All of Australia’s political parties have a bright, vivid colour associated with them — it’s like painting with your hands in pre-school. Labor is red — representing its roots in the working community and the socialist movement. Liberal is blue, representing its conservative and liberal background. And of course, the Greens are green, representing their focus on the environment.
Normally these colours are brought out during election times, or perhaps highlighted by virtue of their proponent’s dress sense. But during an estimates committee hearing in Tasmania last week, Tasmanian Greens Leader Nick McKim — also a minister in his own right as part of the joint Greens/Labor government — applied for the colour green to be applied in an unorthodox sense.
In the committee, Liberal MP Michael Ferguson pointed out that something like 200km of optic fibre cables would be rolled out around Tasmania as part of the first stage of the National Broadband Network rollout.
“Now do not laugh,” he said. “It is all black. It comes in two colours: black or black.”
“Have you considered the visual amenity of that fibre on communities? And I say do not laugh because I would have thought given the scale of the rollout there might be a good opportunity for you as the leader of our community to seek a visual outcome that might be better than black?”
Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett replied: What colour would you like it to be?”
“Green,” said McKim.
“Nick would like green,” confirmed Ferguson.
“I am nothing if not consistent,” McKim added.
In response, Bartlett pointed out that the NBN cables would only be one more cable strung alongside powerlines — usually four or eight in a batch.
“I am not sure what would be a more attractive colour than black,” the Premier said.