Senator Bob Brown has resigned as leader of the Australian Greens.
Brown’s surprise decision was announced at a party meeting in Canberra. Senator Christine Milne was immediately elected as the new leader.
Later in the day, Melbourne MP Adam Bandt was elected deputy leader.
Brown said he would leave the Senate later in the year when the Tasmanian Greens division has finalised pre-selections.
Brown entered the Senate in 1996. He previously served in the Tasmanian parliament. He came to prominence in the 1970s and especially in the 1980s when he campaigned against the damming of the Franklin Dam.
- Listen to Bob Brown’s resignation press conference (38m)
- Download Greens statement announcing Brown’s retirement (PDF)
- Download Julia Gillard’s statement on Brown’s resignation (PDF)
- Download Christine Milne’s official biography (PDF)
Statement from the Australian Greens.
Bob Brown has resigned as Leader of the Australian Greens Parliamentary Party. He will also resign from the Senate, after 16 years’ service, when his Tasmanian replacement is available in June.
Senator Brown, who is 67, made the announcement to his Greens Party Room colleagues this morning at 10am.
“I am sad to leave but happy to go. It is good knowing that the Greens have such a depth of talent and experience lined up for leadership – I could only dream about that a decade ago”, Senator Brown said.
“It is prime time to hand over the reins. I offer a huge ‘thank you’ to the 1.7 million Australian voters who elected our Green team, and to my 9 colleagues: they have made each Green year in this parliament better than the year before – though the best is yet to come. For example, our policies for fairly taxing the resources boom and carbon polluters, uniquely enable the Greens to fund a national disabilities insurance scheme, the Gonski education reforms, Denticare, renewable energy businesses, as well as progress on High Speed Rail linking our major cities.
“I also thank my splendid staff, including my longtime friend, confidant, and fount of good political sense, Chief of Staff, Ben Oquist,” Senator Brown said.
Senator Brown has called the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens to inform them of his resignation.
“I look forward to fresh green pursuits including writing, photography, music, occasional talks, bushwalking, and getting out with Paul to see Miranda Gibson who has been perched for 120 days 60 metres high, in defence of a giant tree facing destruction in central Tasmania,” Senator Brown said.
Statement by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.
The Prime Minister today thanked Bob Brown on his remarkable contribution to state and federal politics over the last three decades.
Throughout his time in elected office, Bob Brown has been a figure of integrity with a deep love for this country and its environment.
Bob has served in a number of roles throughout his political career including as the Member for Denison in the Tasmanian Parliament from 1983, as Federal Senator since 1996 and as parliamentary leader of the Australian Greens since 2005.
As a former director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society, Bob’s career has been driven by a passion for our environment, having famously led a protest against the construction of the Franklin Dam.
It was this passion that saw him lead his party through historic negotiations with the Government and Independents Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Andrew Wilkie, to ensure the passage of our Clean Energy Future Package.
Bob has also been an active voice on the rights of same sex couples, having bravely used his own experiences to campaign for change.
I wish him well for his life beyond politics.
I congratulate Christine Milne on her election as the Leader of the Australian Greens Party.