Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has been ousted from the national Australian Greens party room until she helps to reform the NSW Greens.
Earlier today, the Greens held a four-hour disciplinary meeting, concluding that Rhiannon, the only Greens Senator in NSW, would be “excluded from party room discussions and decisions on contentious government legislation” including those relating to her portfolios of animal welfare, housing, industry, democracy, gun control and local government.
She will be suspended until the NSW Greens “end the practice of NSW MPs being bound to vote against the decision of the Australian Greens party room“.
The vote to reform the NSW party was unanimous, aside from Rhiannon. Melbourne MP Adam Bandt voted with Rhiannon against her suspension.
Last year, Greens founder Bob Brown called on Rhiannon to resign in order to spark “renewal” in the NSW arm of the party, describing her as a member of the “old guard” who impeded the Greens electoral chances in Sydney.
Rhiannon is currently in the shit with the party for campaigning against the Liberal party’s Gonski 2.0 schools funding package by distributing a leaflet that said the gov’s plan would take money away from schools. At the time, Greens leader Richard Di Natale was trying to negotiate a deal with the Libs to get the bill passed.
The bill, which was opposed by Labor, ultimately passed thanks to support from the crossbench, the Greens failing to strike a deal.
All of her fellow Greens MPs, literally everyone from Bandt to Di Natale, sent a formal letter of complaint to the party’s national council on Friday:
“We were astounded that Senator Rhiannon was engaged with [the leaflet]’s production and distribution without informing party room at a time when we were under enormous pressure from all sides as we considered our position on the [schools] bill.
“This leaflet was in circulation when the leader and the portfolio holder, authorised by party room, were in discussions with the government securing billions of dollars of additional funding for underfunded public schools. Clearly, this leaflet had the potential to damage those negotiations.”
Rhiannon’s actions meanwhile have “highlighted a structural issue that needs to be addressed” in the NSW Greens, according to Tasmanian Senator and acting Greens whip Nick McKim.
All o’ this certainly doesn’t help accusations of in-fighting among the Greens.
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.
Photo: Pacific Press / Getty.