This is my first contribution to the Australian Greens Annual Report as a National Office Bearer and so far it has been one heck of a ride.
By Rebecca Galdies
This is my first contribution to the Australian Greens Annual Report as a National Office Bearer and so far it has been one heck of a ride. Before I get into the detail though, I want to first acknowledge the hard work and support of the Deputy Secretary, Abigail Boyd. I simply would not have been able to manage getting the job done without having Abigail on the team, she has been reliable and tenacious in the face of some really difficult times. More broadly, there has been an extraordinary amount of work done by National Council since the beginning of the year as well as flow on work managed by all the committees and working groups. When I think about the volunteer hours contributed to this organisation every year, I am astounded. But it goes to prove the passion and determination of the people that join this Party.
May Conference – Alice Springs
Having the NT Greens host the May National Conference for the first time ever was certainly not without its challenges. As the member body with the smallest membership, people with the capacity to facilitate the event were thin on the ground. But those that were available went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that we had a hugely successful event in a truly breathtaking setting. Special thanks should go to Kathy Bannister, Ben Convery, Owen Gale, Marli Banks and Justin Tutty for the hard work they put in. It would also be remiss of me not to mention the hard work and dedication put in by Dalton Dupuy in the months leading up to the conference. It was Dalton's vision that saw us work with the Alice Springs Youth Centre to set up our most innovative conference space yet (and to leave the legacy of a great, permanent Wi-Fi set up for the Youth Centre).
Making the new structure work
May National Conference saw the Constitution endorsed by all member bodies. This has been a labour of love for the National Co-convenor, Alex Schlotzer and I would like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to him for helping to guide the national body through to this point. As someone that is relatively new to this party, its processes, functions and structure, I cannot imagine how any of this could work effectively without the National Council. We have had a year of huge challenges and we have come through it not only intact, but stronger than ever. We have recognised that there is a huge amount of work ahead of us and I have seen growth of character in everyone that I have been privileged to work with in this space so far. Onwards and upwards.
My first experience as a delegate at the national level was as a delegate to National Conference for the SA Greens. At that meeting I was given the opportunity to meet Dr Mehreen Faruqi (NSW MLC) with whom I embarked on the journey of setting up a working group of National Council. At that fateful meeting in 2015, a group of Greens members got together to talk about the need for a more culturally diverse membership, and representation and decided that we needed to find a group of members dedicated to making that happen. At the May conference this year, the first Australian Greens Multicultural Committee was elected and thus the real work begins! I am thrilled to have been part of the team that started this process and I look forward to continuing my support of this dedicated team.
Joint Office Bearer meeting
It is hard to believe but 2017 was the year of the inaugural Joint Office Bearers meeting, held in Melbourne. This was the brainchild of previous Co-convenors Penny Allman-Payne and Giz Watson, but was brought to fruition through the work of Co-convenor, Alex Schlotzer, National Treasurer, Nick Cooper and myself. The first meeting was held over two days and ran simultaneous streams, one for Treasurers and one for Convenors and Secretaries. Among other things, discussions were held on how to better communicate with our interstate colleagues, processes and procedures, the relationships between member bodies and with the national body, managing party wide issues and conflict resolution. Perhaps one of the most exciting things was the amount of ideas that were formed with so many great minds in a small space, and the bonds that were formed as a result of a face to face meeting – for quite a number of people, for the first time. Without a doubt, this was one of the huge wins for this year and something that we will be looking to do on an annual basis from here on in.