Political pop quiz:
1. Who is Lyn Allison?
[The leader of the Democrats.]
2. How many senate seats will the Democrats probably lose in the next election, thereby sending them into the howling dust bowl of political history?
3. How many amendments to legislation have the Democrat senators influenced, negotiated and drafted?
[Thousands. There once was a time when the Democrats, with their little representation of nine senators, had final say on almost all legislation.]
4. Who is Bob Brown?
[Yes siree, you already know that one; you could answer it in your sleep. Good for you. Never say that Bob's PR machine doesn't work.]
5. Of the 2000 bills that have passed the senate since 1996 how many have Bob Brown materially effected?
[One. It was a bill to set up the Constitutional Convention.]
6. How much time do the Green's spend on the hard graft of committee work and the tortures of negotiating with other parties?
7. Does Bob Brown - sterling leader of all things Green - exercise an influential senate vote?
[Bob's standard modus operandi is to vote "no" or to not show up.]
The main legal instrument used by environmentalists to stop developments that may harm the environment is the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999.
8. Prior to the Act passing the senate, how many amendments did the Democrats successfully negotiate with the government?
9. Prior to the Act passing the senate, how many amendments did the Greens successfully negotiate with the government?
10. Prior to the Act passing the senate, how many amendments did the Greens propose?
11. How did Bob Brown vote when the (amended) Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act of 1999 was presented to the senate?
[The Green leader did turn up. He voted against the legislation.]
12. Are the Democrats useless?
[It would seem so. All across Australia voters continue to use their pencils against the Democrats.]
13. Are the Greens useful?
[It would seem so. All across Australia voters continue to use their pencils in favor of the Greens.]
For nine years the Democrats were responsible for holding the Coalition back from their worst and most destructive excesses.
The last three years have been the result of the loss of the Democrat's influence, the loss of anyone responsible holding a balance of power in the senate.
It is possible, even likely, that Bob Brown and the Greens will hold the balance of power after the next federal election.
If so, the ALP will either rule with gay abandon, with no one to stop them, not even a handful of hard working, committee-hugging, negotiation-loving, weary Democrats; or they will barely rule at all, with the Greens voting against all legislation, at least when they deign to turn up.
The Age - So, is the party over?