We'll be updating this post as the surprising leadership ballot plays out. Scroll down to review all the action.
UPDATE: we now have a full wrap of today's action including comments from Di Natale here.
Richard Di Natale Becomes New Greens Leader
And there it is – the Victorian Senator has been elected ‘unopposed’.
Scott Ludlam and Larissa Waters also elected unopposed as co-deputies.
Rachel Siewert has been returned as party whip, and Ludlam has been elected chair of party room.
Di Natale will front the media shortly.
Siewert announced the result to the media, and said MPs had been “very emotional” about Milne’s resignation.
Should Greens Party Members Have A Say In Leadership?
Greens members don’t have a role in electing their party leader, a luxury members of the Labor Party have had extended to them. Today’s process, which offered little chance for consultation, will certainly provoke the party to contemplate whether a change is needed.
NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon took to twitter to make it clear she thinks it is.
I have always been, and remain, a strong advocate for membership involvement in party leadership. Members should have a vote.
— Senator Lee Rhiannon (@leerhiannon) May 6, 2015
Bob Brown Surprised By Milne Stepping Down
Like party insiders, Brown was caught by surprise by today’s events.
“I didn’t see it coming today. It’s a great surprise to me,” Brown told the ABC.
He also paid tribute to Milne’s work on climate change.
And described her as “a very strong figure, role model, for women in politics – and we need more in politics.”
Christine, #1 climate champion. I join millions in congrats for 25 stellar yrs of Tas, fed & global Green action.You are a great Australian!
— Bob Brown (@BobBrownFndn) May 6, 2015
A Woman Steps Down, Three Men Put Their Hand Up
As MPs remain behind closed doors there is some consternation about the fact all three of those who appear to be in the mix for the leadership are men.
It is being widely reported that the Greens will make sure the leader/deputy leader positions do not both go to men. Here at NM we’ve heard Queensland Senator Larissa Waters could get the nod for deputy if Bandt gets up.
Here’s Ben Raue, a psephologist with ties to party, summing it up.
So only 4/11 in Greens federal caucus are men, but 3/3 leadership candidates are men.
— Ben Raue (@benraue) May 6, 2015
Social Media Backs Ludlam's Hair For Leader
As the Greens meet decide which MP will head their party, social media is abuzz with questions about what will be atop of that head.
Scott Ludlam’s famous do appears to be the subject of popular write-in campaign.
I'm hearing @scottludlamhair's got the numbers
— Trisha Jha (@themetresgained) May 6, 2015
Senator Ludlam- the Hair Apparent
— Fiona Katauskas (@FionaKatauskas) May 6, 2015
Leadership Jostling Begins
According to one Greens insider, MP Adam Bandt and WA Senator Scott Ludlam are the two most likely leaders to replace Milne, and would run close in any ballot.
However, its Victorian Senator Richard Di Natale that has been the first to officially announce his candidacy for the position.
I will be putting myself forward as a candidate to lead the Australian Greens
— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) May 6, 2015
Greens MPs were surprised by Milne’s announcement this morning, and New Matilda understand there is some frustration it was dropped in what was expected to be a regular pre-budget planning meeting. With nominations expected to be confirmed around 11:30 (i.e. now) there is also frustration that MPs won’t have time to consult broadly.
Christine Milne has announced that she is resigning as the leader of the Australian Greens and will not contest the 2016 federal election.
“It is with a mix of optimism, pride, excitement and sadness that I am resigning the leadership of the Australian Greens and leaving the Senate,” Milne said in a statement on Facebook.
New Matilda understands there will be a ballot to elect the next party leader at 11.30 today.
“I have achieved what I set out to achieve when I took over the leadership,” Milne said. “The Greens have gone from strength to strength with solid election results and a growing, engaged party membership.”
“I promised a more cabinet-style, collaborative approach to leadership. I am so proud of the way my colleagues have responded. We are a strong, capable, visionary Greens team.”
“We have stood strongly for a safe climate and an end to wealth inequality. We have stood with the community against the cruelty of the Abbott Government, with their first budget resoundingly rejected by the people, and the Senate.”
While the reason for Milne’s resignation is not yet known, she said she would continue to campaign actively for a safe climate.
“The fight for action on global warming will continue and I will take my passion, and all that I’ve learnt, to that fight standing shoulder to shoulder with the community here, and all over the world, for climate justice,” she said.
Milne said her decision to resign was made with family: “After 25 years in politics, I am looking forward to spending more time in my beautiful home state of Tasmania, with friends and family, and especially as I am soon to be a grandmother.”
New Matilda will bring you further updates on this story as it develops throughout the day.
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