The Greens party is too important to abandon it to social media mobs

I have been a member of the Australian Greens since 2010, but the recent, ugly episode that saw me ousted as Victorian convenor raises real concerns about the future for a party that claims to champion democracy.

The Greens fight for things I believe in: social justice, economic redistribution, peace, and trying to save our planet from environmental catastrophe. As a feminist, anti-racist, education activist, trade unionist and environmentalist, of course, I became active in the Greens, just as I have been active all my life in many community and campaign groups.

I was decried as “transphobic” because, in 2019, I co-authored an internal discussion paper in response to a proposal published by other Greens members titled “Trans Exclusionary Rhetoric”, which sought to ban debate around issues of sex and gender.

I asked whether there were potential complexities about the rights of non-trans women – in sport, in intimate medical procedures, in domestic violence shelters, in hospital wards and prisons – and if so, how should the party address them? A political party that aspires to legislate must be mature enough to deal with such complexities.

As the social media storm blew up around me, to my shock and dismay, instead of calming matters down by reassuring trans members about the Greens’ well-established support and advocacy for LGBTIQA+ rights, the party’s parliamentarians decided to pour petrol on the fire. Led by Senator Janet Rice, MPs and local councillors including Tim Read, Sam Hibbins and Lidia Thorpe used social media to declare that my tenure as convenor was untenable.

The attacks were personal and distressing, but there are much more important things at stake here than my feelings. Those attacks challenge whether members have the right to discuss complex and sensitive issues inside the party. And the overturning of my election is a disturbing move by a party that upholds grassroots democracy as a core principle.

After four days of escalating attacks, Victorian Greens leader Samantha Ratnam used an administrative process to have the election overturned. The party’s internal tribunal set the election aside and ordered a fresh election. This decision was wrong, but I accepted it.

It seemed clear to me that this wasn’t about process; it was about politics. Ratnam said I should not run again.

This is an existential moment for the Greens. Will the members continue to run the party? Or, like the Labor Party, will we cede that to our elected representatives, with the members just along for the ride?

The Greens party is too important to abandon it to social media mobs.

Source: The Greens party is too important to abandon it to social media mobs

2 thoughts on “The Greens party is too important to abandon it to social media mobs”

  1. Dear Anna First I declare my age(which is relevant) and my religion and my politics! I am 95years and 6months, an Atheist and in heart a Socialist but physically, a life member of the Australian Labor Party! Because I am 95 it does NOT mean I know a lot, am wise(as I am often escribed because of my age)and an adjective constantly directed at me ‘AMAZING’ (not because I am amazing but because of that magic number nine! Oh to be fair, because I am upright and communicate!
    I believe everything to be ‘political’! As far as Party political you will need a revolution to change that because that is the basis of our government! As for the Greens , a ‘political party’ I have admired and watched since the wonderful Bob Brown, like any Party it is NOT perfect; many people over the years inside and out side the Party say ,’it will cut down a forest to protect one tree’! If true that makes it very difficult to deal with as the past has shown. Over the years, I also watched this on the far North Coast NSW. They could not even find agreement with people of like minds! So Anna, I say to you ‘Good luck’ with the issue of ‘trans’? To a person like me who despises discrimination sympathise with ‘trans’ but I do take issue with apparent issue of language e.g. breasts, and the placing of trans with women in cells or confined places where the strength of one can over come the ‘other’ I t seem ‘trans’ want to delete ‘women’????If not women the term ‘women’! You probably have answers to all of this but I wonder if I think this way you and ‘trans’ have a long , hard road to travel! As far as the Greens expelling you ? I doubt that would have occurred in the days of Dr Bob Brown?

  2. Party politics was captured a long time ago – long before the Greens were even formed. Anybody who is a life member of any party is a life member of a delusion of what once was (including Marian Hosking). As an Environmental Biologist in the 1980s, I saw the major parties not liking losing votes to social justice and non-economic issues. I had watched in horror as Bob Hawke dismantled social justice policies – but I got lynched by dyed in the wool Labor supporters who refused to see him for what he was doing. I became a member of the Democrats, which were formed after Don Chipp objected to Libs insisting upon members voting strictly on party lines and not according to the wishes of the electorate (i.e, anti-democracy). Both Lib & Lab colluded to destroy that new ‘opposition’. Cheryl Kernot was a Labor stooge who changed party rules to vote in a block (which made the Dems little different to the majors), while Tony Abbott had right wing religious adherents slip under the radar of the Democrats vetting system. When his sleepers were in place, they imploded the party (by demanding same sex rights be removed as party policy). The only reason the Greens didn’t suffer the same fate was because Lib/Lab knew people were dissatisfied – so had to be given at least an appearance of an alternative (that would then feed back those disenchanted votes). The Greens are hopelessly captured, and are only Green on the outside. Any purported environmental party which refuses to accept two fundamentally ecologically imperative words (carrying capacity) is only Green in name. On seeing the Greens captured, independent thinkers then started voting independent – so what recently happened? A millionaire (Holmes-A-Court) funded the ‘Teal Independents’ (not) who are screaming ‘climate crisis’. The only crisis we face is people refusing to see what is going on. Those bastards ARE manipulating the climate – and they don’t care who they kill in the process (the more the merrier), so long as they make millions in the process and get away with it by fear mongering gullible fools into perpetual distraction.

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