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NSW

Sep 21, 2012

Greens crack-up in Sydney as SHY backs rival candidate

Was Sarah Hanson-Young backing a rival candidate to the Greens for the upcoming Sydney by election race? She says she was just supporting a friend but party hacks aren't happy.

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A spat has broken out inside the NSW Greens after Senator Sarah Hanson-Young endorsed a rival candidate for the imminent byelection for the lower house seat of Sydney.

Last night, Hanson-Young took to Twitter to endorse gay marriage lobbyist Alex Greenwich as Clover Moore’s successor for the prestigious bearpit possie.

Problematically, the Greens have already formally endorsed a candidate, former Sydney City councillor Chris Harris, who decided not to contest the recent council poll to focus on the byelection triggered by Barry O’Farrell’s “Get Clover” laws. Harris is close to Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon’s so-called “eastern bloc” faction, which is rarely on friendly terms with Hanson-Young.

On the Greens’ Sydney electoral campaign committee mailing list late this morning, De Brierley Newton — who replaced Harris on the council ticket but failed to get elected after the Greens’ vote slumped — leapt into print to ask how Hanson-Young could be “this stupid or this calculated”.

“Perhaps a call to her office explaining that if Sydney goes pear-shaped it will impact on the Federal election result for The Greens and our lead Senate candidate. Might help,” she said.

From: De Brierley Newton
Subject: Re: [SydECC] Sarah Hanson Young endorses Alex Greenwich
Date: 21 September 2012 11:54:52 AM AEST
To: Matt Robertson, Greens Federal election Campaign committee

Hi Matt

Is SHY this stupid or is this calculated?

Perhaps a call to her office explaining that if Sydney goes pear-shaped it will impact on the Federal election result for The Greens and our lead Senate candidate.

Might help.

Cheers de

Others have been just as harsh as Newton, who ran in Sydney at the 2011 state election. Earlier, former Wentworth candidate and Woollhara council hopeful Matt Robertson told Harris to “phone her office, explain the delicate nature of the situation, and ask her to REMOVE the tweet. I will email her office and explain that her tweet is a foolish move … the tweet has already been re-tweeted, and could be used against us, or picked up by the media to demonstrate we’re split.”

But Hanson-Young appears to have ignored the advice — as Crikey hit deadline, the tweet was in cyberspace and was still being retweeted. The Senator’s office has been contacted for comment and we will add the response when we receive it.

UPDATE: Sarah Hanson-Young says “of course” she’ll be supporting the Greens: “Of course I want the Greens to win. I was just commenting on what a great advocate Alex Greenwich has been for marriage equality. The Greens always work with progressive groups and people to achieve positive outcomes for the community.”

Andrew Crook —

Andrew Crook

Former Crikey Senior Journalist

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