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June 5, 2012 | by  | in Uncategorised | [ssba]

Green Party Avoids Midlife Crisis

Still partying like it’s 1972

This week has seen the anniversary of Victoria’s longest-running party, 40 years after it started raging.

On 30 May, 1972, in the depths of Victoria’s Student Union Building, politics student Tony Brunt held a meeting where he decried mindless economic growth and called for a party to rise which was values-based and environmentally conscious.

That meeting saw the SUB give birth to the world’s first green political party to run at a national level. Originally named the Values Party, it later became the Green Party.

Brunt, who later became a journalist, told the Herald that the party’s members had quickly been written off as “idealistic extremists” by the governing National Party.

“A lot of what I said in 1972 seems really simplistic and naive in retrospect talking about zero population growth, zero economic growth, technology control,” Brunt said.

But he also thought most of their environmental concerns at the time had been proved right. “There’s also the whiff about it, looking back, of backing the right horse, of getting on board modernity’s biggest bandwagon when it was just the size of a skateboard.”

Despite gaining 5.19 per cent of the vote in 1978, the old first-past-the-post-electoral system didn’t let them into Parliament. They later collapsed in the late 1980s—despite involvement in the anti-nuclear movement, homosexual law reform and the campaign for MMP—before developing into the Green Party and eventually making it into Parliament in 1999.


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