interior is much larger than it appears from the outside.

In a small booth with a big mike

In a small booth with a big mike

I’ve now been interviewed by journalists four times (twice for newspaper, twice for radio). It’s always hard for me to predict what the end product will be.

My company gave me media training last year and I learned that I should always prepare a key message and back it up with three lines of evidence.

In most cases, if you tell the story clearly enough that the journalist can use it verbatim, then you’re doing them a favour.

I think I need more practice.


‘I’m hungry,’ my brother said. ‘Let’s get something from the shop over there.’

We crossed the shopping centre floor to reach what was called the ‘Cafe & Boulangerie’.

Jason said to the shop assistant, ‘Do you have filled baguettes?’

‘Baguettes?’ She looked confused.

‘You know, long sandwiches.’

‘Um. We only have foccacias.’

I started laughing.

It permeated the air

We were on the highway, driving back from regional Victoria to Melbourne. The landscape passing by was fields with the occasional five-building town.

‘Why does it smell like chips?’ I said suddenly.

Simone and Rob sniffed the air. ‘Hmm, it does, doesn’t it? Strange.’

Two minutes later, we saw the McCain’s factory on the horizon.

‘Ah, McCain!’