A cracker of a year: Alex Schlotzer and Rebecca Galdies

While we still face challenges as an organisation, the Australian Greens continue to go from strength to strength.

By Alex Schlotzer and Rebecca Galdies

Well, this has been a cracker of a year.   

Since the last Annual National Conference, the Australian Greens continues to go from strength to strength. Our membership and supporters continue to grow, our election campaigns are getting more exciting and more innovative, and we continue striving to do even better.  

We still face challenges as an organisation but with grit, determination and mostly with a smile, we’re meeting those challenges head-on. 

Anti-sexual harassment policy

This year we saw the Australian Greens and our member bodies work hard to strengthen our anti-sexual harassment policies.

Resources are being put towards ensuring that staff, office bearers, MPs and, wherever possible, volunteers receive consent and anti-sexual harassment training. We’re working to ensure that members, volunteers and supporters know about our policy and how to access it, along with support for those who choose to disclose instances of sexual harassment and/or assault.

We know we haven’t always had the right policies and processes in place and that’s why so much work by so many people across the party, along with external experts, has gone into strengthening our anti-sexual harassment policies and processes. And we will continue to work to make our party safer for everyone. 

Election ready

Over the past year we have been working to make sure we’re election ready. We’ve been consulting on our policies and working with National Council, the federal Party Room and the Australian Greens Policy Coordinating Committee to develop initiatives and finalise our election platform.

Our election platform development process has involved thousands of hours of consultation by party staff and volunteers. We’re really proud of the grassroots involvement and dedication of everyone that has been part of it.  

In the Super Saturday by-elections, we had amazing candidates going out and making a positive difference. We saw them out at street stalls, going to markets, door-knocking their electorates and involving fantastic volunteers and supporters to power those campaigns. 


Unfortunately, we say goodbye to Senator Lee Rhiannon but not for the same reasons we had to say goodbye to Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters. Lee has been a tremendous representative and has played an important role in our democracy.

While it’s sad to see Lee go we’re excited to welcome aboard Mehreen Faruqi. We’re sure that Mehreen will be a tenacious representative in our Senate working alongside our great federal team.

We also say goodbye to senator Andrew Bartlett, who is resigning to campaign for the seat of Brisbane. Needless to say, Andrew’s contribution to our federal team has been fantastic in the time he has held the seat, sadly due to citizenship issues. But it’s great to welcome back Larissa Waters to the Senate. 

Wins around the country

But we also saw tremendous things happen, with Victoria electing their first Indigenous woman, Lidia Thorpe, to the state’s parliament. Her election to Parliament happened the same evening we celebrated 25 years of the Australian Greens in Hobart at last year’s Annual National Conference.

Victoria also said goodbye to Colleen Hartland, who left parliament after 12 years of hard work culminating in important legislation passing the Parliament. But Victoria said hello to Huong Truong, the state’s first Vietnamese Australian woman in the Parliament, who is quickly demonstrating why she is a great representative for the people in Melbourne’s sprawling western suburbs and the Greens. 

In Tasmania, despite the pokies lobby pouring millions into campaigning for the LNP, we saw the return of two Members of Parliament – congratulations, Cassy O’Connor and Rosalie Woodruff!

In South Australia, Tammy Franks was returned to Parliament after a very long wait for the votes to be fully tallied and preferences distributed. And in Queensland we saw the election of Michael Berkman; a massive outcome in a state with only one house of Parliament and single member electorates.  

And we want to congratulate the hundreds of Greens elected to their local councils and showing how Greens policies can create a fairer and greener country. We’ve seen many councils with Greens councillors taking up the debate about changing the date of Australia Day, working to improve local environments, working with local groups for more sustainable communities and challenging inappropriate development and suburban sprawl, among the plethora of issues considered by our local municipalities. 

Internal work

In making our party more inclusive, we have begun the work to create the spaces and mechanisms for different voices to be heard. It’s inspiring and encouraging to see members across Australia make concerted efforts to reach out to different communities to learn from each other.

Our national conferences continue to be events that inspire and encourage members and supporters to redouble their efforts to elect Greens at all levels of government across Australia. There have been fantastic workshops and panels about some of the big issues like the potential to hold the balance of power in the next federal parliament and the federal parliamentary leadership. We certainly encourage members to discuss these issues at branch or local group meetings.

Work continues implementing projects from our Operational Plan 2017-2020. There’s a range of projects being worked on which seek to achieve the goals from our Strategic Plan 2017-2020. It’s pleasing to note that there are several completed projects.

In the lead up to the second year of the Operational Plan it was necessary to review the priority of the remaining projects for Year One and the projects to be implemented in Year Two. It’s worth pointing out that there has been regular review of projects’ progress with consideration given to available financial resources and staff capacity; and where necessary possible mechanisms to put projects back on track.

National Council has done a tremendous amount of work already this year to make sure the Australian Greens is prepared for the upcoming federal election. As always, the Campaign Management Team, the federal party room team, and the Australian Greens Policy Coordinating Committee have been doing so much to support the work of National Council. There has been work put into making sure there are mechanisms for members to engage in the big debates like federal balance of power and federal parliamentary leadership. National Council has also been working through important governance issues around complaints handling.

As office bearers we have been actively engaging with our counterparts in member bodies, as well as working to create better relationships across the party through joint office bearer meetings.

There has also been more active engagement with international Green parties through the Global Issues Working Group, the International Development Committee and our representatives to the Asia Pacific Greens Federation.

This year, an historic meeting was held between the office bearers of the Australian Greens and the Executive of the Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand (GPANZ) to discuss shared issues around campaigning and to learn more about the coalition government they’ve formed to further inform our discussions with our colleagues in Tasmania and the ACT.

Other things 

Our deputy convenor Giz Watson hosted a trek in the middle of this great land, with 10 other amazing folks from around the country that hiked the Larapinta Trail whilst raising money for the Australian Greens.

This was the first time we’ve done anything like this, and it’s fair to say it was a success. As a party that doesn’t take donations from big corporate lobbyists, we have to be more innovative in our fundraising efforts, and we’re always looking for new ideas. If you have one, we’d love to hear it! 

The future 

Now more than ever, as each year gets hotter, and the ever-growing gap between the obscenely wealthy and the rest of us continues, our party is so important to the Australian political landscape. We continue to march on the streets and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters all around the world reaching for the same lofty goals as us.

We know that the best way for us to make long term, sustainable change is through political representation at all levels of government. And we’ll continue to do so – we are still here, 26 years and counting and we’ll be here for a long time yet.  

Thank yous 

Thank you to the whole office bearer group – there have been a few changes in the last 12 months, but everyone that has been involved has put in their best selves and we have worked really well together.

In particular, we would like to thank our deputy convenor Giz Watson for her support, advice and preparedness to step up, and our secretary Kristin O’Connell who does a tremendous amount of work.

We also want to give a special mention to Abigail Boyd, our secretary elected at last year’s Annual National Conference, who resigned following her preselection to the NSW Greens Upper House ticket. Abigail put in a tremendous amount of time into the role before resigning and helped ensure that May’s National Conference was an outstanding success.

The National Council is an ever dynamic group and the work being produced by this body continues to grow – it is hard to imagine how we got anything done before. It’s an honour to work with a dedicated and committed group of people working on our national project together. 

And we can’t finish our annual report without a huge thanks to our National Manager, Brett Constable, and to our staff Mark Quinn, Shirin, Dawood, Susan Griffiths-Sussems, Joana Partyka, Andrew Beaton, Eva-Victoria Bates, Michelle Sheather, Andrew Cormick-Dockery, and John Twyman. They do a tremendous amount of work on a shoestring budget and bring a world of knowledge, expertise and dedication to the Australian Greens.