On the Green Stump, Down Under

The environment is "the sleeper issue of Australia's October 9 election," and Prime Minister John Howard, "once regarded as the nemesis of conservationists - [is] vigorously courting the green vote." Howard pledged Aus$2 billion for "the country's ailing river systems, prompting Labor leader Mark Latham to respond with a billion-dollar package of his own." At the same time, Howard's Deputy Prime Minister attacked the Green Party, saying they're "like a watermelon, green on the outside and red [socialist] on the inside." Greenpeace Australia's campaign director expressed cynicism but said, "If we can use the situation to force [the major parties] into some meaningful commitments, we'll do so."