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An Early History Of The Australian Greens

This brief history first appeared on the website of the Australian Greens in the late 1990s.

The precise date of the post is not known.

History of the Australian Greens

In 1984 the fiery parliamentarian and champion of the West German Greens, Petra Kelly, made her second visit to Australia. She urged that the various Greens in Australia develop a national identity. Partly as a result of this, just after Christmas of the same year, 50 Greens activists gathered in Tasmania to organise a national conference. This ultimately led to the ‘Getting Together’ conference at Sydney University during Easter 1986. Over 500 people attended. The diversity of interests led to a lively debate about the road ahead; in fact the diversity was large enough to block that road. ‘Getting Together’ decided against establishing an Australian Greens party. It took six years to overcome that decision.

Although the Sydney Greens became the first nationally registered Greens party, in 1983, and state Greens parties had also formed in Queensland in 1985 and South Australian in 1989, the Tasmanian Greens were the old hands of the Greens movement in Australia, with the advantage of five seats in their state parliament. They were rapidly evolving a structure for governing themselves, with both local groups and state meetings, formal membership of the party, members involved in policy development and a regular newsletter, the Daily Planet. The feeling was growing that the time for a national organisation could be ripe.

In 1992 the New South Wales, Queensland and Tasmanian Greens representatives agreed to join the three state Greens parties to form a national greens party.

On Sunday 30 August 1992 in Lavender Bay, North Sydney, Greens from Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania, with observers from Victoria, the ACT and Western Australia, held a press conference to announce the formation of the Australian Greens.

Currently the only state not a member of the confederation of the Australian Greens are The Greens (Western Australia).

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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