|Co-deputy leaders||Larissa Waters|
|Headquarters||23/85 Northbourne Ave|
Turner ACT 2612
|Youth wing||Young Greens|
|Regional affiliation||Asia-Pacific Greens|
|International affiliation||Global Greens|
|Slogan||A Future for All of Us|
|House of Representatives|
1 / 151
9 / 76
|State and territory lower house members|
11 / 455
|State and territory upper house members|
12 / 155
|Part of a series on|
The Australian Greens, commonly known as The Greens, is a federation of Green state political parties in Australia. As of the 2019 federal election, the Greens are currently the third largest political party in Australia by vote. The leader of the party is Adam Bandt, and the party's co-deputy leaders are Larissa Waters and Nick McKim.
The party was formed in 1992 and is a confederation of eight state and territorial parties. The party cites four core values, namely ecological sustainability, social justice, grassroots democracy and peace and non-violence. The party's origins can be traced to early environmental movement in Australia, the Franklin Dam controversy and the nuclear disarmament movement. Beginning with the United Tasmania Group, one of the first green parties in the world.
Following the 2016 federal election, the Australian Greens had nine senators and one member in the lower house, 23 elected representatives across state and territory parliaments, more than 100 local councillors, and over 15,000 party members (as of 2016). All Senate and House of Representatives seats were retained at the 2019 federal election.
The origins of the Australian Greens can be traced to the early environmental movement in Australia and the formation of the United Tasmania Group, one of the first green parties in the world, but also the nuclear disarmament movement in Western Australia and sections of the industrial left in New South Wales. Co-ordination between environmentalist groups occurred in the 1980s with various significant protests. Key people involved in these campaigns included Bob Brown and Christine Milne, who went on to contest and win seats in the Parliament of Tasmania and eventually form the Tasmanian Greens. Both Brown and Milne subsequently became leaders of the federal party.
The formation of the federal party in 1992 brought together over a dozen green groups, from state and local organisations, some of which had existed for 20 years. Following formation of the national party in 1992, regional emphasis variations remained within the Greens, with members of the "industrial left" remaining a presence in the New South Wales branch. Brown resigned from the Tasmanian Parliament in 1993, and in 1996 he was elected as a senator for Tasmania, the first elected as an Australian Greens candidate.
Initially the most successful Greens group during this period was The Greens (WA), at that time still a separate organisation from the Australian Greens. Vallentine was succeeded by Christabel Chamarette in 1992, and she was joined by Dee Margetts in 1993. But Chamarette was defeated in the 1996 federal election. Margetts opposed the industrial relations reform agenda of the Howard Government. Following the 'Cavalcade to Canberra' protest of 19 August 1996, in which 2000 breakaway civilians rioted in and around Parliament House, Margetts told the Senate that "The Greens (WA) do not associate ourselves with the violent action" and that while "there are obviously some in the Greens movement who have differing opinions about that" she personally did not think there was "any justification for the use of violence to the extent that we saw". Margetts lost her seat in the 1998 federal election, leaving Brown as the sole Australian Greens senator.
In the 2001 federal election, Brown was re-elected as a senator for Tasmania, and a second Greens senator, Kerry Nettle, was elected in New South Wales. The Greens opposed the Howard Government's Pacific Solution of offshore processing for asylum seekers, and opposed the bipartisan offers of support to the US alliance and Afghanistan War by the government and Beazley Opposition in the aftermath of the 11 September terrorist attacks in 2001, describing the Afghanistan commitment as "warmongering". This contributed to increased support for the Greens by disaffected Labor Party voters and helped identify the Greens as more than just a single-issue environmental party. On 19 October 2002 the Greens won a House of Representatives seat for the first time when Michael Organ won the Cunningham by-election.
In the 2004 federal election the Australian Greens fielded candidates in every House of Representatives seat in Australia. The Greens' primary vote rose by 2.3% to 7.2%. This won them two additional Senate seats, taken by Christine Milne in Tasmania and Rachel Siewert in Western Australia, bringing the total to four.
The Greens increased their national vote by 1.38 points to 9.04% at the 2007 federal election, with the election of South Australian senator Sarah Hanson-Young taking the number of Greens senators to five. Senators Bob Brown (Tas) and Kerry Nettle (NSW) were up for re-election, Brown was re-elected, but Nettle was unsuccessful, becoming the only Australian Greens senator to lose their seat.
The 2010 federal election marked a high point for the Greens electorally with the party receiving its largest vote to date and sharing the balance of power. The Greens received a four percent swing to finish with 13 percent of the vote in the Senate. The Greens won a seat in each of the six states at the election, bringing the party to a total of nine senators from July 2011, holding the balance of power in the Senate. The new senators were Lee Rhiannon in New South Wales, Richard Di Natale in Victoria, Larissa Waters in Queensland, Rachel Siewert in Western Australia, Penny Wright in South Australia and Christine Milne in Tasmania. Incumbents Scott Ludlam in Western Australia, Sarah Hanson-Young in South Australia and Bob Brown in Tasmania were not due for re-election. The Greens also won their first House of Representatives seat at a general election, the seat of Melbourne with candidate Adam Bandt, who was a crossbencher in the first hung parliament since the 1940 federal election. Almost two weeks after the election, the Greens agreed to support a Gillard Labor minority government on confidence and supply votes. Labor was returned to government with the additional support of three independent crossbenchers.
Prior to the 2010 Federal Election, the Electrical Trades Union's Victorian branch donated $325,000 to the Greens' Victorian campaign – the largest political donation ever directed to the Party up to that time.
The Greens signed a formal agreement with the Australian Labor Party involving consultation in relation to policy and support in the House of Representatives in relation to confidence and supply and three of the independents declared their support for Labor on confidence and supply, allowing Gillard and Labor to remain in power with a 76–74 minority government.
On 24 February 2011, in a joint press conference of the "Climate Change Committee" – comprising the Government, Greens and two independent MPs – Prime Minister Gillard announced a plan to legislate for the introduction of a fixed price to be imposed on "carbon pollution" from 1 July 2012 The carbon price would be placed for three to five years before a full emissions trading scheme is implemented, under a blueprint agreed by a multi-party parliamentary committee. Key issues remained to be negotiated between the Government and the cross-benches, including compensation arrangements for households and businesses, the carbon price level, the emissions reduction target and whether or not to include fuel in the price.
At the 2013 federal election the House of Representatives (lower house) primary vote was 8.7 percent (−3.1) with the Senate (upper house) primary vote at 8.7 percent (−4.5). Despite receiving a decline in votes, the Greens representation in the parliament increased. Adam Bandt retained his Melbourne seat with a primary vote of 42.6 percent (+7.0) and a two-candidate preferred vote of 55.3 percent (−0.6). The Greens won four Senate positions, increasing their Senate representation from nine to ten Senators.
At the 2014 Australian Senate special election in Western Australia the Greens won in excess of a quota with the primary vote increasing from 9.5 to 15.6 percent, re-electing Scott Ludlam.
In December 2015, the Greens struck a deal with the Coalition Government, passing a law requiring multinational private companies with a turnover over $200 million to disclose their tax arrangements and also making it mandatory for multinational companies with a global turnover of $1 billion or more to have to prepare "general purpose" financial statements, which disclose greater tax details than previously occurred in Australia. The following year the Coalition Government and the Greens agreed on a permanent 15% tax rate for backpackers, in exchange for a $100 million funding boost to environmental stewardship not-for-profit Landcare.
At the 2016 federal election the House of Representatives (lower house) primary vote increased to 10.23 percent (+1.58) but decreased in the Senate (upper house), with primary vote at 8.65 percent (−0.58). Adam Bandt was elected to a third term in his Melbourne seat with a primary vote of 43.75 percent (+1.13) and a two-candidate preferred vote of 68.48 percent (+13.21). Despite a campaign focus on winning additional seats in the lower house, The Greens failed to win any lower house contests.
The Greens also lost one Senate position in South Australia, decreasing their Senate representation from ten to nine Senators, to a total of ten Green members in the Parliament of Australia. The result was seen as disappointing, and caused internal divisions to flare up, with former Federal Leader Bob Brown calling upon Senator Lee Rhiannon to resign, citing the "need for renewal".
2017–18 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis
In 2017, Senators Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters were forced to resign during 2017–18 Australian parliamentary eligibility crisis after it was found that Ludlam had dual Australian-New Zealand citizenship and Waters had dual citizenship with Canada.. Subsequently, Adam Bandt and Rachel Siewert were named as temporary co-deputy leaders until the arrival of Ludlam and Waters' replacements in Canberra.
At the 2019 federal election, the Australian Greens received a primary vote of 10.4% in the House of Representatives, with a federal swing of +0.2%. The party's highest vote was captured in the Australian Capital Territory (16.8%), followed by Victoria (11.9%), Western Australia (11.6%), Queensland (10.3%), Northern Territory (10.2%), Tasmania (10.1%), South Australia (9.6%) and New South Wales (8.7%). The party retained the federal electorate of Melbourne with Adam Bandt sitting at a 71.8% two-party preferred vote.
In the Senate, the Greens received favourable swings in South Australia (+5.03%), Queensland (+3.12%), the Australian Capital Territory (+1.61%), Western Australia (+1.48%), Tasmania (+1.41%) and New South Wales (+1.32%). Small swings against the Greens in the Senate were observed in only Victoria (-0.25%) and the Northern Territory (−0.54%). All 6 Greens Senators up for re-election retained their seats, including Senators Mehreen Faruqi, Janet Rice, Larissa Waters, Sarah Hanson-Young, Jordon Steele-John and Nick McKim.
Three key seats were targeted by the Greens in Victoria, including Kooyong, Higgins and Macnamara. Prominent barrister Julian Burnside, who stood for Kooyong, came close to unseating treasurer and deputy Liberal leader Josh Frydenberg, falling short by 5.7% in the two-party preferred vote. Greens candidate Jason Ball, for the Division of Higgins, failed to enter the two-party preferred vote, despite optimism within the Greens and a diminishing Liberal vote. In Macnamara (formerly Melbourne Ports), a three-way contest emerged between the Liberals, Labor and Greens. Greens candidate Steph Hodgins-May had come within a few hundred votes in 2016 of taking the seat, however, redistributions in the electorate for the 2019 election were unfavourable for the Greens' vote, and the party's final vote sat at 24.2%.
The Australian Greens are part of the global "green politics" movement. The charter of the Australian Greens identifies four main pillars as the party's policy: "social justice", "sustainability", "grassroots democracy" and "peace and non-violence".
The Australian Greens' policies cover a wide range of issues. Most notably, the party favours environmentalism, including expansion of recycling facilities; phasing out single-use plastics; conservation efforts; better water management; and addressing species extinction, habitat loss and deforestation in Australia. The Greens strongly support efforts to address climate change based on scientific evidence, by transitioning away from the burning of fossil fuels to renewable energy production in the next decade, as well as reintroducing a carbon price. The party supports lowering household electricity prices through the creation of a publicly-owned renewable energy provider, and building thousands of new jobs in renewable energy generation.
On economic issues, the Greens oppose tax cuts that solely benefit the top bracket of income earners and lead to socioeconomic inequality and believe that all essential services need to be adequately funded to suit community needs; and argue for the recreation of a publicly-owned bank. The Greens have campaigned on free undergraduate university and TAFE, paid for by ending tax avoidance and fossil fuel subsidies. The party is in favour of extending Medicare coverage to all dental and mental health care, and supports reproductive health rights and voluntary euthanasia.
In terms of agricultural policy, the party believes in phasing out caged egg production and sow stalls, instead favouring ethical farming practices. The party acknowledges that methane emissions from livestock need to be reduced as these emissions are a major source of global warming. This would be achieved by supporting new and ongoing research and through the avenues of animal health and nutrition, selection and genetics. The Greens strongly support community-driven decision-making processes as a means by which soil and water degradation can be addressed. Support for farmers experiencing the effects of climate change through droughts, and soil and water degradation has been expressed by the Greens. Another aim of the party is to ensure fair prices for farmers, against growing international competition, and to "reward farmers for the repair and maintenance of ecosystem[s]".
The Greens are often known for their outspoken advocacy on numerous social issues, such as the legalisation of marriage equality, the right to seek asylum and gender equality. The party supports drug law reform, including the legalisation of cannabis; treating drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal issue; and community pill-testing. The party supports animal welfare policies and stringent gun control legislation. The Greens also advocate for policies that they believe will strengthen Australian democracy and "clean up politics", including capping political donations and instituting a federal anti-corruption watchdog. The Greens advocate for the use of pill-testing at community events such as festivals. This policy is supported by the Australian Medical Association (AMA). The Greens support the implementation of the Portuguese model of drug law reform—specifically, the decriminalisation of drugs in favour of treating drug addiction as a health issue rather than merely a law and order issue.
On Saturday 12 November 2005 at the national conference in Hobart the Australian Greens abandoned their long-standing tradition of having no official leader and approved a process whereby a parliamentary leader could be elected by the Greens Parliamentary Party Room. On Monday 28 November 2005, Bob Brown – who had long been regarded as de facto leader by many inside the party, and most people outside the party – was elected unopposed as the Parliamentary Party Leader. Each leader has been described to represent a faction within the party, with the political journalist Paddy Manning describing that Christine Milne came from the right wing of the party, while Bandt is the first Greens leader from the left wing of the party.
|Leader||State||Start||End||Time in office||Deputy / Co-deputies|
|Bob Brown||Tasmania||28 November 2005||13 April 2012||6 years, 137 days||Christine Milne|
|Christine Milne||Tasmania||13 April 2012||6 May 2015||3 years, 23 days||Adam Bandt|
|Richard Di Natale||Victoria||6 May 2015||3 February 2020||4 years, 273 days||Larissa Waters
to 18 July 2017; from 4 December 2018
to 14 July 2017
|Adam Bandt||Victoria||4 February 2020||Incumbent||193 days||Larissa Waters
from 4 February 2020
from 4 February 2020
Greens MPs are each assigned their own portfolios, or specific areas of responsibility. All portfolios are decided by the party and may differ in title from the government's portfolio priorities The Greens have formed a Gun Control portfolio, of which there is no equivalent in the government.
Portfolios are divided into five major categories according to the Greens such as "an equal society", "world-class essential services", "climate and the environment", "the green economy", and "a confident Australia".
The Australian Greens is federally organised with separately registered state parties signing up to a national constitution, yet retaining considerable policy-making and organisational autonomy from the centre. The national decision-making body of the Australian Greens is the National Council, consisting of delegates from each member body (a state or territory Greens party) and composed of national office bearers including the National Convenor, Secretary and Treasurer. There is also a Public Officer, a Party Agent and a Registered Officer. The National Council arrives at decisions by consensus. All policies originating from this structure are subject to ratification by the members of the Australian Greens at National Conference.
State and territory parties
The Australian Greens are a federation consisting of eight parties from each state and territory. The various Australian states and territories have different electoral systems, all of which allow the Greens to gain representation. In New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia, the Greens hold seats in the Legislative Councils (upper houses), which are elected by proportional representation. The Greens also hold two seats in the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly since the 2016 election, up from one after the 2012 election. In Queensland and the Northern Territory, their unicameral parliaments have made it difficult for the Greens to gain representation.
The Greens' most important area of state political activity has been in Tasmania, which is the only state where the lower house of the state parliament is elected by proportional representation. In Tasmania, the Greens have been represented in the House of Assembly from 1983, initially as Green Independents, and from the early 1990s as an established party. At the 1989 state election, the Liberal Party won 17 seats to Labor's 13 and the Greens' 5. The Greens agreed to support a minority Labor government in exchange for a number of policy commitments. In 1992 the agreement broke down over the issue of employment in the forestry industry, and the premier, Michael Field, called an early state election which the Liberals won. Later, Labor and the Liberals combined to reduce the size of the Assembly from 35 to 25, thus raising the quota for election. At the 1998 election the Greens won only one seat, despite their vote only falling slightly, mainly due to the new electoral system. They recovered in the 2002 election when they won four seats. All four seats were retained in the 2006 election. After gaining 5 seats in the 2010 election, in April 2010 Nick McKim became the first Green Minister in Australia.
In the 2011 New South Wales election, the Greens claimed their first lower-house seat in the district of Balmain. In the 2014 Victorian election, they won two lower-house seats, those of Melbourne and Prahran.
The current Australian Green member parties are the following:
|Branch||Leader||Deputy Leader||Legislative Assembly||Legislative Council||Government|
|Greens New South Wales||None||
3 / 93
3 / 42
|Australian Greens Victoria||Samantha Ratnam||Ellen Sandell||
3 / 88
1 / 40
1 / 93
|Greens Western Australia||None||
0 / 59
4 / 36
|Greens South Australia||None||
0 / 47
2 / 22
|Tasmanian Greens||Cassy O'Connor||None||
2 / 25
0 / 15
|ACT Greens||Shane Rattenbury||None||
2 / 25
|Coalition government with the ACT Labor|
|Northern Territory Greens||None||
0 / 25
|No elected members|
A variety of working groups have been established by the National Council, which are directly accessible to all Greens members. Working groups perform an advisory function by developing policy, reviewing or developing the party structure, or by performing other tasks assigned by the National Council.
The Australian Young Greens are a federation of Young Greens groups from each Australian state and territory. Together they form the youth wing of the Australian Greens
A national Sexuality and Gender Identity Working Group existed from 2008–2012. It was concerned with advancing the party's position on LGBTIQ rights. The last National Conference agreed to start planning to revive the group. There are LGBTIQ working groups in some state and territory parties, including: Queer Greens Victoria, Queensland Rainbow Greens, SA Greens Queer Members Action Group, NSW Greens Sex, Sexuality and Gender Identity Working Group.
The Greens generally draw support from younger voters with higher than average educational attainment. The Greens absorbed much of the Australian Democrats' support base following its downfall as the third party in Australia and many of the social and environmental policies and issues that the Democrats advocated for have been taken up by the Greens. Much like the Democrats, the Greens have a higher proportion of supporters who are university educated, under 40, identify as professionals in their field, are small business owners, and earn above the national average wage. Notably, there has also been a steady increase in working-class support for the Greens since the creation of the party.
House of Representatives
|Election year||Leader||Votes||% of votes||Seats won||+/–||Notes|
0 / 147
0 / 148
0 / 148
0 / 150
0 / 150
|2007||Bob Brown||967,789||7.8 (#3)||
0 / 150
1 / 150
|1||Crossbench – shared BOP|
(C&S granted to Labor minority government)
|2013||Christine Milne||1,116,918||8.65 (#3)||
1 / 150
|2016||Richard Di Natale||1,385,651||10.23 (#3)||
1 / 150
1 / 151
|Election year||Leader||Votes||% of votes||Seats won||Overall seats||+/–||Notes|
0 / 40
0 / 76
0 / 40
0 / 76
0 / 40
0 / 76
0 / 40
1 / 76
2 / 40
2 / 76
|1||Crossbench – shared BOP|
2 / 40
4 / 76
|2007||Bob Brown||1,144,751||9.0 (#3)||
3 / 40
5 / 76
|1||Crossbench – shared BOP|
6 / 40
9 / 76
|4||Crossbench – sole BOP|
|2013||Christine Milne||1,159,588||8.6 (#3)||
4 / 40
10 / 76
|1||Crossbench – shared BOP|
|2016||Richard Di Natale||1,197,657||8.7 (#3)||
9 / 76
9 / 76
|1||Crossbench – shared BOP|
6 / 40
9 / 76
|Crossbench – shared BOP|
Current Federal Parliamentarians
Senator Larissa Waters (Qld), 2011–2017 (elected in 2010), 2018–present
Senator Nick McKim (Tas), 2015–present
Senator Rachel Siewert (WA), 2005–present (elected in 2004)
Senator Janet Rice (Vic), 2014–present (elected in 2013)
Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (SA), 2008–present (elected in 2007)
Senator Richard Di Natale (Vic), 2011–present (elected in 2010)
Senator Peter Whish-Wilson (Tas), 2012–present
Senator Jordon Steele-John (WA), 2017–present
Senator Mehreen Faruqi (NSW), 2018–present
- Senator Jo Vallentine, 1990–1992, Greens WA (originally elected in 1984 as Nuclear Disarmament Party)
- Senator Christabel Chamarette, 1992–1996, Greens WA
- Senator Dee Margetts, 1993–1999, Greens WA (defeated in 1998)
- Michael Organ MP for Cunningham (NSW), 2002–2004
- Senator Kerry Nettle (NSW), 2002–2008 (elected in 2001, defeated in 2007)
- Senator Bob Brown (Tasmania), 1996–2012 (elected in 1996, resigned in 2012)
- Senator Christine Milne (Tasmania), 2005-2015 (elected in 2004, resigned in 2015)
- Senator Penny Wright (SA), 2011–2015 (elected in 2010, resigned in 2015)
- Senator Robert Simms (SA), 2015–2016
- Senator Scott Ludlam (WA), 2008-2017 (elected in 2007, resigned and disqualified in 2017)
- Senator Lee Rhiannon (NSW), 2011-2018 (elected in 2010, resigned in 2018)
- Senator Andrew Bartlett (QLD), 2017–2018
Senators Vallentine, Chamarette and Margetts were all elected as Greens (WA) senators and served their terms before the Greens WA affiliated to the Australian Greens, meaning that they were not considered to be Australian Greens senators at the time.
For current and former state parliamentarians, see the List of Australian Greens parliamentarians.
Other notable members
- Andrew Bartlett, former Democrats Leader, former Greens Senator for Queensland and candidate for Brisbane
- Clive Hamilton, Greens candidate for the 2009 Higgins by-election
- Chris Harris, former Greens Councillor for the City of Sydney
- Jean Jenkins, former Democrats Senator for Western Australia
- Janet Powell, former Democrats Leader.
- Peter Singer, moral philosopher and Greens candidate for the 1994 Kooyong by-election
- Brian Walters SC, prominent Human Rights lawyer and candidate for the state seat of Melbourne at the 2010 Victorian election
- Andrew Wilkie, former Greens candidate and independent federal member for Denison (2010–19) and Clark (2019–present)
- Julian Burnside AO QC, prominent barrister, human rights and refugee advocate, and candidate for the federal seat of Kooyong in the 2019 federal election.
- Jason Ball, former Australian rules football player and mental health advocate, and candidate for Higgins
For the 2015-2016 financial year, the top ten disclosed donors to the Greens Party were: Graeme Wood (businessman) ($600,000), Duncan Turpie ($400,000), Electrical Trades Union of Australia ($320,000), Louise Crossley ($138,000), Anna Hackett ($100,000), Pater Investments ($100,000), Ruth Greble ($35,000), Minax Uriel Ptd Ltd ($35,000) and Chilla Bulbeck ($32,000).
Since 2017, the Australian Greens have implemented real-time disclosure of donations to them of over $1,000, in an effort to "clean up politics".
- Campaign Against Nuclear Energy
- List of Australian Greens parliamentarians
- Tofu Curtain
- Green New Deal
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- Susan McDonald & Chris Uhlmann (3 December 2015). "Coalition and Greens strike deal on multinational tax avoidance". ABC News.
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- Shields, Bevan (11 May 2019). "'The mood has turned': Prized seat of Higgins on a knife-edge as Liberal vote heads south". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
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- "AMA would like to see pill testing trials at festivals". Australian Medical Association. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2019.
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