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Jun 29, 2017

It’s not just leaflets: the power struggle behind Lee Rhiannon’s suspension

The Australian Greens want full control over how their elected members vote, and they want to end a long-running NSW branch policy of binding votes.

Josh Taylor — Journalist

Josh Taylor


The federal Greens say their decision to suspend NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon from the party room is not actually about Rhiannon and whether she should have campaigned against the Gonski school funding legislation while the party was in negotiations about it. It’s really about ending a power struggle between the NSW and federal branches.

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22 thoughts on “It’s not just leaflets: the power struggle behind Lee Rhiannon’s suspension

  1. Barbara Haan

    The Watermelon Faction strikes again. Surely, Bob Brown, at the very least, as founder of the party, should be able to stand up against those idiotic NSW members.

    1. CML

      That is a stupid statement…read the Constitution. Senators are supposed to be elected to represent THEIR individual states…not some cabal in Canberra.
      It would be a pity if the rest of the ‘unrepresentative swill’ would do likewise.
      Senator Rhiannon is correct in the path she is following, by taking instruction from her state representatives. Coincidentally she is also right about Gonski 2.0 being a con job. I am not a Greens voter.

      1. Barbara Haan

        What a pathetically written reply CML. Can’t you come up with a better insult than stealing from Paul Keating and using “unrepresentative swill”? Senators are also supposed to support their Party, and not sneak around behind their backs printing leaflets. The NSW Watermelons are doing anything but that. Trying to drive people who have perfectly valid comments to make away with insults? Sorry, it won’t work. And what is it with all you cowards hiding behind pseudonyms? Frightened someone might find out who you actually are?

        1. CML

          Instead of insulting me, I repeat…READ THE CONSTITUTION!!
          It is cowardly to play the man (in this case, woman) and not the ball.
          I am just shy of 80 years old, and have lived through all this political turmoil, but have always tried to stick to the point being discussed.
          You lost the argument when you started attacking me…sure you are entitled to your point of view, but it invites a rebuttal when you present an argument that is factually wrong, as in this case.
          And BTW, PJK’s accurate description of the Senate in its current form joined the vernacular many years ago, and is now used by just about everyone. Where have you been???

          1. bref

            Hear, hear.

          2. Barbara Haan

            Well I’m an old fart too, just shy of 70 years old, so there! MY GREAT GRANDFATHER HELPED TO WRITE THE BLOODY CONSTITUTION. I have read it, thanks very much. Sorry, but you lost the argument when you called me “unrepresentive swill”. Sorry, old woman (just like me) but what I stated was factually correct. The Senators stand for both their State AND their Party. I simply responded to your incorrect and insulting email to me.
            I’ve been around and reading about politics for nearly as long as you have. Thanks for yet another weak insult.

  2. lykurgus

    Tree Tories feeling their oats are they? And Babs, you know full well what this is about – the right wing* has been trying to purge the lock-on crowd for years. When Bob Brown killed the ETS (and continues to take NO responsibility for that act of spite), that should’ve been the canary in the mine.

    *(yes, Green parties do have a right wing)

    1. Barbara Haan

      True Lykurgus, it was an act of supreme idiocy to kill the ETS, but it doesn’t change the fact that the Watermelons are a pathetic bunch. Glad you get your jollies calling me Babs – your confused little mind must think it’s a put-down. As for “Tree Tories” lol. Just because you can’t see the wood for the trees…..

  3. bref

    What exactly is Rhiannon’s problem with Gonski 2.0. Its difficult to form an opinion without the facts…

    1. Mike Smith

      Apart from it being an LNP con job, that obscures the fact that it removes money from public education, rather than increasing it?

      1. bref

        From my reading and viewing, Gonski is totally about equal funding for all kids, plus extra where necessary for extenuating circumstances. How is that an LNP con job? The main problem I have with whats proposed is the lack of scrutiny of funds to private schools. The amounts involved can be tweaked over time, as long as the basic system is in place.

        1. Mike Smith

          Gonski was, Gonski 2 is not. Gonski 2 is the con job

          1. Mark Gibbons

            I’m yet to hear a critic of Gonski 2 get beyond slogans. There seems to be no actual detailed case against it.

          2. bref

            How is Gonski 2.0 a con job?

        2. CML

          Bref…Gonski 2.0 is a con job because it is neither needs based nor sector blind. To begin with, the whole system is to be funded by federal govt 80% private, states 20%…and the opposite amounts of funding for the public sector.
          Which govt has all the money? You should be able to work that one out! The smaller/poorer states and territories will never be able to fund 80% of the public sector…meanwhile the private sector will enjoy federal largesse.
          It is all about keeping the cosseted little darlings in the private sector in the manner to which they have become accustomed. Why do you think the AEU is against the whole dirty scheme? The public sector educates around 70% of our children, and the union represents the majority of teachers who work at the ‘coalface’ in our public schools. Just forget about the ‘unions are bad’ mantra you read everyday in the MSM…and listen to those teachers who have to cope in an unfair situation.
          Everyone of them I know, including my daughter, is concerned for the children they must try to teach without adequate resources and equipment.
          It is indeed a very large CON JOB!!

      2. no chiefs

        This seems to be a point completely obscured by the focus on the Greens’ infighting. Yet again, the knowledge class choose to windbag on endlessly over the relatively trivial and fail to serve the public interest. And they wonder why they are increasingly ignored…

  4. Will

    Quite aside from anything Rhiannon has or hasn’t done, the idea of a federal senator having their political autonomy restricted by a party machine ‘bound vote’ strikes me as an appalling arrangement. The role of a parliamentarian is to be a representative, not a delegate. What empowers representatives is the latitude to vote tactically in parliament. It’s a betrayal of our democracy to restrict the power of a parliamentarian to switch their vote as they calculate best serves their constituents. (Just imagine if every parliamentarian was ‘vote bound’ – you could shut down parliament and run the country our of the majority party’s head office!)

    1. bref

      I’m glad the greens are at last getting their house in order. I have for some years now been figuring the greens in my voting decisions. If they want to go to the next level they will have to do a fair bit of restructuring and the current upheavals are exactly whats needed.

    2. Jussarian

      Exactly, the level of understanding of how party political representation can practically work is disappointingly low, for people who have made the effort to join a political party.

  5. AR

    It is surprising how quickly myths form and congeal, almost as if there is some malign intent.
    The Greens did not kill krudd’s ETS – he never sought their vote.
    Because it was primarily a job creation scheme for merchant bankers – “what’s today’s price on Malawian CO2 credits Tarquin and who wants to buy some Kasarkstani offsets?” – he knew that he had Talcum’s support and gave the Greens with the legitimate concerns about his dodgy ‘greatest moral challenge’ the finger.
    The Black Wriggle is a disgrace and his plan is inimical to Green principles which he couldn’t enunciate if given his gold plated pension tomorrow.