A global movement: International Secretary

On top of the work the Greens do here in Australia, there is so much to do around the world.

By David Feith

The role of the International Secretary is varied and wide-ranging. As well as being on the Global Issues Group (GIG) and the International Development Committee (IDC), it includes liaising with the Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF) and the Global Greens (GG); and overseeing global issues proposals to National Council and during the policy review process. The International Secretary is also the Australian Greens contact person for Greens members and organisations worldwide. Over 2019 – 2020 Jenny Mulkearns and David Feith acted as the Australian Greens International Secretary.

Asia Pacific Greens Federation (APGF)

In December 2019 Nick Cooper was appointed APGF General Secretary. Nick had previously been National Treasurer for the Australian Greens.

In May 2020 Dominic Wy Kanak and Vivienne Glance were appointed the Australian Greens Councillors to APGF.

APGF First Nations Group

Following the Australian Greens National Conference ratification of the AG Constitutional Amendment in May 2020 to effectively place a First Nations Member (FNN) on AG National Council, the First Nations Network ’Blak Greens’ supported Dominic WY Kanak’s successful nomination as an elected APGF Councillor.

FNN has offered to assist APGF by commenting on the APGF Template for ‘Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Policy. Also, FNN has alerted APGF to the ongoing discussions with Global Greens to hold a decolonisation session at the next Global Greens Congress in conjunction with advocating for an Indigenous Global Greens Network.

Dr. Tjanara Goreng Goreng, AG FNN Interim Secretary and AG National Policy Coordinator have also offered to be an APGF supportive Green Women’s Mentor.

APGF Women’s Network

APGF has a thriving Women’s Network including the IDC-funded project,consisting of three sub-projects: mentoring program of Green women, the bi-monthly webinar project, and gender equity training.

In July 2020 Anita Nautiyal was appointed the APGF Gender Equity Training Coordinator. Anita has been involved in building the APGF Women’s Network, and is actively involved in the India Greens Party. She attended the Gender Equity training provided by Michelle Sheather (Australian IDC Coordinator) in India in November 2019.

APGF membership

In July 2020 the Greens Party of the Philippines (GPP) joined APGF as an associate member.

Green Party Aotearoa New Zealand (GPANZ)

The Green Party in New Zealand campaigned hard for the election in October 2020. There are approximately 600,000 New Zealanders living in Australia; the New Zealand Greens wanted to encourage all eligible New Zealanders in Australia to vote Green, and have requested support from the Australian Greens.

There is a volunteer team in Australia supporting the NZ Greens: Dan Cook and Shreejan Pandey, in Victoria; and Helen Ryan-Sykes in Tasmania. Prior to the 2020 election the New Zealand Green Party was in a confidence and supply arrangement with the Labour Party, enabling the Labour Party to form government, and had three Ministers outside Cabinet.

APGF F\fundraising

An MOU to agree on a collaborative and transparent approach to fundraising across both organisations has been drafted between APGF and the Australian Greens to help maintain a positive and cooperative working relationship. Additionally, an APGF Major Donor Protocol to ensure all funds raised fit within Greens values and principles was approved by APGF Council.

APGF is currently setting a full budget (includes operational and project budgets) for 2020-2024 with regular budget reviews.

APGF ran a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for general funding.

Asia Pacific Young Greens Network

This network is building representation amongst the APGF parties. They are hoping to work towards having a presence at the next Joint GGG/APGF Congresses in January 2022. The AG representative on the APYGN was Jason Fernandez to July 2020. A new representative is currently being sought.

Global Greens (GG) matters

GG Co-convenors Keli Yen and Ram Ouedraogo stepped down on 30 September 2020. Bob Hale, who has been one of the Australian APGF Councillors, and Gloria Polanco, from the Dominican Republic have been nominated GG co-convenors.

APGF/GG Joint Congress 2022 – Seoul, South Korea

The joint Global Greens fifth Congress & Asia Pacific Greens Federation fourth Congress has been postponed (because of COVID-19) to January 2022. The main event will be held in Seoul, South Korea. Online and local participation is a major aspect of this congress. The reasons for the new date are to provide more time for the global community to develop understanding, treatment and management of the coronavirus pandemic. We expect travel restrictions to be eased by this time as well.

Holding the Congress in January 2022 will also support the Congress hosts, Green Party Korea, in their campaigns for the presidential elections in March 2022 and local elections in June 2022.

This will be the first GG congress to be held in the Asia Pacific region since the inaugural GG Congress in 2001. It is proposed to hold both of these Congress events virtually as well as face-to-face, to maximise global participation.

The members of the Joint Congress Steering Committee who are generously volunteering their time to organise the details and operations for our Congress are: Bob Hale, Nick Cooper, Chulseong Lee, Fabiano Carnevale, Effie Kim, Joline Suijkerbuijk, Keli Yen, Michelle Sheather, Snigdha Tiwari, Changeta Tapiwa, and Tika Dhoj Bhandari.

The last GG Congress was held in 2017 in Liverpool, UK.

In the Mongolian elections in June 2020 the Mongolian Greens party did not do as well as they hoped, and no Green candidates were elected.

In June 2020 municipal elections in France, the Green party did well. The French Green Party – Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV) – achieved historic results during the second round of the French municipal elections. EELV won several major cities including Lyon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Besançon, Poitiers, Annecy and Tours. In addition, the party also comfortably won again in the major city it already held, Grenoble. EELV also came out as the first political force in Marseille. Greens now govern major cities across France, including Lyon, Strasbourg and Bordeaux.

The French Greens wanted to reference other places where Greens are in a mayoral position. I sent them a list of where in Australia we have a Green mayor.

GIG’s work with Party Room

The Global Issues Group (GIG) includes a representative from the Pary Room, currently Claire O’Halloran. Claire is foreign policy adviser in the leader’s office (Richard Di Natale, and since February 2020, Adam Bandt). Claire reports on Party Room activities relevant to GIG; since becoming leader, Adam Bandt has had stakeholder meetings, including with constituents about human rights abuses in Africa, particularly Ethiopia, on Hong Kong, and on Palestine, amongst other things.

Other activities as International Secretary

We were contacted by the Green Party of England and Wales COP26 Steering Group, in June, who were putting together a short statement of aims, to challenge the COP and all the national delegations. They wanted to know our top five priorities for COP 26. I contacted Adam Bandt’s office, and replied with our top five priorities.

We had a request from the Global Greens to send them photos of our political parties, movements, meetings, speeches and news articles that might be good to add to the Global Greens website. I forwarded the email, and was able to send a range of photos.

The Victorian Multicultural Working Group put me in contact with Deepak Joshi, and I met him in July. He is very concerned about human rights abuses carried out by the Modi government in India, and wants to raise this internationally. He and other Indians have formed the Humanism Project (and have a Facebook page). He would like the Australian Greens to publicly express concern re human rights abuses and discrimination against Muslims in India.

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