Labor and Greens – enemies or friends?

Does the future of the parliamentary Left in Australia rest now not simply with the Labor Party but with the relationship between Labor and the Greens?

robert-manneLa Trobe University’s prestigious Ideas & Society program brings together Andrew Leigh, Labor MP for Fraser and Adam Bandt, Greens MP for Melbourne, to discuss the issue on Wednesday 5 September with Robert Manne, Professor of Politics at La Trobe University.

The discussion will provide insight into the current state of play in Left politics in Australia.

‘Since the election of August 2010, Labor’s primary vote has steadily dropped. It is now inconceivable that Labor could win an election without a strong showing from the Greens and a very high proportion of their preferences flowing to Labor,’ says Professor Manne.

He believes both the parties find themselves in a situation of mutual dependency and political combat. Such a situation is novel in Australian politics and fraught with greatest difficulty. How both parties manage this relationship – even how they think about it – matters greatly. The question is are Labor or the Greens, enemies or friends?

Professor Manne said: ‘A fearless discussion on this question between two of the parliament's most impressive intellectuals is in my view the conversation the Left now needs.’

The Ideas and Society programme is a series of debates and public lectures convened by Professor Robert Manne. The aim of the programme is to consider some of the critical questions of the times and to enliven intellectual life at La Trobe University by bringing some of Australia’s leading thinkers and public figures to deepen the understanding of critical issues.

DATE: Wednesday September 5

TIME: 12.30—2.00pm

VENUE:  John Scott Meeting House, La Trobe University, Bundoora Campus

Webcast: Details available at

Andrew Leigh has been the Labor Member of the House of Representatives for Fraser since 2010. Formerly he was a Professor in the Research School of Economics at the ANU. A member of the Association of the Social Sciences in Australia, in 2011 he received the Economics Society’s Australia’s Young Economist Award.

Adam Bandt has been the Greens Member of the House of Representatives since 2010. Formerly he was an industrial relations and human rights lawyer with Slater & Gordon. Presently he is the deputy leader of the Greens in the federal parliament. He has a doctorate from Monash University in the area of social theory.


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