The Four Pillars
The Greens are a global movement founded on the same four pillars:
Environmental sustainability, is the recognised need to reduce the negative impact of human civilisation on the natural environment
Social and economic justice, is the rejection of discrimination based on distinctions between class, gender, sexuality, identity and culture
Grassroots democracy, or participatory democracy, is embraced by the Greens as the only reliable governence model of achieving social change, and
Peace and non-violence, which draws heavily on the Quakker and Ghandi movements, is the rejection of violence as a means of overcoming opponents.
The Australian Greens Victoria was formed in 1992 as a response to the formation of the Australian Greens which united pre-existing Green parties in Tasmania, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT. The first election the Greens contested in Victoria was the 1993 Federal election when the party contested the seat of La Trobe.
With Peter Singer leading the Greens Senate ticket in the 1996 federal election, we achieved 2.9% of the vote statewide, against a strong Democrats campaign led by Cheryl Kernot. Within a month of the Federal election the Greens took on both local elections and a general state election.
The Greens had high hopes for our lead Senate candidate at the 1998 Federal election. Charmaine Clarke would have been the first Aboriginal woman elected to any parliament in Australia, as well as the first out lesbian elected to Canberra. However, our vote slipped back to 2.5% in an election dominated by One Nation and tax.
In March 1999, the Victorian Greens elected our first Councillor when David Risstrom was elected to represent Melbourne. His achievements on issues such as planning, transport and greenhouse emissions demonstrated just how much even one Green can do once elected.
That same year the Greens achieved our highest average vote for any statewide election, winning almost 5% in all contested lower house seats in Victoria. With no ALP candidate in the upper house seat of Templestowe, Robyn Evans won 38% of the vote, and after preferences achieved 44%, the highest vote ever achieved by a Green anywhere in Australia.
The following Federal election in 2001 saw the Greens achieve a vote of 5.9% statewide in the House of Representatives, and 6% in the Senate. Another Green, Gurm Sekhon, was elected to local government, on Yarra City Council. This was the first time in Australia a Green had been elected to a single-member electorate. In 2002, he was joined by Greens councillors Greg Barber, Deborah Di Natale and Jenny Farrar.
The 2002 State election was something of a watershed for the Victorian Greens, with a vote of 9.73% statewide. Two Greens narrowly missed out on election to the lower house – Gemma Pinnell in Richmond and Richard Di Natale in Melbourne.
In 2003, Greg Barber became Australia's first Green Mayor.
In the 2004 Federal election, despite a vote of nearly 9% for Greens candidate David Risstrom, preferences from the ALP elected conservative Family First Senate candidate Steve Fielding on a primary vote of less then 2%. He went on to provide the Howard government with the crucial vote it needed to introduce regressive Voluntary Student Unionism legislation, legislation opposed by Greens, Democrats and the ALP.
Our First Victorian Green MPs
The outcome of the 2002 State election opened up new possibilities for the Victorian Greens. The Bracks government had implemented upper house reform, giving us our first real chance to elect Greens to the Victorian Parliament. After a long and hard-fought campaign, three Greens, Greg Barber (Northern Metropolitan), Sue Pennicuik (Southern Metropolitan) and Colleen Hartland (Western Metropolitan), were elected to the State upper house at the 2006 State election. They shared the balance of power with two Nationals and two DLP members of parliament. The DLP received a very low primary vote, but were elected on ALP preferences.
2010: An Historic Year
In 2010 the Victorian Greens had an unprecedented year of excitement and success. After almost two decades of heartbreak and unlucky Federal election results, not only did we elect a Greens candidate Richard Di Natale to the Senate, we also made history with Adam Bandt becoming the first Green to win a seat in the lower house in a general election. Adam was elected with a primary vote of 36.2%.
This incredible election result saw the Greens holding shared balance of power, supporting a minority Labor government led by Julia Gillard, Australia's first female Prime Minister. Our successful negotiations saw the implementation of a carbon tax and dentalcare for children.
In November 2010 we contested another state election and re-elected our three sitting members of Parliament with an increase in our state-wide vote.
A Lurch to the Right
The 2013 federal election saw a blow to progressive politics in Australia, with the election of Tony Abbott's Coalition government. Despite many wins in the previous minoriity government, the instability and in-fighting from the Labor party and a strong scare campaign from the right saw a national swing against the Greens. Despite this, the Greens elected our second Victorian Senator, Janet Rice, and re-elected Adam bandt to the seat of Melbourne, now with a primary vote of 42.62%.
A Break-through State Election
In the 2014 state election, the Victorian Greens made history by winning their first ever lower house seats. Ellen Sandell became the Greens MP for the state seat of Melbourne after a primary vote of 41.4% and a swing of nearly 9%, and Sam Hibbins became the first Green to win a seat of a sitting Liberal member in Prahran, after securing a narrow win in a tight three-way race between the Labor and Liberal parties.
Samantha Dunn in the Eastern Metropolitan region and Nina Springle in the South-East Metropolitan region joined Greg Barber, Sue Pennicuik and Colleen Hartland in the upper house after winning their respective seats, the first Greens members to represent those regions.
Two Elections: One Campaign
In 2015, Christine Milne announced her retirement from politics, and Richard Di Natale was elected as the federal leader of the Australian Greens. A year into this role, 2016 saw one of the biggest challenges the Victorian Greens had ever faced, with a double dissolution, early election followed immediately by the biggest local government campaign we have ever faced.
With record-breaking swings of up to 10% in some inner-city seats, the Greens narrowly missed out on wins in Batman and Melbourne Ports, and achieved some great results in Wills and Higgins, paving the way for some big wins in future elections. Adam Bandt was comfortably re-elected to his third term as the member for Melbourne with a primary vote of 43.75% and a 2PP vote of 68.48%.
Both Janet Rice and Richard Di Natale were re-elected as Senators for Victoria.
Buoyed by these results, the Victorian Greens pivoted into a highly polished and professional local government campaign which saw our state-wide representation increase from 17 to 29 councillors, including three mayors and two deputy mayors.
In Darebin, Moreland and Yarra councils, the Greens saw our representation rise to 4, and in Port Phillip from no sitting councillor to 3. The election of Peter Castaldo saw the first Green elected to Banyule, ousting a sitting Liberal in a single-member ward, and we re-elected regional and suburban councillors, including new councillors in the Western suburbs of Maribyrnong and Hobsons Bay.
The future of the Greens in Victoria is looking good, and as we prepare for coming elections in 2018 and beyond, we have never had more members and volunteers than we do now. We're looking forward to some big wins, so that we can continue standing up for a just and sustainable future, with you.