From the Senator for Queensland: Larissa Waters

By Larissa Waters


Our Greens membership is the beating heart of our movement. Thank you for keeping our party strong and for keeping a keen eye on the horizon, planning and thinking how we can create a society and an economy that centres the needs of people, our environment and our climate before private profit. Your hard work, compassion and commitment gives me hope that a better future is not just possible, it’s within reach.

It’s clear that The Greens are the only party that has clearly identified some of the biggest challenges facing society today, and we’re the only party with the policies to overcome those challenges. This year between lockdowns I have done two regional tours of Queensland, visiting Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, the Sunshine and Gold Coasts. Right across this diverse (and too-often regarded as parochial) state, our message and policies to tackle inequality and make billionaires and corporations pay their fair share to fund essential services, homes for all and action on climate change has been received incredibly well.

We have a responsibility to increase our support, increase our representation and increase our power in the next government. I believe that this coming election, with this bold and transformative platform, we can make it happen!

Justice for women, accountability for perpetrators

It’s 10 years since I was elected to the Senate (14-odd months as an accidental Canadian aside), and while sexism and misogyny have always been a feature of our Parliament, over the last few years it has become even more pronounced and intolerable! This Prime Minister has no intention of holding the men in his ranks accountable for their actions, in fact, under his Prime Ministership, despite the dozens of corruption, sexual harassment and bullying scandals to plague the government benches, the only people to have suffered any consequences at all were women.

Brittany Higgins’ brave revelations in March this year blew the lid off the House and were the catalyst for several internal inquiries and the Jenkins Review (Independent Review Into the Workplaces of Parliamentarians and Their Staff),which is currently underway. Despite this alleged rape in a ministeral office, just metres from the PM’s office, these inquries had to be fought for - by female MPs and female members of the Press Gallery.

Christian Porter remains a member of the Ministry. It is almost unbelievable that a senior member of government, the Attorney General at the time the allegations were made public, can be accused of such an awful historical rape and face no internal inquiries. The PM simply accepted Porter’s assurance that he didn’t do it, while not even bothering to read his accuser's account. Porter is not fit to remain a Minister while such serious allegations are untested, and I will continue to prosecute this on behalf of all survivors and victims of family violence.

Senior members of the Greens Party Room along with staff representatives have undertaken a comprehensive review of our own Greens parliamentary process for ensuring a safe workplace for all. All Greens MPs have agreed to undertake management training as soon as possible.

In the policy space, we still see chronic underfunding for women’s frontline support and safety organisations, despite these organisations reporting up to a 60% increase in demand during state covid lockdowns. I have met with women’s safety organisations across Queensland and my office is in frequent contact with their peak bodies. Across Australia, the lack of long-term, secure funding for this sector, along with the severe lack of crisis, transitional and long-term housing in almost every region, means that women are still being forced to choose between staying in a violent home, or fleeing into homelessness. And still one woman dies at the hands of someone they know every week.

This election the Greens will once again be calling for a massive investment in housing and the womens’ safety sector to ensure that no woman is ever turned away from help, or feels trapped in a violent relationship due to lack of support.

Young women and girls have also been speaking up this year about their experiences of sexual violence at school and university. Chanel Contos has done amazing work to highlight this through her social media survey. It’s clear that we need to be teaching our kids about consent and healthy relationships in age-appropriate ways, from when they first start school to their final years.

The Greens have been championing a national rollout of Our Watch’s evidence-based and expert-led Respectful Relationships program. It’s wonderful to see young women and girls speaking up and educating their peers about what respectful and acceptable behaviour looks like.

Australian democracy: pork-barrelling, jobs for mates, deals for donorS

This past year has come with many hurdles for our movement, including finding ways to cut through with our message in the face of an ever more polarised media landscape, and a government that seems to inexplicably weather every scandal while mismanaging the pandemic from go to whoa. I’ve felt sheer relief seeing the latest political polling seeming to show that support for Morrison’s teflon-coated Prime Ministership is starting to tarnish. It’s incredible that scandals that would have shaken a government 20 years ago and led to ministerial sackings are now simply brushed aside as business-as-usual. Our work towards transparency and accountability for decision-makers is more important as ever.

This year we have seen the list of scandals, rorts and dodgy deals grow even longer! Trust in our democracy is at rock-bottom levels, but this government, impervious to integrity, continues to stack the deck in favour of its mates and corporate donors.

The long inquiry into the sport rorts saga reported in March, confirming that the direction to pour money into projects in marginal and target Coalition seats came straight from the PM’s office. A litany of other government community grants have been uncovered as a slush fund election-vehicle for the Coalition. Billions of public funds have been allocated - not on the basis of merit, or to communities most in need, but to areas that the Liberals and Nationals deem most advantageous to their electoral prospects. The Greens have tried to get an inquiry into all such grants to uncover just how deep this rot goes but, of course, One Nation have sided with the government to vote our inquiry down. 

In February this year, just like all other years, my team and I pored over the AEC donations data released for the 2019/20 financial year. Surprise surprise, big corporations have been making massive donations to the Libs and Labor. The fossil fuel industry, consulting firms, the big banks and the defence industry are all very generous, so it’s no wonder that we continue to see very favourable policy outcomes for those sectors.

September marks 1000 days since the Libs reluctantly announced they would introduce their own bill for a federal corruption watchdog, and two years since my own (much stronger) Bill passed the Senate. My Bill has been languishing on the House notice paper ever since, and there’s no sign of the government’s version. We’ll continue to push for strong legislation and highlight this government’s lack of integrity and accountability.

An update from Queensland.

In April this year the Queensland Greens learnt of the tragic passing of Thomas Coyne. Thomas was a bright spark in our party - a young, energetic member from Toowoomba. He was passionate about LGBTIQ rights, and led the Toowoomba campaign for the Yes vote in the marriage equality plebiscite. He was funny and cheeky and got involved wherever he saw he could make a difference in our party and in his community. I was proud to campaign alongside Thomas over the last several years and excited to see what he would achieve in the years to come. His tragic passing was felt particularly strongly by his friends and comrades in the Toowoomba Greens, Rainbow Greens Network, Disability Working Group and the Queensland Young Greens. Vale Thomas.

The Queensland Greens have spent this year readying ourselves for the next election, and we are more prepared than we have ever been.

We have the best opportunity we’ve ever had to elect a second Greens Senator to Queensland! In June I was thrilled to launch public school teacher, unionist and regional Queenslander Penny Allman-Payne as our lead Senate Candidate. Since then, Penny and I have done an Election Kickstart Tour of Cairns, Townsville, the Sunshine Coast and Rockhampton. Everywhere we have visited, Penny’s strong credentials and passion for public education and essential services has won over the hearts and minds of Queenslanders.

We’ll be campaigning our guts out to get Penny elected - she will make an amazing Greens Senator and I can’t wait to have her join me and the rest of the team in Parliament. To top it all off, the way the polls are falling, it looks like Penny is in prime position to topple Pauline Hanson! If just 1% of Queenslanders change their vote at the next election we can take Hanson’s seat and turn it Green!

We also have a ground-breaking opportunity to elect another Greens member to the Lower House in the inner south Brisbane seat of Griffith. Max Chandler-Mather and his Griffith campaign team are breaking all the records for field campaigning and by the end of July have already had over 5,500 conversations with Griffith voters. Our campaigns for Ryan and Brisbane have also hit the ground running, with volunteer recruitment, door knocking and fundraising well under way. Over the coming months I am looking forward to continuing to launch our lower house candidates and share our amazing and transformative plan with even more Queensladers.


Thank you to my staff and all the staff and volunteers across the country for all the work that you do for our movement! Everytime you see one of our Greens MPs kicking goals in parliament or in the media, know that there’s an incredible team of hardworking people behind them making it all possible - we couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you to my Party Room colleagues for your continued support and comeraderie over the last year. Having our parliamentary leader sitting in a different house to the rest of our Party Room has presented some new challenges to our team, but we’ve met those challenges head on and are now on the cusp of achieving new heights and a bigger Party Room than ever after the next election! I can’t wait!


‹ Greens 2021 Annual Reports