The Australian Greens are the largest of the minor parties in Australian politics, and a regular target for criticism by the major parties. They are normally referred to as “The Greens” in the media and in ordinary conversation. However, their opponents, particularly in the Australian Labor Party, often explicitly refer to them as “The Greens political party,” even though this sounds awkward in political contexts where there is no risk of ambiguity or confusion.

For example, on 27 March 2023 alone the following remarks were recorded in Hansard:

  • Peter Khalil MP (ALP): “The Greens political party can still rectify their position by voting for the Housing Australia Future Fund in the Senate”

  • Michael Sukkar MP (LIB): “But, to be frank, I don't think it's likely that the crossbench, and certainly the Greens political party, will support this”

  • Julian Hill MP (ALP): “Apparently that's the entire point of parliament for the Greens political party, to get social media memes to pump out”

  • Senator Linda White (ALP): “The Greens political party have been out campaigning against the government’s plan to ease this problem … If they wanted to make a difference, the Greens political party would stop politicising Labor’s $10 billion investment and act … The Greens political party and the coalition would do well to put politics aside”

  • Anthony Albanese MP (ALP): ”I also want to thank every member of the crossbench, including the Greens political party, for being prepared to come up with a real, practical solution”

I have never heard a non-politician say this. The term is used so often, especially by Labor MPs, that it is hard to avoid the conclusion that it forms part of their media training. Presumably it serves a similar purpose to the pejorative term “playing politics.” However, it seems unlikely to me that any voter would be moved by a politician’s reminder that their political opponents are also politicians.

Has anybody confirmed that this is a deliberate tactic, or explained the reasoning behind it?

  • 3
    Probably they also consider themselves a "green political party" (one dedicated to environmentalism), so they are sensitive about a phrase that might lend itself to the idea that they are not. But then, "the Greens" by itself might sound a little pejorative or informal to them. So they try to split the difference.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 1:18
  • “The Greens” does not sound pejorative or informal. It is the term normally used in political discussions. If you look at the linked speeches from Hill and White, they use the normal term as well as the “political party” variant, which is not used for other opposing parties.
    – sjy
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 1:28
  • 1
    Perhaps the Labor Party thinks otherwise.
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 1:29
  • 5
    So, after taking a look at that transcript, I see "Greens party" used four times, "Greens political party" used four times, and "Greens" used eleven times. By contrast, today, "the Greens" were mentioned 24 times and "the Greens political party" was mentioned once. Perhaps it is only particular politicians who call them "the Greens political party."
    – Obie 2.0
    Commented Mar 29, 2023 at 2:43
  • Could it be to avoid confusion with a sports team or business? Sports teams are often nicknamed after the colour of their kits, and Green is a common surname and business name. The name of the party is "The Greens" rather than "The Green Party"; the latter would be less ambiguous. I'm unsure if there is a factual answer to this, or if conjecture is all we can manage.
    – Stuart F
    Commented Mar 30, 2023 at 19:49


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