A quick introduction
The Victorian Greens is made up of many branches and is coordinated by State Council (see the detailed overview below). There is also a State Executive and various committees and working groups, also explained below. The Victorian Greens is governed by its charter, constitution and bylaws which together set out the principles and philosophy of the Greens - you can access these documents via these links:
As you get to know the party, you may come across some unfamiliar acronyms. Please refer to our list of common acronyms.
A detailed overview
The Global Greens
The Australian Greens are members of the Global Greens, the worldwide network of Green parties and political movements, spanning continents and countries from Mongolia to Brazil and from New Zealand to Finland. We are united by our Global Greens Charter, adopted at the Global Greens 2001 conference in Canberra. The Charter sets out the values we hold in common -- ecological wisdom, social justice, participatory democracy, nonviolence, sustainability and respect for diversity. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are the only global political movement, working with optimism and friendship 'to affirm our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations' (www.globalgreens.org).
The Australian Greens
The Australian Greens is a confederation of Australian State and Territory-based Greens parties. The Victorian Greens joined the confederation in 1993. This was a step towards a National Greens party and since WA joined the federation in 2004 along with NSW, QLD, TAS, VIC, ACT, SA, and NT, we now have a truly Australia-wide party (www.greens.org.au).
The Australian Greens (Victoria) State Council
The general State-wide coordination of the party is carried out by our State Council. State Council is composed of representatives who are elected by party members, and is directly responsible to the party membership. It currently consists of:
- Party Office Bearers - Convenor, Secretary, Assistant Secretary & Treasurer, elected annually by a postal ballot of all members;
- Direct Branch Representatives - elected annually by members at their local Branch AGM;
- Regional Branch Representatives - elected annually by a postal ballot by all members living in a Victorian Legislative Assembly area; and
- Representatives of Greens in public office – at each of the three levels of government.
State Council normally meets at least quarterly on a weekend, and all party members are welcome to attend as observers. It is the highest level of decision-making responsibility within the party. Details of venue, time and agenda items are publicised in the fortnightly ebulletin and the Greens Vic News. As at all levels of the party's structure, decisions are made by consensus, though if consensus cannot be reached in a reasonable time and the matter is pressing, a vote can be taken.
A sub-committee of State Council, State Executive meets more regularly to take care of administration. It is delegated the same decision-making powers as State Council, with the exception of policy formulation, and is ultimately responsible to State Council. Once again, all party members are entitled and welcome to attend as observers. Meetings of the State Executive are usually held on the fourth Thursday of each month at State office. Meeting dates are advertised in the fortnightly ebulletin.
This guide has been developed to help members understand the dispute resolution processes. It takes you through the steps to resolve differences as amicably as possible. Information on this process can be found here.
Working Groups & Committees
A number of working groups and committees have been set up by State Council to coordinate the party's work in a number of specific areas. Some are ongoing groups, while some are short-term groups, and other working groups may be set up as needed. They all make recommendations and are responsible to State Council. For more information about these groups, please contact the State office on 03 9912 2992 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consensus decision making
Decisions at all Greens party meetings are made primarily by consensus and a serious attempt at all times is made towards achieving consensus. Sufficient time is generally given for discussion of different views, including provision for non-decision making meetings. If after a reasonable period of time, disagreement persists and a decision cannot be deferred, the issue is resolved by vote - except where our state constitution requires a decision to be made by consensus only.
Party meetings are generally open to all Greens party members and invited members of the general public (except when dealing with sensitive topics like election strategy and disputes).
Branches are the real engine-room of the Greens, and the entry-point for members to all other structures. They are where new members first meet other Greens, talk politics and policy, get involved in local campaigning and fundraising, and find out about what else is going on.
Branches are based on local government areas. Every Green living within a branch boundary is by default a member of their local branch, unless they notify the Membership Officer (email@example.com) that they would prefer to be in another branch (e.g. one they were originally in, but then moved house, or one closer to their workplace than their home). Contacts for each of our branches are available on this website at the branches page.
As a new member you should be contacted by your local branch and invited to a meeting. If that doesn't happen quickly enough for you (usually branch convenors and secretaries are very busy people, and sometimes they go on holidays etc) please feel free to ring or email the state office on 03 9912 2992 or firstname.lastname@example.org and ask what branch you're in and how to contact them. Alternatively, you can look them up on the branches page.