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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Labor Senators Mutiny

I wondered how long it would be before Labor's relationship with the Greens came to a head and yesterday, three Labor Senators spat the dummy. They demanded that the Prime Minister overturn her support for the Greens same-sex and euthanasia policies. They were angry they weren’t consulted and are furious that the Greens have been given so much ground. One unhappy senator said last night "We are confident of reversing this decision and rectifying the mess we are now in".

So what happened? Right wing power broker and boss of the Shop, Distributors and Allied Employees Association Joe de Bruyn was beside himself. "Everybody in the federal parliament knows that this is simply a way of letting the territories into euthanasia or whatever else they want to do" he said. "It would be grossly irresponsible for the Australian parliament to give powers back to the ACT government when it has made it clear how it intends to exercise those powers". Mr de Bruyn went on "From comments made by the ACT Chief Minister and the Greens, it's very clear that they will misuse these powers to make it legal to get rid of people when they get old". He added "This is about euthanasia, pure and simple and everybody knows it".

Yesterday morning the three senators went to Ms Gillard's office. They were incensed with Mr Crean’s comments in the party-room on Tuesday morning. Mr Crean had not taken the decision to cabinet for discussion, he had not given the caucus notice of the bill and he had misled MPs over the potential impact of the plan. They said that the government's support for the bill would ensure same-sex marriage was introduced in the ACT and would encourage a revision of the euthanasia ban in the territories. The rebel senators finally appealed to Julia Gillard to reverse the decision.

And last night the Prime Minister said “Following the Senate inquiry into the bill, the government may reconsider the matter in response to any issues arising”.