When Bob Brown’s bragging from before the last election turned out to be hollow, political watchers were denied the pleasure of seeing a Senate with more than just a few Greens – and betting with colleagues on just how long it would take for six or so to split. But don’t worry. A demonstration seems to be going on in South Australia, with just one MP.

Step forward Kris Hanna, Green MP for the House of Assembly seat of Mitchell. Hanna was elected as a member of the ALP in 1997, but switched to shrubhugging when he couldn’t stand Premier Mike Rann’s laura norder posing any longer. Now he’s seen the writing on the wall and wants to become the Greens lead candidate for the Legislative Council for next March’s state election when pre-selections close on 14 June.

That idea has impressed some veterans of the South Australian Greens, who want to go back to the good old days of running a party from the lounge room of a house. Furious emails are flying about. Here at Crikey we have a sense of déjà vu. It’s just like watching the poor old Dems back in 2002.

“What do you know about the Greens candidates for pre-selection?” one open letter begins. “The outcome of the Greens pre-selection ballot will have profound effect on the future of the party, so please consider your vote very carefully. The party is currently in a state of crisis and this crisis may prevent us from winning a seat in the state election. There has been an enormous amount of stress and anxiety amongst members involved at the state level of party activity.”

All self inflicted. Still, the threat of harm hasn’t stopped a bunch of the party’s old guard from throwing a very public hissy. “Kris said he’d fight to retain Mitchell, and now he’s not,” former treasurer Michelle Renshaw told The Adelaide Review. “He left the ALP, and I don’t think he’ll stay with the Greens if he does get it [elected to the upper house], because if he doesn’t get his own way at meetings his technique has been to storm out. And he’s threatened to resign more than once.”

“There is a lot that you have not been told about Kris Hanna, our state MP,” a Greens circular reads. State secretary Paul Petit says: “Many of us believe that Kris Hanna’s actions have played a key role in causing the crisis in the party. If Hanna is pre-selected it will deepen the crisis that has led to the resignation of nine office holders in recent months. Some of these people have left the Greens and you may have read the recent article in the Adelaide Review. (I can send you a copy if you wish.) I am the only Office Bearer elected last September who still holds his or her position.”

Another letter warns: “If we make the wrong choice in this election we could find ourselves moving down the path of Labor Party politics by giving priority to the MP instead of the Party… I am concerned that the MP we elect should remain a Greens MP for the full eight-year term. I don’t want to see a Greens MP do a Meg Lees and leave the party while remaining in the Council.”

And speaking of Meg, if the SA Greens keep carrying on like this, we may well see a major boost for Democrat morale and reversal of the party’s fortunes in their strongest state when the election rolls around.