Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan)— It is 25 years this week since the Victorian Greens were formed at a meeting of 20-something people at Edinburgh Gardens in 1992. That same year the Australian Greens were formed, made up of representatives from Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT.
I worked on the Greens' 1996 federal election campaign, leafleting in the electorate of Goldstein, where I still live. I joined the Greens later that year, so I am celebrating my 21st birthday as a member of the Greens. I joined because of the Greens' core values of ecological sustainability, social justice, grassroots democracy and peace and non-violence, and because of the wonderful, committed people I had met who were determined to build the Greens here in Victoria.
This was part of an Australian and worldwide Greens movement to see those values and Greens policies implemented. No other party then or now has fully recognised the ecological crisis we are in, with climate change and loss of biodiversity, or the social justice crisis, with growing inequality and disadvantage. The old parties to this day push on with their destructive neoliberal philosophy and with policies that are destroying communities and the planet.
In our 25th year the Victorian Greens have two senators, the member for Melbourne in the House of Representatives, eight members of the Victorian Parliament — three elected in 2006 and another four elected in 2014, including the lower house seats of Melbourne and Prahran, and then most recently we have seen the election of Lidia Thorpe in Northcote; Lidia is the first Aboriginal woman elected to the state Parliament.
We also have local councillors across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, some of whom have been re-elected once or twice, some of whom have been elected mayor or deputy mayor. All our Greens councillors have made positive changes in their communities. I am proud that I joined the Greens 21 years ago, and I am proud of the achievements of the Victorian Greens in just 25 years.