That fire and brimstone that you see spewing from the heavens this morning is the first sign of the doom about to befall Australia as we know it. Our entire way of life is about to be destroyed, we’ll be wearing hair shirts by Christmas (if it hasn’t been banned) and bathing in ashes. Why? Well there’s been a change in the composition of the Senate.

According to the Herald Sun, the Greens, who now have 10 representatives in a combined parliament of 226, have staged a _”takeover”_ and are now _”in charge”_. How they managed to completely subvert the Westminster system of government to seize such power isn’t clearly explained, nor why the larger parties have agreed to let them do so. The Hun has also given each of the Greens a handy nickname so that you can easily identify which ones to be most frightened of.

Take a look at the hilarious coverage from today’s dead tree edition:

Images via @Captainsuburbia

The labels are all pretty funny, particularly “The Lawyer” for Larissa Waters, considering that’s hardly unique within the elected Greens, let alone the parliament in general.

The entire concept of balance of power is a bit of a furphy, the Greens, like every minor party or collection of independent Senators before them, have no ability to block legislation without working in concert with the opposition. The vast majority of legislation goes through with the support of the opposition, regardless of which of the major parties hold executive power. So no matter what the Greens want to do, they can be rendered powerless by the two major parties negotiating on legislation. Naturally, the major parties are more than happy to pretend that the Greens are now the deciding force in the Senate, as it allows them to lay the blame for anything they feel their constituency might not like at the feet of this tiny party.

But that won’t stop the Herald Sun:

Senator Brown has revealed himself as a danger to democracy in challenging the potential mandate of a Coalition government to abolish a carbon tax imposed by the current minority government of Labor, Greens and independents.

That’s right, Bob Brown might stop the passage of a piece of non-existent legislation, from a non-existent Coalition government with a non-existent mandate. A danger to democracy indeed.

Blocking such legislation would deny the will of voters if the landslide to the Tony Abbott-led Opposition suggested by the opinion polls comes to pass.

A landslide! Who can argue with a landslide? Well, I guess Tony Abbott felt pretty comfortable denying the will of the voters when Nick Minchen orchestrated the political assassination of Malcolm Turnbull in order to derail the Emissions Trading Scheme in 2009, but that’s nothing like what the Greens might do “if” Tony Abbott becomes PM.

But let’s not allow reality to intrude into the world inherited by the Herald Sun, the end is nigh, watch out for menacing folk on horseback and don’t engage in conversation with any goats.

UPDATE (Jeremy): Some highlights from the Herald Sun comments over on the Cut & Paste Trophy thread.

UPDATE #2 (Jeremy again): The ABC might want to be careful how it words its “explanations”, given the level of ignorance in the community about Parliament. For example, sentences like this don’t help:

The Senate has 76 seats, and as of today it will be comprised of 31 Labor members, 29 Liberals, the nine Greens, five Nationals, one independent and one senator from the Democratic Labor Party.

That means no side of politics can win a majority of 39 votes in the Upper House without the Greens.

Um, yes they can. The Liberals and Labor could vote together, as a “side”, and pass legislation together.

I refuse to believe that Antony Green was party to that post.

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