Culture

Angry Young Labor Members Have Launched A Pretty Excellent Meme War Against The Greens

Ya watching, Shorto? This is how it's done.

Earlier this week, the controversial East West Link toll road planned by Denis Napthine’s Victorian government was officially put to rest. The new Labor Premier Daniel Andrews settled to pay the consortium $339 million to bow out of the project, and delivered the news to the state.

Though that kind of payment with taxpayers’ money is obviously not a perfect result, it’s good news for the thousands of Victorians who rallied against the project for the last few years. And, when discussing the news on Facebook, Premier Andrews tried to soften the blow by revealing the original project would have in fact cost a whopping $10.7 billion if it had gone ahead. He also announced that money would soon be redirected towards the government’s upcoming Melbourne Metro rail tunnel — a hugely ambitious subway system that will run through the city centre.

Anyone who has hopped on whatever rickety old tram, train and canoe combo that takes you from North Melbourne to South Yarra will tell you that this is a big deal, so Labor were rightfully celebrating by ferociously patting themselves on the back for it.

But then, Melbourne’s Greens MP Adam Bandt came along and gatecrashed the party by posting this message on his Facebook page:

Okay. So: Adam Bandt did rally against the East West Link. A lot. Through his ‘Trains Not Tolls’ campaign he petitioned the state government, attended rallies, and actively campaigned for the implementation of public transport plans like the Melbourne Metro Rail.

But — though the caption does clarify he’s referring to the community at large — the “we” in that poster combined with the cheeky little Greens logo in the corner doesn’t look great.

Naturally, people were all over it.

“You mean Labor did it. Not the Greens,” read one popular comment.

“While it’s a good outcome, as a progressive, left-leaning Labor voter I’m a little dismayed to see this being framed as a Greens victory. It’s the ALP who went to the polls promising to scrap this road and who have followed through with their promise,” read another.

“You could show some generosity to the government, instead of just using this to crow. This is why I’m getting steadily sick of the Greens. You’re just playing politics like all other parties.”

After that, the internet did what it does best.

Greens Taking Credit For Things

The very next day a meme was born. Created as a response to Bandt’s photo, the Facebook page Greens Taking Credit For Things sprung up with dozens of parody pictures; ready and waiting if The Greens ever wanted to take things one step further.

Two days later, and it already has more than 5,700 followers.

“The Greens seem to have taken on this attitude that they can claim sole credit for anything good that happens, regardless of their actual contribution — we’re just poking a bit of fun at that,” the page’s creator Edward McDougall tells us.

And, as you may have suspected by how many of your student pollie friends already follow the page, McDougall has a bit of a vested interest here. He is both the President of Australian Young Labor and “an active member of the Labor Party”.

“The blatant opportunism of the ‘We Did It’ claim just seemed rife for satire, particularly following on from the grave-robbing of Gough’s achievements,” he says. “This was following on from Lee Rhiannon stamping a Greens logo over Gough Whitlam following his death.”

And while that point is relatively aggressive and contentious — NSW Greens Convenor Hall Greenland responded to similar accusations in Crikey arguing that Gough Whitlam’s values are better aligned with the Greens today — McDougall assures us the page itself is independent from the ALP. Nearly all of the content is supplied by supporters of the page.

Whatever you feel about The Greens or Labor or Adam Bandt’s mischevious little train-loving face, the pictures are some of the best political memes around.

Ya watching, Shorto? This is how it’s done.


The feature image is an edited version of this Facebook post. Check out the full page here.