The Greens partyâ€™s house-journal The Age interrupted its occasional guide to the flavours of calzone served at Greens party morning teas with a spirited defence of their candidate Brian Waltersâ€™ right to take money from brown-coal miners, war criminals and anyone else he feels like.
Walters likes to style himself as a human rights lawyer but over the weekend it emerged that heâ€™s just a middle-aged rich barrister who represents the big end of town against injured workers and invests the profits in property developments that cash in on coal-mining booms.
Just because youâ€™re a lawyer for a pedophile doesnâ€™t make you a pedophile goes the argument and itâ€™s one weâ€™d normally find appealing from anyone slightly less pious, preachy and sanctimonious than the rich Greens candidate. And while the â€˜cab-rankâ€™ concept is well-understood in the Bar, certainly the community has frequently frowned on â€œmob lawyersâ€ if they got too close to their clients.
In the case of Brian Walters, it certainly looks like heâ€™s been very enthusiastic indeed about making a quid from coal-mining, even advertising one of his north Rockhampton property developments (with an end value around $5 million) on the basis that it offered exposure to the central Queensland resources boom, which of course is centred on coal. It no doubt gave him something to talk about with the big coal executives he represents in court.
Federal Labor MP Michael Danby â€“ a real human rights crusader and prominent campaigner against the worldâ€™s worst regimes – thinks The Age has gone too far and has pointed out some inconvenient truths in a statement issued today:
MP Slams Age Excuses for Greens Political Party
â€œThe Greens Political Party are a bunch of wusses if they needed their principal ally, The Age newspaper to excuse them from the scrutiny to which all political parties are subject,â€ Michael Danby, Federal Member for Melbourne Ports said today.
â€œIt is clear to any observer that The Age has been campaigning for the Greens Political Party for months prior to the imminent State election,â€ Danby said. â€œThe entire newspaper, not just the Thursday edition, should be renamed the Green pages,â€ he said.
â€œThe Age had defended the Greens Political Partyâ€™s candidate for Melbourne, Brian Walters, insisting that it was a smear to point out that Walters had defended SS Nazi auxiliary Konrad Kalejs and that Walters had taken an extreme position in defence of the Nazi symbol, the Swastika.â€
Michael Danby concluded that The Ageâ€™s demand that the Greens Political Party be given a free pass again demonstrated that it was written by and for a narrow demographic increasingly restricted to the inner city suburbs north of the Yarra.