Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the most powerful Green in the world

Meet Adam Bandt, the new Green member of Australia's House of Representatives and arguably the most powerful Green in the world.

Bandt won his seat from the governing Labour Party in last Saturday's inconclusive election, which left no party in overall control, and he now finds himself in a pivotal role. A few seats short of a majority, Labour has to look to Adam Bandt and the handful of independent members of parliament in order to stay in power.

Why do I call Bandt the most powerful Green in the world (other than because of my penchant for hyperbolic headlines)? Because Australia's greenhouse gas emissions in 2009 were 537 million tonnes, "the largest amount per person of any developed country," according to the Sydney Morning Herald (May 28, 2010), and the sole Green legislator is uniquely positioned to ensure that the next government takes a big bite out of the country's GHG output. Coal is at the root of Australia's growing CO2 discharge, and a one of the main issues in the general elections was a proposed tax on coal profits. With his leverage, Bandt could force Labour to increase the coal-tax rate and push Australia away from coal and toward renewables.

So Adam Bandt, age 38, Ph.D., labor-lawyer turned legislator and a vocal supporter of marriage equality, has real power. Acquiring, maintaining, and using political power is the purpose of electoral politics, a fact lost on too many candidates of all stripes. But Bandt is one Green who is not afraid to use the word "power." See for yourself in his short campaign video.

In two minutes, Bandt defines himself, his party, the voters, and the issues. It's a masterful piece of persuasive advocacy, in my opinion, and I would welcome your comments on Bandt's message and how he presents it. In particular, I hope you'll notice the tried-and-trusted rhetorical devices.