The NSW Greens have been named in a court action filed by one of the party’s former senior staff members, with an internal dispute set to spill into the open.
Carole Medcalf, who previously served as the state party’s Executive Officer, has filed a Statement of Claim with the NSW Supreme Court after she departed from her role in acrimonious circumstances earlier in the year.
Medcalf and the party had initially reached an agreement on the nature of her departure, but that was reversed after she was accused of “serious misconduct”, according to an ABC report.
On June 30, just days before the federal election, Medcalf filed her claims.
Medcalf’s departure came in the midst of a number of resignations from the party’s Committee of Management, a central body which steers the NSW party. One of those who left the Committee, former Councillor and party treasurer Chris Harris, told New Matilda earlier in the week that Medcalf had been “very, very poorly treated”.
“They double crossed her,” Harris said.
But Debbie Gibson, the co-convenor of the NSW Greens, rejected that accusation.
“The dispute is between a former employee and the Greens NSW. Following a relationship breakdown between the Greens and the employee, a separation agreement was negotiated,” Gibson said.
“Following subsequent serious misconduct on the part of the employee, which breached the agreement, the Greens terminated the agreement and the employment.”
The case is listed as a contractual dispute, and will go before the Court for the first time on October 8.
The circumstances surrounding Medcalf’s removal have played into factional divides within the NSW Greens, with some claiming she was punished for pushing back against the party’s dominant personalities.
Gibson also refuted that claim, and said members of the Committee of Management had acted in an appropriate and ethical manner.
“The Committee of Management is elected by the membership of the NSW Greens and is made up of a broad cross section of the Party. To say that it somehow represents a so called faction is simply untrue,” she said.
While securing swings in some seats, the Greens saw their vote stall in NSW at the federal election, and failed to make advances in the key lower house seats of Grayndler and Sydney.
The state party has also been rocked by the sudden death of well-loved state MP John Kaye. Preselection to take Kaye’s seat in the NSW Upper House is ongoing, with a large number of candidates competing for the position.
This story was updated on July 13 to include comments from the NSW Greens.
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