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The Greens call Cardinal Pell an out of touch Dog Whistler

August 8, 2010

The Greens call Cardinal Pell an out of touch Dog Whistler

It must election time because everyone is getting so touchy of late.


In response to a criticism written by Cardinal Pell of the Australian Greens policies party leader Bob Brown has hit back.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph Cardinal Pell described the Greens as anti-Christian and “sweet-camouflaged poison”.

Bob Brown hits back saying: “The problem for Archbishop Pell is that he’s out of touch with mainstream Australia and many, many Catholics… …I suspect he’s blowing a dog whistle for a Abbott-Abetz government in future, and that’s a much harsher government than the compassionate policies the Greens are putting forward.”


Greens Senate candidate Lin Hatfield Dodds was more scathing in her criticism of Cardinal Pell. “It’s no secret that Cardinal Pell and Tony Abbott are fairly good mates,” she said. Later she added, “…it gets a bit dangerous is where we see political endorsements or disendorsements come from religious or church leaders. For me, that is starting to cross a bit of a line.”


Redefining legitimate criticism as “Dangerous Political Disendorsements” and “blowing a dog whistle” may indicate that the Greens feel that their reputation has been hurt. Like most parties in Australia the Greens like to be portrayed as the moral and reasonable voice of society. However unlike the major parties (or even Cardinal Pell for that matter) the Greens policies have not had very much scrutiny. We know about their Global Warming position and that of asylum seeker boat people but what else do we know about the Green’s vision for the future? Can they just fob old Cardinal off as being “out of touch” or are they being disingenuous?


Here are some of their policies as published on their own website. Whether the reader agrees with these positions or not is a different matter to whether Cardinal Pell has a legitimate reason for his criticism.


From .

nb: underlines added by me.

Drug Policy

  • The Australian Greens do not support the legalisation of currently illegal drugs.
  • imprisonment for personal use of illicit drugs, when not associated with other crimes, is not an appropriate solution to drug dependence.
  • introduce a system of sanctions for personal use of illicit drugs, when not associated with other crimes, that include measures such as education, counselling and treatment commensurate with specific cases and circumstances.



  • ensure all women have access to legal, free and safe pregnancy termination services, including unbiased counselling.


Sexuality and Gender Issues

  • freedom of sexuality and gender identity are fundamental human rights.
  • people have the right to assume their self-identified sex.
  • discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity is a significant cause of psychological distress, mental illness and suicide.
  • the legalisation of marriage between two consenting adults regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
  • de facto relationships to have equal status in law and government policy regardless of sexuality and gender identity.
  • access, regardless of sexuality and gender identity, to adoption, fostering, artificial insemination and in vitro fertilisation procedures.
  • the education system to provide age-appropriate information about the diversity of sexuality.
  • access to the full range of medical and health services required by people with needs related to their sexuality and gender identity.
  • legislate to remove discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex (LGBTI) people in federal legislation.
  • require governments and their agencies to consult with LGBTI communities and representative groups on the development of policies and programs that affect LGBTI people.
  • legislate to allow marriage regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
  • introduce legislation to ensure fair and equal treatment under Commonwealth law of all relationships regardless of sexuality and gender identity.
  • end the inappropriate application of offensive behaviour, indecent behaviour, ‘promotion’ and incitement laws to non-heterosexual acts.
  • establish intersex as a gender recognised by the legal system.
  • support the provision of accurate information, counselling and referral for individuals with, and parents and carers of, infants with intersex conditions.
  • support gender assignment for people born with an intersex condition being made only when they are able to express personal sexual identity.
  • support the granting of political asylum on humanitarian grounds to people persecuted in their own countries on the basis of their sexuality or gender identity.


After the August Federal election the Greens may hold the balance of power in the Senate. It puts them in a powerful position where they have political leverage to start implementing some of these policies. Despite the appeal of these fringe issues to a small sector of the population they are not in synch with mainstream Australia.


Who is really out of touch here?


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