Fact check – errors, omissions and lack of balance in ‘Inside the Greens’
Occasional errors are inevitable in a history of this scope. Some are significant and cannot be allowed to stand…
False narrative about the formation of the Australian Greens
Page 91 – In relation to the formation of the Australian Greens, Inside the Greens quotes Bob Brown blaming the “old guard” in NSW ”blocking the growth of the national Greens as against the State Greens, all the way down the line’. The claim is demonstrably untrue but no response from Greens NSW figures is provided by Paddy Manning. Let’s do that briefly here. The Greens in NSW shared the party registration “the Greens” with interstate Green parties. In 1992 only three state Green parties were strong enough and in a position to form the Australian Greens and the Greens NSW was one of them – they did not hang back. Over the decades since, the Greens NSW has contributed millions of dollars to the Australian Greens; achieved vital election break-throughs; provided a decent democratic left wing perspective; and agreed to a set of national policies leading in to each election. In return the Greens NSW has been subjected in recent years to public vilification by senior Greens figures.
P. 99-100 – Paddy Manning uses a quote from Milo Dunphy in 1989 describing the Greens in NSW as “A spurious Socialist Green group using the registered name Green Party…” While this is useful in indicating Milo’s political conservatism (note his refusal to preference Jack Mundey in the 1988 NSW elections) the quote is inaccurate. The Greens in NSW had already adopted the Four Greens Pillars and its membership while supportive of economic justice tenets, was comprised of people from a broad range of progressive activist causes and most had no links with socialist parties. The first Greens party document, “More Good Oil”, produced in 1984 sets out details of the original membership in the first paragraph: “The Greens in Sydney come from many backgrounds. Environmental and resident activists. Nuclear disarmers. Dissidents from the Labor Party who have witnessed betrayals by both wings of that party. Feminists. Anarchists. Those inspired by the German Greens. Socialist of various kinds.”
P. 112-113 – At a key meeting in 1991 in Sydney about forming a national Greens, Bob Brown and Drew Hutton made an unreasonable demand of representatives of Greens groups/parties. Representatives were effectively asked to commit their party to proscription of members of other political parties then and there, or those Green parties would be excluded from a national Greens organisation. Paddy Manning writes “In fairness that was the whole point of the meeting.” No, that comment is too simplistic and overlooks important factors. Very few, if any, of the Green parties in NSW had at that time adopted proscription, and their representatives were not authorised to commit to it, until their party had democratically decided the matter. Many parties were open to considering the question. It was the Greens in NSW that held the party name and registration with the Australian Electoral Commission and without Greens NSW groups participating, the meeting would have been hollow. What form of proscription was it to be? Would it apply to all members; or with existing dual party members “grandfathered” in some way as was the case when the Greens WA finally joined the Australian Greens in 2003; or some lesser form of membership without voting rights; etc. It was an issue that needed discussion and then a decision by respective parties. Instant proscription may have been the expectation of Bob Brown and Drew Hutton but it wasn’t that of many attending the meeting. The compromise reached by the meeting to give parties six months to consider their position on the matter was a sensible way forward and gave each Green group appropriate time over the spring and summer break. Most of the groups in NSW quite quickly went on to adopt full proscription of members of other political parties, and formed the Greens NSW, which became a founding member of the Australian Greens the following year.
Myths about the Greens NSW
P. 190 – Paddy Manning details the valuable parliamentary work of prominent Greens MPs in the book, but when it comes to Lee Rhiannon the coverage is thin. Her work inside and outside parliament during her time as a NSW MP and then a Senator is extensive. As she figures prominently in the book there are inevitably some mentions of her work but Inside the Greens mainly presents her as problematic for the party. Rhiannon’s huge volume of environment and social justice work contradicts the right wing’s narrative about her and the Greens NSW.
P. 198 -The Greens NSW with the largest Greens membership didn’t circulate Green magazine to its members primarily because of the size of the fee the Australian Greens were asking. The Greens NSW simply did not have the funds, and it was not the only state party that struggled with that. The Greens NSW purchased a small number of copies and also gave its members the opportunity to subscribe to Green magazine by placing that option on its membership application/renewal form, with quite a few taking up the offer. There was some suspicion about potential misuse of the magazine which was later confirmed when Bob Brown used his column “Bob’s back page” – a privileged communication channel to the membership – to unfairly attack the Greens NSW, and to promote his favoured candidate, Ben Oquist, in a NSW preselection. The book does not mention those points which undermine the narrative that the Greens NSW was obstructive and hostile to the Australian Greens
P. 208-209, 221 – The criticism of Lee Rhiannon in relation to the Greens NSW deciding how its 2001 electoral funding would be spent, rather than being determined by the Australian Greens is unwarranted. All NSW delegates to national meetings held the position adopted by the NSW state meeting, and other than being a NSW delegate at National Conference once a year, Rhiannon had little to do with party finances. A loaded term is used when Inside the Greens states the NSW Greens “hoarded their electoral funding”. That funding was received very late in 2001 and was spent 15 months later, on the 2003 NSW state election. The Greens NSW over the years made generous financial contributions to several poorer state Green parties. That is not mentioned in the book.
P. 210 – Bob Brown is quoted as saying that he always “without exception” accepted the verdict of the party. His public attacks on the Greens NSW and Lee Rhiannon do not sit comfortably with that comment. There are also instances where Brown’s public comments on preferences did not reflect party decisions.
P. 211-212 – The Australian Greens structural review in 2002 was largely driven by the right wing of the party in an effort to centralise power. No significant changes came about as grassroots democracy prevailed.
P. 213 – Paddy Manning writes “More than 15 years later, the national membership data base still doesn’t exist…”. While individual membership of the Australian Greens is state based, as it is with the major parties, the Australian Greens has held a member data base for a number of years, and along with the federal party room is able to regularly communicate to all members. Also as the party grew in strength this century the Greens Institute was given more support and was formally established.
P. 214 – Inside the Greens states “The Greens had begun a slow transition from an activist-led, social movement group to a centralised, professional electoral party.” There is strong evidence that the Greens are also an activist party and not just an electoral party. The drive by Bob Brown, Christine Milne and their supporters to develop a centralised hierarchical party organisation has had limited success, thanks mainly to the efforts of the Greens NSW opposing that type of structure.
P. 243 – The Greens NSW view is that the federal party room is not above the national party and the Australian Greens has the power to override or amend party room rules.
P. 279 – Cate Faehrmann is quoted as alleging that in response to her confirming that she would run against Rhiannon in a Senate preselection, the late John Kaye said “Right! This. Is. War!” John Kaye’s close colleagues find it hard to believe he said that. Kaye had a healthy respect for democratic processes including the right of members to contest preselections. Kaye was also politically astute and would have known that any such comment would be used against him.
P. 300-301 – Inside the Greens quotes Christine Milne’s claim that she “put a lot of effort into fixing the relationship between the Australian Greens and the NSW Greens.” This is not true. She chose to work with NSW MPs from the right wing of the party and barely engaged with those NSW MPs from the left of the party, including the NSW Senator Rhiannon. Rather than reducing the tension, she was exacerbating it. Her attempt to centralise public funding for parties to the national level of a party through legislation (2013), her support for proposals that centralised power within the party in a structural review (2014), and her subsequent public attacks with misinformation about the Greens NSW, all run counter to the claim repeated in Inside the Greens.
P. 320-321 – Greens NSW figures are not given the opportunity to respond to criticism from Milne and Brown about how the state party was responding to the horrendous 2014 Abbott-Hockey budget. Brown’s comment that Greens NSW MPs were “publicly campaigning for the Australian Greens to block the budget to bring down the government…” is not correct and engages in exaggeration. Greens in NSW were organising members’ and public meetings to discuss a range of tactics to defeat the worst parts of the budget, with one possible option being to block Supply. No plan was settled on although a poll of delegates to State Delegates Council found 73% in favour of challenging Supply. At some point there may be a budget that is so draconian that it should be defeated even if that involves blocking Supply. The real lesson from the 1975 constitutional crisis is not that budgets should never be stalled or challenged, but that the power of the Governor-General to invoke reserve powers to dismiss a government and install another is grossly undemocratic. The Greens in NSW were carrying out their work of consulting members, but Brown tries to make out that they were extremists. Manning’s own research, documented on page 157 of his book, reveals that Brown in 1996 said he “would not weaken the party’s bargaining position by committing to never block supply.” If the book had explored why Brown changed his position when the Greens NSW were considering a similar approach, it could have been insightful.
P. 332 – The left of the Greens NSW did not make the formal complaint against Cate Faehrmann and Jan Barham over how they voted against the party’s position in state parliament on a motion concerning Israel and Palestine. The complaint about their vote was made by two individual members who were strong supporters of human rights for Palestinians. They were acting alone. While the left was unhappy with Faehrmann and Barham’s vote, it did not take any action. The left was not consulted about the complaint and had no part in it, only becoming aware of it after the process was well down the track.
P. 348 – Bob Brown’s claim that the Greens NSW position on leadership of the Australian Greens had prevented the party winning 20 senate seats and a half dozen lower house seats is clearly absurd. For the record, the first time a proposal to have a leader was put to a vote was at National Conference in 2005, and it was adopted. NSW delegates voted against it and a significant reason for that was that the method of election (only 4 Senators voting) was not democratic, and the limits on the powers of the leader position had not been set out. They still haven’t been. The Greens NSW however accepted the national decision to have a leader and have never tried to reverse it. Even though the Australian Greens have had a formal leader for well over a decade including four federal elections, Brown still complains about the NSW position from 2005 and tries to link that to limiting the party’s electoral performance. As Inside the Greens does note, Bob Brown has a long history of overestimating the number of seats the Greens will win. His analysis makes little sense and is just another example of Brown publicly bashing the Greens NSW.
P. 351 – In one of his public attacks on Lee Rhiannon, Bob Brown said “when it comes to political white-anting, Lee is the Greens version of Tony Abbott”. In the circumstances there could not be a more insulting criticism yet Rhiannon is not given an opportunity to respond. Rhiannon dismisses Brown’s comment as nonsense and nasty. We consider that Bob Brown attacks the Greens NSW and Rhiannon because NSW resisted his preferred hierarchical party structure and proposals to centralise power, and because the NSW membership did not always preselect his preferred candidate.
P. 358 – Inside the Greens mentions some of the attacks by Bob Brown, Christine Milne, Nick McKim and co on the Greens NSW and Lee Rhiannon made on the ABC Four Corners program. No opportunity to respond to that is provided. Many NSW Greens members were disgusted by the public attacks on their party, particularly as they believed much of it was based on misinformation.
P. 367-8 – In relation to the Greens NSW State meeting confirming its rule that new members, including a person transferring from an interstate Green party, could not contest an upper house preselection for three months, Inside the Greens seems to have adopted the narrative of the right wing of the party when he writes “that it was a bit of factional game-playing….”. That was not the case. Greens transferring from interstate had always been treated as new members, and the three-month provisional period applied to new members. The rule was well established and clearly applied to Cate Faehrmann. Many members and Greens local groups were astonished by the decision of the judge which they believe disregarded a clear rule and practice.
The Buckingham affair
P. 368, 374 – Inside the Greens’ coverage of Jeremy Buckingham is extremely soft. The book claims that the complaint about Buckingham’s comments on Four Corners “was dropped only after Buckingham ally Justin Field went public and denounced the tactic on Facebook.” This is completely wrong. The complaint was not dropped and it was a legitimate complaint. Buckingham since 2014 had been the subject of formal complaints. These concerned bullying behaviour and breach of party processes. The complaints were made by a range of members who cannot be characterised as factional and arose from separate incidents. The book makes reference to some complaints, but no detail is provided.
P. 371-372 – Reports about an alleged indecent assault of a female Greens staffer by Jeremy Buckingham did not become public until well after the result of the upper house preselection for the 2019 state election was known, and had been endorsed by the Greens NSW state meeting. The NSW membership was unaware of the allegation and therefore it could not have influenced the preselection outcome. That clarification is not in the book. David Shoebridge was aware of the allegation by the former staffer against Jeremy Buckingham, and did not disclose it publicly during the preselection. Inside the Greens does not mention that during the preselection New Matilda caught out Buckingham’s staffer, Max Phillips, attempting to anonymously negatively background against David Shoebridge. The book’s coverage of the preselection is unfairly weighted against Shoebridge.
P. 372 – Paddy Manning writes that Lauren Gillin was a staffer for David Shoebridge when she criticised Jeremy Buckingham in a New Matilda article. This is not correct. At the time, Gillin was working for Senator Andrew Bartlett and was a former staffer for Shoebridge. The book states that ABC’s 7.30 program about the indecent assault allegation against Buckingham included a pre-recorded interview with David Shoebridge. He was not interviewed for the program.
P. 373, 375 – A significant factor driving proposals to the Greens NSW State Delegates Council in relation to loss of confidence in Jeremy Buckingham and requesting him to stand down from the upper house ticket, were concerns that Buckingham’s public comments had breached the national and state anti-sexual harassment policies. Many members believed his comments implied that the complainant was politically motivated. The policies have the goal of ensuring that a person complaining of sexual harassment can make complaints without being further victimised. Inside the Greens does not cover this aspect of the matter.
P. 377-378 – Inside the Greens reproduces an extract of an open letter by Cate Faehrmann, Justin Field and Dawn Walker attacking the left of the party, but affords no opportunity to respond to their misinformation. The trio’s accusations about undermining the party and destabilising the core principles of the Greens were self-serving, and baseless claims. The assertion that a “large group” from Solidarity joined the party is without substance.
P. 378 – Covering the dispute about how a vacancy on the upper house ticket should be filled, the book fails to mention that the party had routinely promoted the next candidate on the ticket list and not conducted a recount. There were a number precedents. Inside the Greens does not mention that two members seeking to have Dawn Walker promoted up the ticket, sought an injunction against the Greens NSW. With the close of nominations for the state election imminent, the court proceedings created the risk that the Greens would not be able to nominate a ticket. The judge quickly dismissed the matter.
P. 379 – The coverage of the review of the Greens NSW has a number of inaccuracies. At its December 2018 state meeting the Greens NSW had resolved to undertake an independent review of Greens NSW structures and processes, including complaints processes. This preceded the Australian Greens decision to support a review of NSW processes. Paul O’Halloran was appointed as one of a three-member Review Panel, and the review will be conducted by an independent reviewer. Any changes to the NSW constitution or processes would need to be approved by the Greens NSW SDC.
P. 452 – In relation to Paddy Manning’s list of the Green’s flaws it is worth noting that since prominent members from the right wing of the party have left the Greens, party membership has increased in NSW, and the culture of providing journalists with misinformation (anonymously or on the record) seems to have ceased.
The substance of differences
P. 316 and 323 – In response to the Australian Greens Constitutional Review of 2013-14, initiated by the party room, NSW members Hall Greenland, Sylvia Hale, Geoff Ash and Lee Rhiannon produced an A3 (4 page) leaflet campaigning for further democratisation of the party, and against measures emanating from the party room to centralise power within the party. The leaflet argued for improved proportional representation at national meetings, election of the leader by the membership, defining and limiting the powers of the leader, and ending the undemocratic MP conscience vote. It opposed an increase in party room delegates at national meetings, electoral funding being controlled by the national level of the party, and direct individual national membership of the party. The leaflet was distributed to delegates from other state Green parties.
P. 466 and 474 – There have been policy differences between the left and right of the party over the years. These include areas such as public funding of private schools, drug law reform, taxing large estates, and Palestine-Israel, but overall a coherent policy platform has always been adopted. A major difference between the groupings is over party democracy and structure. The left want a grassroots structure and do not accept that it would make the party inefficient. It supports delegation of power so long as it is coupled with accountability to the party. The right in essence want the party to be controlled by the leader and MPs with minimal accountability. It fundamentally runs counter to the principle of grassroots democracy. Inside the Greens often repeats Brown’s bitter criticisms of the Greens NSW but only touches on why he makes them. It is reasonable to conclude that Brown is annoyed with those who have opposed his plans to centralise power within the party, and disappointed with some preselection results.
P. 467 and 475 – The formal complaints process has been abused by right wing factionalists in the party. The attacks on Alex Bathal in Victoria are an example, and Paddy Manning notes the 101-page complaint against her “says nothing of significance”. The complaints by the left and moderates in the party, however, were about serious misbehaviour by Jeremy Buckingham and were fully justified. They have not been a misuse of the process. Overall the left has been very restrained about making complaints about misbehavior by key hostile figures such as Brown, and has often turned the other cheek.
P. 467 – Inside the Greens does not explore the leaking culture that sadly began during Bob Brown’s leadership. Paddy Manning justly pays a glowing tribute to Bob Brown, and it is true that he did a great job over many years helping to build the profile, reputation and vote of the Greens. (The party was of course already on the rise before Brown joined in 1992. The WA Greens won a Senate seat in 1990; the NSW Greens had two local councillors and had just missed out on a state upper house seat, but Brown’s contribution hastened the growth.) The other side of the coin is that most of the recent internal acrimony has been fostered by Bob Brown and his factional supporters. The incessant backgrounding and leaking against the Greens NSW and its key left figures, particularly Lee Rhiannon, has been the major cause of the party’s internal problems.
P. 476 – Inside the Greens uncritically quotes the right wing’s view that the left is “process-obsessed, setting up endless committees in a throwback to the Soviet era”. Apart from it being an exaggeration with a McCarthyism type slur added for good measure, it is a self-serving comment. Without decent democratic processes, those in influential party positions, such as MPs, are likely to become an unaccountable oligarchy and democratic decision-making would quickly erode. Inside the Greens also quotes Ian Cohen’s musings that the “hardcore” left activists in the Greens NSW are preoccupied with the “mechanisms of maintaining power”. The criticism is a bit rich coming from someone who held the most powerful position in the party for 16 years. It is also a misunderstanding of a key motivation of the left which has accepted plenty of decisions and votes that have gone against it over the years. The left values and protects good process not to maintain power for itself, but because a grassroots democratic party, adhering to the four Greens principles, is fundamental to the left’s view of how a Green party should be.
P. 280-81 – In the lead-up to the 2010 election, a senior Green told one of the Greens national preference negotiators that not everyone in the party room wanted to see Lee Rhiannon elected. This was taken to be a suggestion that, when negotiating with other parties for Senate preferences for the Greens, the negotiators shouldn’t work to secure preferences for the NSW lead Senate candidate, Rhiannon. The negotiators ignored the pressure and carried out their negotiations consistent with the direction of the party, and were instrumental in securing Rhiannon’s election to the Senate. Inside the Greens does not mention the incident.
P. 281 – While Inside the Greens sets out how only $80,000 of the $1.6 million donation to the Australian Greens spent on advertising was of any benefit to the Greens NSW 2010 election campaign, who was responsible for keeping information about the donation from the Greens NSW and who made the decisions about how it was spent are not explored.
P. 281 – In the lead up to the 2010 federal election a Leader’s fund was temporarily established that would allow the parliamentary leader to solely determine how some significant donations would be spent. The Leader’s fund was fundamentally undemocratic and lapsed after it did not receive support at an Australian Greens meeting held after the election.
P. 285-6 – Following the 2010 federal election, astonishingly there was no election debrief at a national meeting despite the Greens NSW raising that it was the usual practice and was needed. Many in the Greens NSW interpret that as deliberately preventing the state party from raising legitimate grievances such as the secrecy surrounding the $1.6 million donation and efforts to ensure that a fair share of it was not spent on the Greens NSW campaign; Bob Brown’s public allegation that NSW underperformed in the election; and concerns about lack of consultation about the content of the agreement concluded with Labor.
P. 292 – Cate Faehrmann’s attack in the Sydney Morning Herald on colleagues following the 2011 NSW state election was considered by many members to be an exaggeration and disloyal. Like Brown, Faehrmann chose to publicly air her criticisms of the Greens NSW rather than discuss them within party forums. She was severely criticised by delegates at the subsequent Greens NSW state meeting.
P. 301 – In 2012 when Peter Whish-Wilson was preselected to replace Bob Brown, the Tasmanian Greens did not give members a vote in preselections. A committee that included an MP made the decision. In 2014 the preselection rules for Tasmanian Greens were changed. The party executive in that state still has a major say in the whole process, including on whether a ballot should even be held. If a ballot is held members can now vote. (Tasmanian Greens Constitution, section 20).
P. 307 – The Greens NSW was the only party to oppose the Australian Greens decision to dump its policy of death duties on estates worth more than $5 million. Bob Brown argued for the policy change at the 2012 National Conference. The Greens NSW could not reconcile dumping a policy to tax the estates of deceased billionaires with the Greens basic principle of economic justice.
P. 310 – In the 2013 election, while Paddy Manning refers to the dubious preference deal between the Palmer United Party and the Greens, he does not mention Bob Brown’s role in it where he pressured reluctant Queensland Greens members to agree to the deal.
P. 349 – Inside the Greens states that Jeremy Buckingham denounced the emergence of “group voting tickets” in a NSW preselection. Buckingham’s comment is highly misleading and it is surprising that a response from a left member is not included for balance. There were no group voting tickets in the preselection. Each member decided how their preferences would be allocated. All some candidates did was make a mere recommendation to members on how they allocate their preferences. Buckingham’s misinformation probably harmed the vote of some preselection candidates.
P. 349 – Comment is made by Bob Brown on the emergence of factions and “the old guard in control of the NSW Greens”. Inside the Greens makes no mention that many members had for years regarded Bob Brown as the most powerful Greens factional chieftain.
More cheap shots at the Greens NSW
P. 199 – The criticism that NSW would block consensus at national meetings “purely on its inability to organise effectively” is unfair. The Greens NSW would try and involve its local groups in policy making, and that democratic process required early circulation of national proposals to allow time for the Greens NSW to form a position. In any case, the option for a national meeting to go to a vote and adopt a position through modified consensus was always there if a matter was urgent.
P. 199 – It is inaccurate to suggest that only the Greens NSW was caucusing with its delegates sitting together at national meetings. Delegates from respective states sat together including Tasmania. All delegates were there to represent their state. How can a delegate discuss a difficult agenda item and amendments with their state colleagues if they are sitting on the other side of the room? Tasmanian delegates, including Bob Brown and Christine Milne, caucused as much as anyone.
P. 358 and 378 – Inside the Greens refers to the NSW Greens “hierarchy”. The negative term is not used in relation to the Australian Greens or Tasmanian Greens despite the fact that those organisations are more hierarchical than the Greens NSW. In the former, MPs can ignore the party position and structurally their power puts them above the party, whereas MPs from NSW are accountable to the party and obliged to follow party policy and decisions.
Schools funding bill debacle – inaccuracies and omissions
P. 354 – Richard Di Natale and Sarah Hanson-Young while negotiating with the government, were well aware of concerns Rhiannon and the Greens NSW had about the fundamentally flawed schools funding bill. The Greens NSW view was that support for the Bill would require party room agreement to any deal and no such sign-off had been given by the Greens party room. Rhiannon doubted there was a solid block of votes as other Greens MPs also had concerns about dealing with the Turnbull government on cuts to public education.
P. 355 – Inside the Greens states that the Greens ended up voting against the bill “on the basis of relatively minor reservations about a $50 million sop to the Catholic sector.” There were additional reasons. The Australian Education Union’s accurate analysis was that the bill heavily favoured private schools cutting more than $1 billion from public education.
P. 355 – Lee Rhiannon’s leaflet supporting the full Gonski package was consistent with party policy.
P. 355 – Rhiannon was not informed about the letter complaining about her to National Council which was drafted by Richard Di Natale’s then Chief of Staff, Cate Faehrmann. It was leaked to the media. Rhiannon heard about it when she was rung by a Sydney Morning Herald journalist asking for her response. The MPs who signed the letter had not heard Rhiannon’s version of events. There was no natural justice.
P. 356 – National Council did not endorse either the party room resolution critical of the Greens NSW constitutional provision that requires its MPs to vote consistent with Greens policies or, the suspension of Lee Rhiannon from the party room.
P. 356 – The Greens NSW were outraged by the party room resolutions and backed Rhiannon. The events were seen by many as an amateurish factional power play against the left of the party, which also damaged the Greens standing with unions, (and not just education unions).
P. 356 – Richard Di Natale stated Rhiannon does not believe the party should have a leader. That is not true. Rhiannon believes the membership should be involved in electing the leader and the powers of the position defined.
P. 358 – The National Council did not support the party room’s creation of a special subcommittee that can exclude MPs.
P. 358 – When it is stated in Inside the Greens that “If it had been intended to solve the problems in the NSW branch once and for all…”, it implies that the narrative of the right wing of the party about the Greens NSW is correct. The Greens NSW processes around decision-making in parliament by its MPs reflect a grassroots democratic approach, and were not a problem.
Miscellaneous errors, omissions or comments
Prologue page XIV – Laurie Aarons was not the Labor national secretary. He was the secretary of the Communist Party of Australia.
P.113 – Geoff Ash did not nominate the Greens NSW co-secretaries as party Registered Officer with the NSW Electoral Commission. They nominated him for the position.
P. 191 – In the 1999 NSW state election the Greens did not poll a primary vote of 29% in Port Jackson and Marrickville. The Greens did come second in Marrickville but the primary vote was 11.76% with the two-party preferred vote for the Greens being close to 29%. The Greens came third in Port Jackson, not second, and the primary vote was close to 8%. In the following election in 2003 the Greens polled close to 29% primary vote in those two electorates.
Election Results 1999 Marrickville
Election Results 1999 Port Jackson
P. 247 – The Greens democracy4sale.org project was started by Lee Rhiannon and her staff. Norman Thompson subsequently began working on the project.
P. 307 – Norman Thompson had left the Democracy4sale project prior to the media storm about Greens tensions over the Wood donation to the Australian Greens.
P. 315 – The public funding of political parties proposal from 2013 related to funding administrative costs for parties, not “funding from federal elections”.
P. 316 – Clarification is needed about elements of Christine Milne’s plan to increase centralisation of power within the Greens in 2014. There was already significant direct communication from the Australian Greens to members, and a process to conduct member referendums was already set out in the party’s constitution.
P. 340 – Carole Medcalf was dismissed by the Greens NSW for misconduct. She was not dismissed because she made a complaint to Fair Work Australia.
P. 352 – Soon after the Queensland Greens flagged a proposal for a membership ballot to elect the leader, Richard Di Natale called for an internal debate on alternative methods to elect the leader of the Australian Greens. The Greens NSW formally proposed changes in 2014 but they were defeated and little progress has been made on the issue.
P. 439-440 – Lee Rhiannon had no role in the criticism of Clive Hamilton or his book. Rhiannon was not contacted to check for accuracy.
P. 470 – The assertion that “watermelons” (the left of the party) veer towards centralised state control is wrong. The left are strong supporters of public ownership of important industries such as electricity and health, but the left also has a strong commitment to decentralising power to a more local level, and to maximising democracy in decision-making.
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