Feeling exalted at the election outcome and, with a reshuffling of portfolios, looking forward to getting down to business in a new-look parliament
By Senator Jordon Steele-John
It’s only been a couple of months since my last update but my goodness – it almost feels like we’re living in a different world!
The bloated corpse of the Morrison government is now rotting on the scrapheap of history. We’ve got a new Labor government leading our most diverse parliament ever. The old (and terrible) CEO of the NDIS has resigned. Best of all, a massive Green wave has swept over the country. Things could not be more different – or hopeful.
Phew – what an election campaign! May 21 was a huge day travelling around polling booths and speaking to voters, followed by pure exaltation at the election night party when we realised the Morrison government had been defeated (!) and that the Greens had picked up a number of new MPs around the country (!). I’m still on such a high a month later.
I’m so deeply proud of the campaign we rolled out, not just here in WA but around the country. So many people worked so hard for so many years to make this happen. And my goodness did they make it happen! The Greens experienced significant swings toward us around the country – so significant that it’s been dubbed a ‘Greenslide’. I’ve never been prouder to be a Green.
I want to congratulate my colleague Dorinda Cox for her amazing win, with the highest number of votes for the Greens in WA in the Senate ever. It’s a huge achievement and I’m looking forward to seeing what she does over the upcoming six years of her term.
Sincere congratulations and thanks to all our other wonderful candidates – they all put in such an impressive effort. I have no doubt that over the coming few federal election cycles it will be WA’s turn for a lower house Greenslide, particularly in Perth where the team rolled out a truly extraordinary campaign. We grew our vote by 4% in the Senate and 3.7% in the House – a truly astonishing result!
So many people I’ve spoken to in the weeks following the election have expressed to me that they hadn’t realised just how hopeless they’d felt until the Morrison government was officially shown the door on May 21. That’s a sentiment I certainly share, and it’s one that will influence my work in the Senate directly. I’ve never worked in this role under any government but the Coalition, and I’m so excited about what we can achieve over the next three years now that they’re in opposition. Watch this space!
I’d also like to offer my eternal and heartfelt thanks to you, the people behind the scenes of this incredible movement of ours. There is no way we could have achieved these incredible wins without our volunteers. Whether you knocked on doors, showed up to events, donated to campaigns, made phone calls to voters, handed out how-to-votes at a polling booth or anything in between: this win belongs to you. Thank you for all that you do.
National Conference in Melbourne
After years of meeting remotely via Zoom, earlier this month we finally gathered in Melbourne for our first in-person national conference in almost three years!
It was such a wonderful and energising weekend of conversations and catch-ups with Greens folks from around the country – particularly in the wake of such an amazing result for us at the election. The atmosphere was electric all weekend, and I’ve certainly come away feeling refreshed and inspired.
I was also really blessed to have my entire team there with me, and even to present a session alongside my wonderful digital campaigner Rhiannon. Our disability pride workshop was one of my highlights of the conference; seeing members of the disability community really connect with the concept of disability pride and be so engaged in the discussion is a real privilege. It never gets old.
I was also really grateful to chair a panel about peace alongside the legendary Giz Watson, the formidable Greens NSW MP Jenny Leong, and my friend and extraordinary historian Dr Emma Shortis. We had some really lively discussion about how Australia must reconsider our relationship with the US; about the urgent need for nuclear disarmament; about how banging the drums of war with China is deeply racist and endangers our Chinese-Australian community. I’m in awe of these women and I can’t wait to build on these conversations.
Portfolio reshuffle and updated leadership team
As we do after every election, party room gathered to discuss and redistribute portfolios and leadership positions. I’m really excited about where we’ve landed with both.
I’m thrilled that the remarkable Mehreen Faruqi has been elected deputy leader of the parliamentary Greens – I know she’s going to do an incredible job. I’m equally delighted that Larissa Waters remains leader in the Senate, Lidia Thorpe becomes the deputy leader in the Senate, and Sarah Hanson-Young becomes the manager of Greens business in the Senate. Nick McKim and Janet Rice are Senate whip and party room chair respectively, and of course Adam Bandt remains parliamentary leader. What a team!
With regard to portfolios, I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear that I’ve retained the Disability Rights and Services Portfolio – but I’m also really excited that I’ve also retained Health, allowing me and my team to expand on the work we do in the disability space by tackling the mental health crisis and other adjacent health issues.
I’ve also retained the Peace and Nuclear Disarmament portfolio with the very exciting new addition of Foreign Affairs! Being the spokesperson for Foreign Affairs means my team and I can expand on our work in the peace space and grow our community of passionate people working towards peace in our time.
Stephen Bates and David Shoebridge – who are both fabulous new additions to our Greens parliamentary team – are the new spokespeople for Youth and Drug Law Reform respectively. Both Stephen and David are incredible humans who are extremely well placed to lead in these spaces and I’m so excited to see the work they do.
Most of all I’m just so elated to continue the work my team and I have been doing. It’s the greatest privilege to serve our community and the most amazing experience to work alongside you all to keep achieving incredible things. I can’t wait for what’s coming next!
Header photo: Jordon with Disabled Greens members from across Australia at the Australian Greens National Conference.