Unions rubbish Milne’s “boo-hoo” speech over Labor and miners

While Christine Milne has signalled an end to the Labor-Greens alliance, Australian Workers' Union boss Paul Howes has dismissed Milne's criticism as a “boo-hoo” moment.

In a speech to the National Press Club yesterday Milne said the Federal Government had ditched an agreement with the Greens by aligning itself too closely with the mining industry.

Marking Canberra's approval of mining in Tasmania's Tarkine region, and a push by unions to reduce red tape for the coal seam gas industry, Milne said Labor had put the interests of miners above those of the wider community.

“By choosing the big miners, the Labor Government is no longer honouring our agreement to work together to promote transparent and accountable government, the public interest, or to address climate change,” she said.

“Labor has effectively ended its agreement with the Greens. Well, so be it.”

Milne also said unwillingness to act on the mining tax and fossil fuel subsidies were behind the split.

The Greens helped Labor form a minority government after the 2010 election, and will still support the Government in the final months of Parliament, making the split largely a symbolic move.

But the ALP has also marked a move away from the Greens, with a spokesperson for the Prime Minister claiming Labor will “always be the party that puts jobs, growth and work first”.

AWU boss Paul Howes celebrated the split, and claimed Milne was angry about Canberra's approval of mining in the Tarkine.

“She is upset that she lost the campaign in north-west Tasmania. Well, boo-hoo. At the end of the day Federal Labor Government has delivered for jobs,” he said.

Opposition Senate leader Eric Abetz said while the Greens had attempted to differentiate themselves from a “toxic” Labor brand, nothing had changed because the party would still keep the ALP in power until the election.

To keep up to date with Australian Mining, subscribe to our free email newsletters delivered straight to your inbox. Click here.