While it might have seemed like a ‘tough’ year for the Australian Greens in 2017; with a few notable low points, there were plenty of high points, especially to round out the year celebrating the 25th year of the Australian Greens. There was something wonderful about sharing the 25th anniversary with the passing of marriage equality and the Greens being elected into state Parliaments in Victoria, the first Indigenous woman, and, for the first time, in Queensland. From opposing the world’s largest and least needed coal mine, to campaigning for a national corruption watchdog, to the efforts to highlight the inhumane way our nation is treating people seeking our help; the Greens continue to stand up for what matters.
It’s because of the Greens being in all levels of Government across Australia that the issues long ignored by the two old parties are being raised and discussed in the media, on social media, in our workplaces and in our homes.
In 2017 we proved we can continue to grow in members, supporters, volunteers and voters resulting in winning the Northcote byelection in Victoria and Maiwar in Queensland. It also represented some firsts with Lidia Thorpe being Victoria’s first Indigenous woman to hold a seat in their Parliament; and in Queensland, Michael Berkman is the first Green elected at a general election to their Parliament.
It has been the energy and ideas of members; and our fundamental belief in our four pillars - ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy and peace and nonviolence - that has been key to continuing to grow the Australian Greens. And in 2018 and beyond it will be key to the future discussions and decisions and activity inside and outside the Parliament. Of course, there is the continuing need to better reflect the diversity in our communities and we’re working hard on finding ways for everyone to find a space and place within the Australian Greens.
Even though it would seem easy to turn our backs on politics with what’s happening around the world, as we work through 2018 it’s important that we don’t give up hope but continue getting involved and working on campaigns. It will be more important than ever to speak with friends and family about the issues that matter to you and why you support the Greens. We must continue to ensure that we raise our voices in opposition to the rise of far-right politics, to a broken system that’s failing Australians, to the business-as-usual attitude toward climate change, and to the inhumanity of our treatment of people needing our help.
There are always challenges but as a Party we can deal with them when we’re open and upfront about the challenges and remain open-minded and prepared to consider the various solutions needed. Doing politics differently is hard but necessary if we’re to stand up for what matters for members, supporters, volunteers and voters.
We look forward to boldly stepping into 2018 with you for the next 25 years.