14 March 2024

Rebecca Vassarotti becomes ACT Greens' first deputy leader

| Claire Fenwicke
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Rebecca Vassarotti

Rebecca Vassarotti has been democratically elected as the ACT Greens’ first deputy leader. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Environment Minister Rebecca Vassarotti has become the ACT Greens’ first deputy leader following an Australian-first ballot overnight.

It was the first time such a method has been used to determine the parliamentary leaders of a political party. Shane Rattenbury was also voted back in to continue leading the party (he was the only person who nominated for the role).

All four female Greens MLAs put their hats in the ring to be considered for the deputy leadership position.

In her pitch to members, Ms Vassarotti said she believed a leader’s job was to be an “extension” of the community and the party, who had put their faith in MLAs to impact change.

“Right now, the neoliberal status quo in the ACT is stopping real change from happening,” she argued.

“Leadership should be about challenging notions of how politics is meant to work and not being afraid to put forward policy alternatives that will shake things up.

“We need to front up to the fights we need to have and call out of the old parties for their tired approaches to the greatest challenges of our time.”

She also took a swing at her party’s partners in government.

“Consistently, we see scattergun policies from ACT Labor, as they fail to understand the urgency of the crises we’re in. This needs to be called out,” Ms Vassarotti said.

“Now more than ever, we need Greens in parliament championing strong solutions to create a better life for people, planet and community.”

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Upon securing the votes, Ms Vassarotti said it was a “privilege” to be directly elected by party members.

“I’m proud to work with such an amazing team of MLAs and such a well-respected and experienced party leader in Shane,” she said.

“Together, our parliamentary team and our candidates in every electorate are raring to go. It’s time to take action faster and go further to make Canberra a fairer place.

“Bring on October!”

The Territory’s election is being held this year, which the ACT Greens have described as a “crucial” time for the Territory.

Mr Rattenbury said this was a chance for Canberrans to “chart a new path” and make transformative changes to the systems, which he said “fuel the housing, climate and inequality crises”.

“We need more Greens in the Assembly to do it, and I’m honoured to be leading such a committed, talented, passionate team of MLAs and candidates with Rebecca as Deputy Leader,” he said.

“Leadership isn’t about hierarchy. It’s about empowering and uniting people to achieve our shared vision for this community and the world we share.

“All Greens are leaders in their circles of influence, shaping debates and generating solutions. Our responsibility is to do this in the local parliament.”

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The ACT Greens changed its party’s constitution last year to create the deputy leader position, which will only be available when there are more than two Greens members in the Legislative Assembly.

The rules state if the party’s leader isn’t a woman or gender-diverse person, then the deputy must be (unless the genders of the elected MLAs don’t allow for this).

The change was also made for one-member-one-vote leadership elections, shifting the decision of leaders out of the Legislative Assembly party room and into the hands of members.

ACT Greens co-convenor Julie Randall said it was one of the ways the Greens “walk the talk”.

“Grassroots democracy is all about including people in the decisions that affect them. That’s what we want to normalise for all Canberrans,” she said.

“It’s exciting for us as a party, but it’s actually exciting for the entire ACT community who’ve never had a chance to choose the leaders of a political party before.”

The Territory election will be held on 19 October.

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GrumpyGrandpa9:18 pm 14 Mar 24

Call me a dinosaur, if you like, but the rule that states if the party’s leader isn’t a woman or gender-diverse person, then the deputy must be, is bizarre.

Assigning leadership roles strictly based on gender or gender-diversity, limits their leader capacity. There could be a situation where talent was excluded and a 2nd rate deputy was elected, purely due to their gender.

Even more bizarre is, what happens if the leader or deputy, elects to change their gender? Are the positions split and the party members vote again?

Yeah well there’s an election coming this year so hopefully Rattenbury and his gang of lefties will not be seen again.

Oh great. A party who’s completely focused on their inner north constituents, now elects their two leaders from the inner north.

Expect even more Braddon street parties, Civic Arts infrastructure and upgrades to inner north shopping precincts and facilities.

Best of luck to the new Deputy Leader. Commisserations to Jo Clay, who I think tries hard to engage with the community and the political process. I dont agree with many of her positions, but I do like the way she does her work.

OK, great, but what about the debt, what is the Greens position on the high level of ACT Government debt, and how does it differ from Labor?

Jon Stanhope and Khalid Ahmed wrote in City News recently, “Interest costs are increasing at the staggering rate of 19.7 per cent a year. The government’s debt management strategy (if there is one) is not working.”
“The government will need, regardless of cost-of-living pressures, to take an axe to services and expenditure, or impose an even greater tax burden or in all likelihood, both.”

Good old Jonny and Khalid – enjoying the fruits of the problems they ignored and sowed the seeds for back in the day…..

JS9, at least they are looking at it, the current crop of Greens and Labor are all turning a blind eye.

They may be looking at it – but with nothing but a ‘legacy building’ hat on, and a desperation to pretend they weren’t a key cause of the problem to begin with….

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