For the better part of the year, the new National Council has been diligently working on the things that matter to keeping our party going.
By Alex Schlotzer
A massive year of transition
It has been a year since National Conference agreed to an historic restructure of the Party with changes to the Constitution. And for the better part of the year, the new National Council has been diligently working on the things that matter to keeping our Party going. It isn't all the glamorous stuff that some people might think it is with many difficult decisions to be made, not just about campaigning, but also for the administration of the Party. And there remains the work on the Party's strategic and electoral planning.
Of course the transition has not been easy. But it has been smooth.
As the new structure becomes more bedded down, and we are able to more effectively consult with and report back to members, we will see a much improved decision making body. And because of the tremendous good will of everyone involved and their Member Bodies the transition has been smooth so-far.
The new National Council continues to develop and expand its relationship with our federal Members of Parliament. And we provide them with more opportunities to check in with the Party with more frequent meetings of the new National Council. The relationship also continues to become stronger as we work through the transition.
There is now a schedule of meetings outlined through to the end of 2017 to give the new National Council greater certainty on when and where meetings are being held. This also enables Member Bodies (States and the Party Room) to establish/refine their processes for member consultation and input.
From 2016, the Party will begin to hold two Conferences, as required under the new constitution, each year giving members more opportunities to engage in national matters and issues affecting the Australian Greens.
It is exciting to see the transition to-date and I want to thank everyone involved for making it happen. There has been an amazing amount of work done so far. But the real test of the new organisational structure will be how well it responds to the challenges and opportunities of the upcoming federal election.
Despite the obvious challenges, I'm confident that we can continue the transition without it becoming an overall distraction ahead of an important election for the Australian Greens.
A collective agreement for Australian Greens national staff
It is fantastic to have been part of the group that ensures the Australian Greens national staff continue to be protected by a collective agreement.
The new collective agreement is in many respects a better agreement from the last one in that it attempts to improve remuneration to be closer in line with the public service, while also giving some additional scope for career development. Most significantly though the agreement includes new provisions to give national staff domestic violence leave. It also goes to demonstrating the Greens are walking the talk when it comes to our employment and workplace relations policy.
Outgoing Australian Greens coordinating group
The initial heavy lifting on the transition and the finalising of the Collective Agreement are in most part thanks to the members of the Australian Greens Coordinating Group. I'd like to thank those members who supported the transition and work around it – specifically Melissa Brooks (NSW), Andrew Bartlett (QLD) and Simon Burnett (TAS).
A final few comments
I'd also like to thank the Deputy National Secretary, Nathan Daniell, for his support especially in the lead up to National Conference and the current Office Bearer Group for their work and support.
I also want to thank and acknowledge Giz Watson and Penny Allman-Payne, the outgoing National Co-convenors, for fostering an open and robust approach to the transition and their leadership as we've commenced the transition to the new structure. And I have to offer my thanks to Brett Constable, the National Manager, and our amazing staff who offer a wealth of talent, expertise and experience; and deliver great things with few resources.
And finally, I want to thank the members and supporters who make fulfilling the role of National Secretary so worthwhile. It is amazing to see the energy, talent, passion and dedication of members and supporters around the country. It makes me proud to be part of the Australian Greens.