Greens New South Wales

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The Greens NSW
Convenor Hall Greenland
Founded 1991 (1991)
Headquarters Suite D, Level 1/275 Broadway
Glebe NSW 2037
Ideology Green politics [1])
International affiliation
Legislative Assembly
3 / 93
Legislative Council
5 / 42
NSW Local Councillors
44 / 1,480

The Greens New South Wales is the state Greens party in New South Wales. It is a member party of the Australian Greens. The Greens NSW have three members in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly (Jamie Parker, Jenny Leong and Tamara Smith) and five members in the New South Wales Legislative Council (Jan Barham, Mehreen Faruqi, David Shoebridge, Jeremy Buckingham and John Kaye).

Kerry Nettle was elected to a seat in the Australian Senate in 2001 but lost her seat in the 2007 federal election. Lee Rhiannon, a former MLC, won a seat in the Senate in the 2010 federal election and took her seat in July 2011.


The first Greens party was registered in 1984, but the Greens NSW did not take its current form until 1991, when six local groups in New South Wales federated as a state political party. Greens candidates have run in every federal election since 1984, when a single candidate ran in the federal Division of Sydney.

New South Wales state elections[edit]

NSW Election Results
Primary Vote (LA)

The party first came close to electing a candidate in 1991, when Ian Cohen was the last candidate to be excluded in a contest against Christian Democratic Party leader Fred Nile, which was dubbed as a contest between 'heaven and earth' by the media, for the last seat in the New South Wales Legislative Council.

In 1995, Cohen was elected to the NSW Legislative Council, the first Greens parliamentary representative in NSW. In 1999 Cohen was joined by Lee Rhiannon. In 2003, Cohen was elected for a second term and joined by Sylvia Hale, a Marrickville local councillor, bringing the number of Greens in the NSW Parliament up to three. At the 2003 Election the Greens were the only minor party to win more than one seat in the Legislative Council.

On September 17, 2005, by-elections were held after the resignation of sitting members in three Sydney electorates, including the then Premier Bob Carr, member for the electorate of Maroubra. The Greens party contested all three seats with increased success, including a primary vote of 38.96% in the electorate of Marrickville (increased from the 28.47% received in the 2003 State election) - although much of the gain was the result of the Liberal Party not standing a candidate.

In 2007, the Greens increased their Legislative Assembly vote to 8.95%, up from 8.4% in 2003, and saw the re-election of Lee Rhiannon and the election of John Kaye, bringing the number of Members of the Legislative Council to four. The Greens also became the first minor party to ever win two full Legislative Council quotas. In the Legislative Assembly, the Greens polled 33% in Marrickville and 30% in the adjacent seat of Balmain. The Greens also outpolled Labor in the seats of North Shore and Vaucluse, the first time Greens have appeared in the two-party race in safe Liberal seats.

In 2010 Lee Rhiannon resigned from the Legislative Council to contest and win a Senate seat, and Sylvia Hale also resigned her seat. The resulting casual vacancies were filled by Cate Faehrmann and David Shoebridge respectively.

At the 2011 NSW state election, the Greens further increased their Legislative Assembly vote to 10.28%, and the Legislative Council vote to 11.11% (2.44 quotas). This resulted in the election of Jamie Parker as the first Greens member of the Legislative Assembly representing Balmain and the re-election of David Shoebridge and the election of Jan Barham and Jeremy Buckingham to the Legislative Council. A two-candidate preferred swing of 6.58% to the Greens in Marrickville took Fiona Byrne to 676 votes from winning that seat. The Greens finished in the top two candidates in fifteen Assembly districts, including Ballina, Lismore and eight new safe Liberal seats in northern Sydney. Ian Cohen did not contest pre-selection and retired from the parliament at the election.

In 2013 Cate Faehrmann resigned from the Legislative Council to contest a Senate seat. The resulting casual vacancy was filled by Mehreen Faruqi of the South Sydney Greens.

At the 2015 State election current sitting members Jamie Parker, John Kaye and Mehreen Faruqi were re-elected. Two new members were elected to the Legislative Assembly: Jenny Leong in the new seat of Newtown and Tamara Smith in the previously safe National seat of Ballina. The Greens primary vote in Newtown of 45.6% is the party's highest ever primary vote in a lower house state or federal seat.

Federal elections[edit]

Federal Election Results
NSW Primary Vote (HoR)

The Greens elected their first ever New South Wales Senator, Kerry Nettle, at the 2001 election, only the second Australian Greens senator elected ever, joining Senator Bob Brown of Tasmania, who was elected to a second term at that election.

In 2002, Michael Organ was elected to the House of Representatives for the Wollongong seat of Cunningham at a by-election. Organ was the first Greens member to be elected to a single-member electorate in Australia.

At the 2004 Federal Election, the Greens ran John Kaye as their lead Senate candidate, since Nettle's term did not expire until the 2007 election. The Greens also targeted a number of House of Representatives electorates, particularly Sydney, Grayndler, and Organ's seat of Cunningham. While Organ was defeated and the Australian Labor Party retained both Sydney and Grayndler, the Greens polled over 20% in all three of these seats, the only times that the Greens have achieved that in a general election.

In 2004, the Greens increased their Senate vote to 7.3%, but due to less favourable preference flows, Kaye was not elected to join Nettle and Brown.

In the 2007 Federal election, Senator Kerry Nettle obtained 8.6% of the NSW Senate vote, but failed to hold her seat, making her the only Greens casualty of the night. Two other Greens, Sarah Hanson-Young in South Australia and Scott Ludlam in Western Australia, joined Senator Bob Brown to lift the Greens numbers in the Senate from 4 to 5, despite Nettle's loss in NSW.

In 2010 the Greens obtained 10.69% of the NSW Senate vote (the lowest Green senate vote of any state or territory) and obtained the final spot in the half-senate election. Lee Rhiannon took up her post in the Australian Senate on 1 July 2011.

In 2013 the Greens obtained 7.79% of the NSW first preference vote for the Senate and 7.95% of the NSW first preference vote for the House of Representatives. There were no NSW Greens candidates for the federal election successful.

Constitutional Convention[edit]

In 1997 The Greens NSW formed part of a joint ticket called Greens, Bill of Rights, Indigenous Peoples for the 1998 Constitutional Convention held in Canberra in February 1998. Catherine Moore of the Braidwood Greens local group, who had been active in a number of progressive parties meetings (with the Republican Party, the Australian Women's Party, the Progressive Labour Party, the Bill of Rights Group, the Indigenous Peoples' Party) led the ticket and was the last to be elected for NSW. She joined Christine Milne from Tasmania, who was an appointed delegate, and their contributions focused on ensuring that the overall process was more inclusive.[2]

Local Government[edit]

The party endorses candidates to stand for election in many of the 152 local government areas across the state, including in rural and regional areas where the major parties usually do not run candidates on party tickets. By 2004 the Greens had 58 elected representatives in local government.

At the local government elections held on September 13, 2008 a total of 76 endorsed Greens representatives were returned in 42 local government areas or just over 5% compared to around 3.75% previously.[3] Greens councillors were elected to serve on the following councils for the first time: Armidale Dumaresq, Ballina, Burwood, Canterbury, Hurstville, Lake Macquarie (2 elected), Lane Cove (2), North Sydney, Tweed, Wagga Wagga, Warringah(2) and Willoughby.

In Leichhardt Greens came close to doubling the vote of the ALP in their traditional heartland and won control the Council in their own right with 6 councillors (1999 -1 seat and 2006 - 4 seats). Jamie Parker, a councillor since 1999, was elected as Mayor. In Byron Shire, Jan Barham was elected as mayor with 50% of the vote in a popular mayoral election, and serves on council with another 3 Greens councillors.

Greens representation was increased in Blue Mountains, Cessnock, Coffs Harbour, Gosford, Bellingen, Hornsby, Orange and Woollahra.


The Greens NSW retain the same basic structure which was created in 1991, with the formation of the state-wide party.

The party is made up of 'local groups', who cover a specific geographical area. Local groups have complete responsibility for elections held in their area, particularly elections for the House of Representatives, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly or Local Government. There are currently 56 affiliated local groups in NSW.[4]

Each affiliated local group makes decisions affecting the Greens NSW through the State Delegates Council (SDC), a meeting that consists of a delegate from each local group. The SDC is the highest decision-making body, and controls election campaigns for state-wide candidatures (such as the Senate and Legislative Council). It also decides on admitting new local groups as members of the Greens NSW.

Decision-making at the SDC, in local groups and in other bodies of the Greens NSW is conducted according to the principles of Consensus decision-making.


  1. ^ Boyle, LINKS. "Australia: Left-Green unity is an objective necessity". Socialist Alliance. Retrieved 22 March 2014. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ [3]

External links[edit]