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Greens choose Canberra to launch national campaign

Genevieve Jacobs 2 May 2019 30

Senator Richard Di Natale spoke at the National Press Club this week. Photo: Supplied.

The Greens are so bullish about their chances in the ACT for this election that they’ve chosen the nation’s capital for their campaign launch. But despite leader Richard Di Natale saying that the party was the fastest growing political organisation in the country, it appears the Greens are still struggling for traction beyond their base, while their offer to co-operate with Labor on climate policy was rejected before it had formally been made on launch day.

Appearing at the National Press Club ahead of the Party’s campaign launch, Senator Di Natale labelled 2019 “the environment election” in a speech received with enthusiasm by a large cohort of younger Greens members and supporters.

“Politics should be about ideas that shape the future for all of us,” he said. “The Greens recognise that everything is connected and that our environmental and economic challenges are tightly interwoven.”

He described the Greens as “the only party with an evidence-based, independently costed positive plan to address those twin challenges,” invoking the old Democrats catch-cry that the electorate wanted a party that would “keep the bastards honest”.

He claimed credit in Federal Parliament’s last term for same-sex marriage; the Royal Commission into the banking and finance sector, the longstanding call for an anti-corruption watchdog, and the forthcoming Royal Commission into disability sector.

“We held a rotten government to account, we have blocked cuts to health and education and stopped massive big business tax cuts in the name of trickle-down economics,” Senator Di Natale said.

But the Greens leader found it harder to articulate why the Party hadn’t made further gains beyond their urban and coastal strongholds despite significant regional environmental concerns, and why their vote remains well short of the 20 per cent goal set by Senator Di Natale when he took over the leadership.

“It’s a long term project,” he said. “We’ve been around for a few decades and we’re growing our support base and we are united. People in the regions say they are sick and tired of the Nationals who don’t represent them, they exchange preferences with One Nation….the way to approach One Nation is to stand up against them, but the Nats are turning into One Nation.

“The mood on the ground is terrific, people are mobilising like I’ve never seen before. They are positive about the future for the Greens,” he said.

Senator Di Natale suggested Canberra candidate Penny Kyburz was a likely winner in the ACT Senate race and the Greens are believed to be quietly optimistic about prospects for Tim Hollo in the inner north seat of Canberra.

Those expectations will be tempered by the reality that Greens Senate candidates in the ACT must always harvest votes from the left – a less likely prospect now that the well-supported Katy Gallagher is making a return to the Upper House.

And while the Senator suggested that the Greens would co-operate with a Shorten Labor government and were prepared for potentially difficult concessions, the ALP leader had earlier in the day specifically rejected their offer of teamwork on climate change.

Accusing the Greens of “trailing their coat and saying, ‘Look at me’, Mr Shorten said, “the fact of the matter is that if we get elected we’ll be making decisions in a Labor cabinet and the decisions will be made by members of parliament of the Labor Party.” Labor is, in fact, likely to need Greens support to pass climate change legislation in the Senate.

Meanwhile, it was all energy and optimism in Canberra, where Senator Di Natale described Labor as “a huge disappointment” on the Adani coal project, and affirmed his belief that this is a perilous time, requiring the Greens brand of leadership.

“We are at a critical point where the breakdown of our climate and the life it supports….more than ever it’s time for big bold, evidence-based ideas that meet the challenges for the 21st century and for a genuine political alternative that cares for people and fights for the environment,” he said.


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30 Responses to Greens choose Canberra to launch national campaign
Capital Retro 3:07 pm 03 May 19

…..”Di Natale is very intelligent”…..

So is Tony Abbott (a Rhodes Scholar no less) but the application of his knowledge doesn’t appeal to the soy-latte sippers.

Monica Tiffen Monica Tiffen 9:36 am 03 May 19

No! Over the top!

    Monica Tiffen Monica Tiffen 8:41 pm 03 May 19

    Russell Nankervis Just an opinion, but I find their views on most things rather odd! Example, Cats are not allowed outdoors in Act, and must now be registered!!

Vindalu 7:35 am 03 May 19

Richard’s speech was a thoroughly creditable performance. The Greens are obviously the way of the future as in other developed and socially responsible countries. As the party gains more membership and support many of the fringe ideas and policies will be moderated as has happened in Europe. Instead of criticising the political process voters would best serve their country by joining a political party and becoming a part of the political process. The Greens party structure isn’t perfect but it gives the average punter a chance to influence decisions.

    Capital Retro 3:09 pm 03 May 19

    Name me two “other developed and socially responsible countries”.

Dan Stewart-Moore Dan Stewart-Moore 6:04 am 03 May 19

I listened to Richard Di Natale's speech with interest. I thought he spoke with passion and clarity - possibly even integrity. Bullish? Maybe just belief in his own words? As he rolled through questions after his speech I didn't see any awkward moments or overconfident 'bubble' replies. Just intelligent, practical answers that sprung all too many 'gotcha' questions from right wing media outlets. He has my vote.

Joanna K Heathen Joanna K Heathen 11:39 pm 02 May 19

They have bicycle paths and marriage equality and light rail. How about focusing on the environment in the 'bush capital'? Stop turning nature reserves into killing fields and 'protecting precious grasslands' and vulnerable insects and lizards by putting ugly housing estates on top of them?

George Brenan George Brenan 8:36 pm 02 May 19

It struck me listening to him how much the platform resembles the approach of Labour in the 70s. I was struggling between being nostalgic and cynical Vs refreshed by the optimism

Gabriel Spacca Gabriel Spacca 8:36 pm 02 May 19

People forget how Di Natale became leader. Totally within Green Party rules, but it was hardly a poster child for an open process for what is supposed to be a progressive party.

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 7:42 pm 02 May 19

The Greens have my vote. They have progressive policies that will improve Australia!

I am sick of the libs and labor squeeling at each other instead of taking action.

Janet Mulgrue Janet Mulgrue 7:17 pm 02 May 19

I am very aware of climate change and environmental issues but I refuse to vote for the greens as I believe they are behind a lot of damage done locally. I realise there is a difference between local and federal but I just don’t trust them.

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 7:41 pm 02 May 19

    What damage? They are our best chance to keep Labor honest. No other party has a plan to tackle climate change!

    Janet Mulgrue Janet Mulgrue 7:48 pm 02 May 19

    Russell Nankervis I believe that the trams are a white elephant as is the whole new bus network and both have ratenburry written all over them and that’s just for starters

    Stu Cook Stu Cook 10:12 pm 02 May 19

    omg the greens got up a tram line so now they’re “dangerous locally”

    Goddamn strong koolaid

    Rob Chalmers Rob Chalmers 12:00 am 03 May 19

    Russell Nankervis https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/milne-says-no-regrets-over-carbon-decision-20130904-2t53i.html

    Janet Mulgrue Janet Mulgrue 7:10 am 03 May 19

    Stu Cook as I said white elephant costing a lot of money for little gain

David Brown David Brown 6:17 pm 02 May 19

People who live in this city have seen the damage they do when they get power.

    Josh Phillips Josh Phillips 6:41 pm 02 May 19

    David Brown what damage? You can't really blame them for Light Rail as this is a federal election...

    David Brown David Brown 6:45 pm 02 May 19

    Josh Phillips The concrete canyon entry to Canberra that used to be a lovely leafy avenue comes to mind.

    Jenny Mercury Jenny Mercury 6:52 pm 02 May 19

    Wow I think people in this city benefit every day from the influence of the Greens in our multi-party government. You think ACT Labor is so much more progressive than federal Labor just coz...?

    David Brown David Brown 6:53 pm 02 May 19

    Jenny Mercury I am so glad you are in the minority.

    David Brown David Brown 6:54 pm 02 May 19

    Josh Phillips Their local track record is all the evidence of them in power that I have.

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 7:41 pm 02 May 19

    Damage? Canberra is leading the way in renewables and we have stage one of light rail!

    Janet Mulgrue Janet Mulgrue 9:04 pm 02 May 19

    Russell Nankervis the tram is costing a lot of money for little gain. Everything the current government touch is a disaster

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 9:17 pm 02 May 19

    What tram? It is light rail

    David Brown David Brown 8:34 am 03 May 19

    Russell Nankervis Even the safety signs inside the vehicle refer to it as a TRAM.

    Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 10:08 am 03 May 19

    vestigial language from the time of trams. They are very different things.

    David Brown David Brown 12:56 pm 03 May 19

    Russell Nankervis Vestigial... just like the tram

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