Taking stock and looking forward | The Greens (WA)

Taking stock and looking forward

Richard Di Natale weighs in on a busy few months around the country that culminated in the state elections in SA and Tasmania.

By Senator Richard Di Natale
Friday, March 23, 2018

It’s been a busy few months around the country that culminated in the state elections in South Australia and Tasmania, and by-elections in Batman (Victoria) and Cottesloe (WA) in recent weeks.

Strong results around the country

Congratulations to Tammy Franks who looks set to be returned to the South Australian parliament after last weekend’s election. Tammy’s win comes off the back of a strong Greens state election campaign for a fairer and more sustainable South Australia. Congratulations and thank you to everyone who worked so hard on the South Australian campaign. Your work is hugely valued and much appreciated across the country.

I want to acknowledge the incredible efforts of everyone in Tasmania who helped get Rosalie Woodruff and Cassy O’Connor returned to parliament after they were faced with the biggest corporate funded fear campaign in Tasmania's election history. I know that many, like me, are angry about the influence of big business and vested interests in our democracy, and while we are so very sorry to be losing Andrea Dawkins from our team of State MPs I’m so heartened to see Rosalie and Cassy back in parliament to hold our governments to account. Congratulations and thank you all.

In Western Australia, Greens candidate Greg Boland shook up one of the safest Liberal seats in the state recently vacated by the outgoing premier Colin Barnett. Greg finished up with almost 20 percent of the primary vote, the highest ever Greens result in that seat.

Ups and downs in Batman

In my home state of Victoria, last Saturday's result in the Batman by-election was obviously not the result that any of us would have wanted, but I want you to know how proud I am of the campaign we ran. We always knew this would be a tough one. But our candidate Alex Bhathal and the team we had on the ground were amazing – the excitement and positivity we saw out in the community was invigorating, and everything we managed to achieve in five short weeks was nothing short of incredible.

And it is a testament to Alex and the people who have campaigned locally for so many years that our vote has continued to rise in this seat, which was once the safest Labor seat in the country.

Sadly, many of you will have noted that there are internal issues to consider as well. We have a great deal of work to do to review and investigate what happened. But the Party will do this comprehensively. A short statement regarding this from our Victorian Party Co-Convenors is available here.

And we must not lose sight of the fact that we’ve had some big wins through the Batman campaign. We’ve marched up into the north of the electorate, led the issues debate and shone a national spotlight on some old party policies that deserve serious scrutiny. Tens of thousands of people across this electorate voted to Stop Adani and move Australia beyond coal. We have exposed Labor’s continuing support of offshore detention of refugees. And we ran a very strong campaign to address inequality, that put local issues and affordable housing at the centre of the discussion on the ground.

Similarly, I am so proud of the achievements of our party right across the country recently. We had great victories in Northcote and Maiwar last year, we’ve made it impossible for a Labor Government to support the Adani mine and we've brought economic inequality and social justice to the centre of our national political debate.

Looking to the future

We continue to put people before politics, to stand with our First Peoples, to acknowledge that climate change is the greatest challenge we face, to stand up for the environment, to fight for economic justice, to treat housing as a human right, not a commodity, and to stand on our values.

Politics can be tough, with lots of ups and downs. But if we gave up when things were tough, we’d have given up a long time ago. The issues we are fighting for are too important.

We have a lot of exciting campaigns to look forward to over the coming year including the upcoming Victorian State election which could see the Greens in balance of power, the Federal election and the NSW state election next year. I can’t help but feel very positive.