It has been another a busy year for the Australian Greens, and the role of National Secretary continues to evolve.
By Maiy Azize
It has been another a busy year for the Australian Greens, and the role of National Secretary continues to evolve. This year, the National Campaign Committee was expanded to include the National Secretary among its members, and the review of the Australian Greens constitution is likely to make the position even more dynamic.
Work on the review of our constitution has continued throughout the year, with a Special National Council in Sydney further refining the review. The Constitutional Review Panel has sifted through dozens of submissions and proposals, and at the time of writing, is working to a timeline to finalise the review. The work of Christine Cunningham, Giz Watson, and members of the Constitutional Review Panel throughout this process has been extraordinary.
A major highlight of my term as National Secretary has been the ratification of a new Register of Interests for the Party. Recent events have highlighted that political party office bearers can have considerable influence in our political system, with revelations surrounding Michael Williamson and other Labor and Coalition office bearers showing that conflicts of interest can undermine public confidence and potentially lead to corrupt behaviour.
From next year onwards, the Australian Greens will be setting a standard for all political parties to ensure greater transparency by requiring its office bearers to submit a Declaration of Interests covering sources of income, gifts, and commercial interests. These will be tabled for National Council and National Conference, and made available to members of the public. Declarations will be accompanied by a list of recommended actions.
The success of AGCG’s work relies on the engagement of all members. This year, all members of AGCG were allocated portfolios to oversee key areas of party business. This was in addition to their ordinary work. In 2013-14, the portfolio allocations were:
- Christine Cunningham, National Co-Convenor, responsible for constitutional issues
- Penny Allman-Payne, National Co-Convenor, responsible for international development issues (with Stewart Jackson) and member of the National Campaign Committee
- Ben Spies-Butcher, National Deputy Convenor (up to June 2014), General Member (up to July 2014), member of the National Campaign Committee
- Giz Watson , National Deputy Convenor (from July 2014), responsible for archiving, history and research
- Maiy Azize, National Secretary, responsible for policy, member of the National Campaign Committee
- Alex Schlotzer, National Deputy Secretary, responsible for administration of AGCG and oversight of the Young Greens (with Melissa Brooks)
- Diane Evers, National Treasurer, responsible for donations and fundraising
- Dave Nelson, National Deputy Treasurer, responsible for online systems
- Melissa Brooks, General Member, oversight of the Young Greens (with Alex Schlotzer)
- Andrew Bartlett, General Member, oversight of the Global Issues Group
- Stewart Jackson, General Member (from July 2014), oversight of international development issues (with Penny Allman-Payne)
- Erin Farley, Party Room Representative (up to June 2014)
- Andrew Blake, Party Room Representative (from June 2014)
All members of AGCG deserve to be thanked for their efforts. In particular, my thanks go to National Deputy Secretary Alex Schlotzer for all of his work throughout the year.
On a personal note, I have now served two terms on AGCG, two terms as the party’s National Policy Coordinator, and overseen one major policy review. Each of these roles has been a pleasure. I am now looking forward to stepping back from my responsibilities with the Australian Greens and focusing on the upcoming NSW election, particularly my role in Jenny Leong’s campaign for the seat of Newtown.
I wish the new National Secretary and office bearers the best of luck for 2015.