Greens Leadership Vote Lacking

03/02/2020

In a sad turn of events, Richard Di Natale has stepped down as Parliamentary Leader of the Greens. He has resigned from the role, and will leave the Senate once a new Leader has been voted in. It is that vote that leaves much to be desired, as some other Greens members and politicians have expressed since the announcement.

I am not a member of any political party, nor at this stage intend to be at all, but I am not against backing individuals and parties that are preferable over the alternatives. I detest the Democrats in the US, but any of their ilk would be better than Trump, and Sanders, frankly the best choice they have ever had on offer, is the obvious candidate, even if there are disagreements or faltering commitments to certain issues. Here in Australia, I criticise the Labor Party on occasion, but almost always with the disclaimer that they cannot be dismissed as far preferable to the current black hole of corruption and secrecy.

The Greens are the “alternative alternative”, with many positions that surpass Labor’s dwindling willpower across some topics of contention, like a swift transition from fossil fuels to renewables or the data privacy laws from 2018. They are by no means perfect, and any valid arguments against them should be considered (and no, if any Murdoch reader finds their way here, that does not include the false narrative regarding their “role” in the bushfire crisis).

Today, with the announcement of the 10 MP vote for the new Greens Leader, there is a valid criticism that should rightfully be called out. Many Greens members have raised concerns about how closed the leadership vote is, contained only to the one Federal MP and remaining Senators. QLD State MP Michael Berkman and Jonathan Sri, a BCC Councillor, have both expressed their admiration for Di Natale’s leadership, with Sri admitting he believes any of the Senators or Bandt would make excellent leaders in their own right, but added their disappointment with the process.

Jonathan Sri has said:

“The parliamentary leader has huge influence over the party’s strategic direction and what issues we prioritise, so the choice of who becomes leader is not just about choosing an individual to coordinate the other federal MPs, but about choosing between different potential directions for the future of the party.”

He also made a comment about how it shouldn’t just be those at the top of the hierarchy that get to make this decision – coincidentally, he dismissed the idea of a label on his politics, but recently he did say he lean around the ideas of a community driven anarcho-communism. His choice of words today lend themselves to that kind of position.

And it is one I agree with. I imagine Adam Bandt will take the role, as Larissa Waters has stated her intention to remain as Deputy, but regardless of whether that result would be the same with 10 votes or the party membership, it is a matter of principle that they should expand the vote beyond Federal Parliament. As I am not a member of the Greens, it doesn’t overly bother me personally, but I wholeheartedly support those who are displeased with the current system and want to change it.

The more open and inclusive our selection and election of leaders are, the better our society will be with more representation involved. The Greens have a chance to reform their party in a way that better reflects their values – it would be a shame to see them huddle away in Parliament and leave everyone else out of one of the most important decisions they need to make right now.

Liked this? Read In Defence of Reforms

Previous piece: The Language of Academia as A Barrier

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