Culture

Richard Di Natale Is The New Leader Of The Greens; Larissa Waters And Scott Ludlam Are The New Deputies

Well there you go.

Senator Christine Milne unexpectedly announced her resignation as leader of the Greens this morning, saying she will not recontest the 2016 election. The news came as a surprise to seemingly everyone, including former leader Bob Brown, who told ABC local radio that it came as “a big surprise to him,” while Defence Minister and sad French bulldog Kevin Andrews responded to Milne’s resignation with all the grace and dignity you’d expect.

The big question the announcement raised was who the Parliamentary Greens would pick as their new leader. Inexplicably, they chose not to go down the path of drawn-out masochism that the Labor Party uses to pick (and unpick, and repick) its leaders, or the tried-and-true Liberal Party method of slaughtering a white bull in the centre of a pentagram and invoking the spirit of Gh’ul, Devourer of Suns, to decide for them. A party-room meeting was called for 11:30, barely 45 minutes after Milne’s resignation, and each Green politician solemnly encased themselves in tree sap to commune as one and pick a new leader.

Victorian Senator Richard di Natale was the only one to publicly throw his hat in the ring before the ballot, announcing his intention to stand for leader on Twitter shortly after news of Milne’s resignation broke. A short time after, Sky News tweeted that three people were running: di Natale, deputy leader Adam Bandt and Western Australian Senator Scott Ludlam.

NSW Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon publicly argued this morning that the Greens membership should have a say in choosing the leader, especially given the party’s oft-stated commitment to political transparency and grassroots democracy. Unlike most leadership changes in Australian political parties, almost none of the details of the Greens handover leaked to the press beforehand, leading to a lot of suited correspondents on Sky News and ABC 24 solemnly trying to provide something of value from a shot of a dank corridor in Parliament somewhere.

corridor

THE SUSPENSE.

After about an hour of no news, Senator Rachel Siewert announced that di Natale had been elected as Greens leader unopposed, with Ludlam and Queensland Senator Larissa Waters elected as co-deputy leaders. Surprisingly, former deputy leader Adam Bandt was not re-elected in his position. Nor did prominent South Australian Senator Sarah Hanson-Young gain a leadership position.

A doctor, di Natale has been a Greens Senator for Victoria since 2010, and is best known as the party’s spokesperson on health. Last year di Natale travelled to west Africa to help fight the Ebola epidemic.