Greens leadership shake up

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After a distinguished 25-year political career, Christine Milne has stepped down as Greens leader, announcing yesterday that she will not recontest in the next federal election.

Senator Milne made the surprise announcement on Twitter yesterday morning, with the short, simple tweet, “feeling optimistic, proud and sad to announce I’m not contesting 2016 election, and so I resign as leader of Australian Greens”.

She informed her party colleagues later that morning.

It has been reported that some Greens party members, including deputy leader Adam Bandt, were not informed about the decision and found out through the media. Even former Greens leader Bob Brown said that her resignation had come as a “big surprise”.

Senator Richard Di Natale has been elected as Greens leader in the wake of the shock announcement. Adam Bandt has stepped down as deputy, handing over the reins to new co-deputy leaders Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters.

It is believed that Mr Bandt stepped down because he, like Dr Di Natale, is from Victoria and the deputy should be from a different state and also a woman. Bandt’s official statement, also made on Twitter, was: “Congrats Richard and new team! [Very] happy to hand over Deputy to focus on new baby (due in few wks!) & winning further Reps seats in Vic & NSW.

As a doctor, Dr Di Natale tackled HIV prevention in India, Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory and was a key figure in an outbreak investigation team within Victoria’s health department.

During his short political career (he was elected into the Federal Parliament in 2010), Dr Di Natale has championed issues such as dying with dignity, hospital funding, medicinal cannabis and gambling reform. Recently he led a self-funded tour of Ebola-stricken West Africa, because he was concerned the Abbott Government was not doing enough to tackle the problems faced in the region.

Dr Di Natale has indicated that climate change will be a priority, believing that if it is not addressed, every other issue becomes a moot point. He has also stated that the state of the Australian health care system and social security are critical issues on which he intends to focus.

“We’re being told we can’t afford decent health care at the moment. We’re being told that, if you can’t afford to go and see a doctor, well, tough luck. That’s not the sort of country we want to be. They’re the sort of things I’m going to fight for,” he said.

Dr Di Natale, 44, is proud of his Italian roots and also aims to be a champion for Australian multiculturalism. “I’m a sort of product of the great Australian experiment called multiculturalism. I want to be a champion of multiculturalism in the parliament. It’s taking a beating at the moment. I think the debate on terrorism and refugees means that the multiculturalism issue needs a champion. And I’m going to be that champion.”

The newly appointed leader hopes to meet the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in the next few days to discuss his political intentions.

“I think people are sick of the sort of the nonsense that goes on in this place and, you know, if they want someone who is not going to play the game in that way well, great. And if that doesn’t work out well, I’ll go back to growing some veggies at home.”

Senator Milne, who is about to become a grandmother, decided that it was the right time to make a life change, as well as a generational change in Greens leadership. She believes she is leaving the party on good terms and that it is in “really good shape” and that the Greens in Parliament were “ready to fly”.



Opinion: A fresh start for the Greens

Such significant change in leadership translates to a fresh start for the Greens.

Prior to Wednesday, many voters may not have heard of Richard Di Natale. But in his first public appearance as Greens leader, Dr Di Natale presented himself as a man of poise and conviction. He delivered an authentic political message that seemed unscripted – and without the bungled backpedalling of his contemporaries in leadership.

It’s a promising start for a party that has existed on the fringe for so many years, but may now have a chance of harnessing some real political power, with a leader who can work with his peers in order to, in his own words, “get things done”.

And Tony Abbott will no doubt welcome a Greens leader who may not place himself in constant direct opposition to his government’s proposals, as Christine Milne was so apt to do.

Dr Di Natale is against cuts to health and education, believing such cuts wouldn’t be necessary if the government focused on reining in multinational tax avoidance and cutting back on the superannuation tax concessions for the very rich.

He spoke about climate change being a priority, but unlike Milne, he is not specifically a one-eyed environmentalist. This may give the Greens a chance to shift public opinion of the party, with a less ideological, more mainstream approach to leadership that may give voters a legitimate third option when it comes time to vote in 2016.

What do you think? Were you surprised at the Greens leadership change? Do you think that this change in leadership may make it easier for the Coalition to push some of its intended policies through the Senate? Would the new look Greens change the way you vote in 2016?

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Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 47
  1. 0

    Christine Milne was an absolute idiot and offered nothing to this country so it is good riddance to an absolute fool. lets hope we never hear of her again.

    This new bloke must come up with something different to try and help this country not a lot of ideologies that the other loser had.
    Lets all hope.

    • 0

      My, my, what a nasty comment. Ms Milne has 25 years of public service behind her. By definition, people who are in politics will be supported by some and annoy others but I wonder how many years of your life you have devoted to the community ROBO? By all means constructively discuss the Greens’ policies and disagree if you wish, but nasty personal attacks on anyone say more about the attacker than they do about the attacked.

    • 0

      To Happy Cyclist: Don’t make Christine Milne sound like she DONATED her time and effort please – she was paid an extremely good salary and she will be on an extremely generous superannuation and has probably had some overseas trips paid for generously by us the down to earth people – so she may worked well, but she’s surely been rewarded well for it.

    • 0

      An excellent comment. Christine MIlne has been a stone around the neck of the government throughout her extremely well paid career. The only notable achievement has been to resign. Under her leadership, the Greens have been shown to be a party with no policies, no interest in advancing Australia and no willingness to compromise. MInd you, after listening to Bob Brown drone along in the Senate, boring the backside of anyone who couldn’t find a reason not to be present, Christine Milne was a shoe in to raise the Greens to new levels…..but no! Just another Green with lots to say but no action

    • 0

      I would like to know how much MS Milne is going to get in her parliamentary pension.

    • 0

      wally my guess is $120,000 pa plus perks. Christine is only 62 so the cost to the taxpayer is quite substantial.

  2. 0

    About time for a positive change! Bob Brown was always going to be a hard act to follow. Let’s hope the new leadership can lift the standard of politics in oz.

  3. 0

    The problem with the Greens is that as ROBO says, they base their policies on ideology and not facts and science. As the teaching of science in schools has deteriorated, the general population is not able to tell the difference between ideology, opinion, and actual truth. This is a parlous state of affairs. As such, the Greens, instead of being a wise party that understands environmental issues, they are dangerous.

    • 0

      Jennie, I think you need look no further than the current government to see the problem of ideology versus policy. The Ideology that drives this government is the major reason it is on the nose. Conversely, the Greens policies are there for all to see. They are not the ones hiding behind policies at election time and then blatantly switching to an ideology that is out of step with, dare I say it, the majority of Australians. It is sad when those who wish to make a point have to ‘blow out other peoples’ candles to make theirs shine brighter’.
      We are extremely fortunate that we able to freely hold a variety of views whether we agree with the views expressed by others or not.
      So come on let’s have some proper debate here.

    • 0

      Spot on Jennie

    • 0

      Of course Greens will not change pre-election policies, post-election. They are never going to be in power, therefore can espouse any country destroying policies safe in the knowledge that they would never be in a position to implement them.

  4. 0

    The Greens are simply just another name for Communism.
    New South Wales senator-elect Lee Rhiannon is a former member of the Moscow-aligned Socialist Party of Australia. Her parents were prominent members of the Communist Party. The new Member for Melbourne, Adam Bandt, was a radical student activist. Writing on a Marxist website in the 1990s, Mr Bandt attacked capitalism, arguing that ideological purity was paramount. Sarah Hanson-Young believes in open boarders and would let every so called asylum seeker into this country. Di Natale wants to push the agenda of Multiculturalism..are we not all Australians yet?…Wants to stop laws that protect us from terroism. The Greens the party you would never want to have.

    • 0

      Just because these people are “outside the square” thinkers doesnt make them communists! Reality is that Australia IS multicultural. One thirs of uscare not born in Australia. Both major parties are behind the times.

    • 0

      Jackie, are you confusing political belief with culture? People can and do change their political viewpoints and beliefs over time. Do people also change their culture as they grow older? I would like you to provide supporting evidence and examples of this. If the Greens, if I correctly read your last sentence, are not behind the times, what policies do the greens propose to support your statement?

  5. 0

    It came as a total surprise to the media who didn’t have Di Natalie in the running for leadership. Perhaps there is more to this change than is immediately apparent? Maybe Milne wanted to get out before finding out what voters really think of the Greens ideology after seeing forecasts of the Greens UK result.

    • 0

      Well there you go Frank, Bobs your uncle, no not Browny; a little bird must have been rustling among her leaves and whispered in her ear, “the chain saws are coming to cut you down babe”. LOL

  6. 0

    We are being told if we can’t afford a doctor, tough luck. What absolute lying garbage. Australians who need medical help have never, ever been deprived of it, no matter our circumstances. Public hospitals are still medicare funded and doctors still bulk-bill. I have relatives in Tasmania and visit that beautiful island at least once a year. The Greens began their deceitful policies in Tasmania, wrecking their hydro-electric future with their “no dams” campaigns (clean energey). I learned they started out as a community-minded group interested in environmental concerns but quickly learned how to get ferals and others to campaign for them, then morphing into a far left-wing bunch of communist inspired idealists. The Greens totally ruined Tasmania, holding it back for decades. Fortunately Tasmanians woke up and cut back their control over the people and their Labor mates, so their state is now up and running, moving ahead at a rapid pace with people lately leaving over-populated, stressful big cities and moving down there for a better lifestyle. Good riddance Bob Brown and Christine Milne and pity help if the overpaid Green “couple” Mr McKim and Ms O’Connor get their paws into the 6-year senate term trough, so they can increase their sky-polluting flying backwards and forwards to Tasmania. Flying thousands of miles on a regular basis is a favourite pastime of the “environmentally aware” Greens, all the while telling the rest of us minions exactly the opposite. They are all trouble with a capital “T”. Did anyone ever see Milne or Hanson-Young riding their bikes around the streets as an example for the rest of us? No they’re always stepping out of late model cars.

  7. 0

    The great paradox of the Greens is that their origins lie in a campaign to fight the development of a source of renewable energy, hydro-electrical power, that their Great Day of Celebration marked the effective end of the push to develop this cheap and carbon-neutral means of powering the Tasmanian economy. Imagine the Liberal Party trying to keep this secret??… nothing on the ABC…no surprise there. Greens are a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  8. 0

    Hopefully we can now get some cooperation with the Greens instead of a steady refusal to assist the current government in trying to dig us out of the huge financial burden we now have. Ideology is wonderful but commonsense and reality are better.

  9. 0

    This ‘changing of the green guard’ process seems to me to be wrong on so many levels. That the leader of a political party announces their resignation through social media before advising her party colleagues is disrespectful in the extreme. Then the secrecy and haste of appointing the new leader before party members even knew there was to be a change (and gloating there were no other candidates) doesn’t have the appearance of a democratically elected leader of the party. More of an appointment of the anointed?

    Then we look at Mr Di Natale. This was the man who at the height of the Ebola crisis decides he wants to take a trip over there just to see for himself what was going on. Totally ignoring that the information he might have collected was already available from the many aid agencies already working in the area, he wanted the Government to pay for his trip and provide a car and an escort whilst he was there. When Ms Bishop refused all his demands on the grounds the trip was not necessary, he then whined like a schoolboy and eventually pays for himself. Incidentally, I don’t remember seeing any mention of his ‘report’ when he got back do you?

    So for now, we wait and see whether this change is for better or worse. I would like to hope the Greens pronouncements on such issues as border protection, refugees, immigration, climate change, legalising drugs, lowering the voting age to 16 etc will be less ideologically based and more rooted in what is best for Australia.

    • 0

      They want the vote for 16 yr olds because Greens are highly skilled in appealing to the impressionable youth vote.

    • 0

      Not Amused, I guess we are all idealists and know alls at 16 then as we grow up we become realists, more pragmatic and understand how little we actually knew!

      God forbid we are ever ‘ruled’ by bolshie, spotty, bombed-out, little upstarts in school uniforms rather than bolshie, medicated, know-all oldies with a bus pass and walking stick… ha ha! 😉

  10. 0

    I was impressed with this bloke when I saw him on the 7-30 report last night –although I have never voted for the Greens, I also liked Bob Brown

    • 0

      I agree, PlanB, and am prepared to give him a go.

    • 0

      Of course Mr Di Natale would be on his best behaviour on the 7:30 Report and would not say anything to frighten the public. I would not be rushing to condemn or deify him on the one tv appearance alone. It would be like betting on a racehorse before seeing how it performs.

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