Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale has dropped the political bombshell of the week by reportedly standing down from his role as the leader of the party and announcing intentions to leave Federal Parliament altogether in the coming months.
The Victorian Senator is said to have told colleagues of his decision to vacate the party leadership earlier this morning, citing a desire to spend more time with his young family.
The decision also spills the positions of party deputy leadership, currently held by lower house MP Adam Bandt and Senator Larissa Waters.
In a long Twitter thread, Di Natale explained his decision to walk away from Federal politics, stating it was “not a decision I’ve come to lightly,” but that the time was right for his young boys to see their Dad as something other than the “grumpy politician.”
He also cited the joint Labor-Greens carbon price achieved in 2011 under the Gillard Government, championing medicinal cannabis, and, of course, the successful marriage equality push as highlights of his political career.
This morning I took the incredibly difficult decision to step down as Parliamentary Leader of the @Greens. It’s not something easily put into words because representing this incredible movement has been one of the biggest honours of my life. Farewell and thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/WAOHl7neW0— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
The bearpit of politics can take a personal toll but we are all willing volunteers in our respective roles. Our families – on the other hand – are conscripted to the cause.— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
I leave with a great sense of optimism. The Greens movement goes from strength to strength, with representatives at every level of government and a record number of volunteers and supporters.— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
I’m proud to have led a party that demanded marriage equality from the start and worked with the community to achieve it, to have been the driving force behind much-needed royal commissions into banking, finance and disability sectors,…— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
What stands out, of course, was establishing a world-leading price on carbon in partnership with the Gillard government back in 2011. This shows that we can reduce emissions and take real climate action if we work together.— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
Special thanks to all the Greens supporters out there. You give us the energy and passion to get up every day and take on Morrison, Murdoch and more. I won't forget your smiling faces at community events, rallies and voting booths every single election. Thank you for everything.— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
49-year-old Di Natale, a former GP, was first elected to the Senate back in 2010, and ascended to the party leadership in 2015 following Christine Milne‘s resignation.
The 10-member Greens party room is now set to hold a leadership spill ballot as early as tomorrow in a bid to install a new head of the party. Di Natale will not publicly endorse any candidate.
He is set to remain in Federal Parliament until the party sources a replacement for his Senate seat, which could take until the middle of the year.