US Greens praise retiring Senator Bob Brown for his leadership in the Australian Greens party
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For Immediate Release:
Monday, April 16, 2012
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WASHINGTON, DC -- The Green Party of the United States honored Australian Senator Bob Brown today and praised him for his Green leadership in Australia and around the world.
Sen. Brown announced his retirement on Friday, telling fellow party members "It is now time for me to hand on leadership to the experience and talent of my colleagues" (http://greensmps.org.au/time-has-come).
There are now nine Greens in the Australian Senate and one in the House. US Greens have called Bob Brown an inspiration and a friend and consider the Australian Greens a model for what the Green Party of the United States can achieve in the coming years.
Sen. Brown, who represented the state of Tasmania, will be replaced as party leader by Greens Deputy Leader Christine Milne. US Greens congratulated Ms. Milne on her new position as the leader of the Australian Greens party.
Sen. Brown attended the Third Global Greens Congress, which took place in Dakar, Senegal, in early April, a meeting in which US Greens also participated ("Third Global Greens Congress, meeting in Senegal, passes statement of support for the Occupy Movement, Arab Spring, and other democratic movements," April 5, 2012, http://www.gp.org/press/pr-national.php?ID=498).
"Bob Brown influenced Ralph Nader to run for President as a Green in 1996. At the time, Greens were a fringe party, and Brown's credibility with Nader in part convinced him of the credibility of US Greens. The international nature of the Green Party and Bob Brown's particular stature as a Green has helped Green Parties grow all over the world," said Mike Feinstein, a California Green who has known Sen. Brown since 1996 through their attendence of international Green meetings.
In his message to Australian Greens, Sen. Brown listed the Greens' accomplishments since he took office:
"I started 10 turbulent years in the Tasmanian parliament beginning with the Franklin River blockade in 1983, and ending with the very successful Labor-Green accord of 1989-92: witness Tasmania's Freedom of Information laws, economic reforms, educational outcomes and 650,000 hectares of new World Heritage wilderness. Since then, there have been 12 exciting years in the Senate with the Greens since Tampa, defending international law on refugees and leading calls for self determination in Timor, Tibet and West Papua. We have spearheaded political action for the Murray-Darling Basin and other rural lands threatened by dams and mining, the nation's wild forests and marine ecosystems, the Northern Territory's right not to have a nuclear waste dump, the Kimberley, the Great Barrier reef, the Traditional Owners' plea to protect the wild rivers flowing to Lake Eyre, and every city's need for bikeways and pedestrian amenities and fast, clean, cheap public transport. The Greens show how Australia can well fund a disability insurance scheme, Denticare, and the Gonski educational package without a budget black hole. And, of course, we invigorated Australia's new package to curb carbon pollution while boosting the real incomes of poorer households. We are the advocates for marriage equality and euthanasia."
"Bob Brown is an inspiring global leader of the Greens throughout the planet. He combines a vision of a peaceful and ecologically secure planet democratically organized with a practical sense of how humanity may get there. From my study of his writings and in conversations, he believes that the Green parties in the world working in solidarity can be a strong and effective force in helping that happen," said John Rensenbrink, Maine Green, founding member of the party's International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl), and co-editor of Green Horizon (http://www.green-horizon.org).
Bob Brown was the first openly gay member of the Australian Parliament and first openly gay leader of an Australian political party.
Australia uses preferential voting and proportional representation in elections, with instant-runoff voting for single-member seats to elect the members of the Australian House of Representatives and group-ticket single transferable proportional voting to elect members of the Australian Senate. Such voting systems give voters more options and increase the chance that alternative party candidates, like Greens, will get elected. Most US elections use at-large winner-take-all voting systems, which enable domination by one or two parties and inhibit minority constituencies from participation in government.
US Greens have not agreed with Sen. Brown on every issue. The Green Party of the United States, along with many Australian Greens including Senator Lee Rhiannon (New South Wales), endorsed the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement to pressure Israel to observe the rights of Palestinians, a movement that Sen. Brown opposed.
Sen. Brown promises not to remain idle in retirement and said that he has "offered to accompany the Rwandan Greens Party leader, Frank Habineza, whose deputy was recently found beheaded, safely back to his country later this year, to help re-establish the Rwandan Greens right to exist there. As well, I am keen to see Papua New Guinea Greens leader Dorothy Tekwi win her courageous bid for the seat of Vanimo -- held by the current Deputy Prime Minister -- in PNG's elections due soon."
"As it happened: Bob Brown resigns as Greens leader" (with video)
ABC News (Australia), April 13, 2012
"Australian Greens leader Bob Brown resigns"
BBC News, April 13, 2012
Biography of Bob Brown
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