Australian Green Party Leadership Election
Earlier this year, Australia’s Green Party spokesman on climate change Adam Bandt addressed the dangers of wildfires on Australian communities, wildlife, and lands after the country dealt with extreme climate conditions.
Unlike previous years, the support for a serious climate change plan is increasing, and Scott Morrison’s government failed to offer citizens effective and fast solutions.
The Green Party is the third largest political party in Australia, with 9 senators and one member of Parliament. The party had unexpectedly turned what used to be a Labor electoral division into a Green Party one, in places such as Melbourne.
A month later, the Australian Green Party went into a sudden leadership election after Senator Richard Di Natale tendered his resignation on 2nd of February 2020.
Adam Bandt, the Green Party’s spokesman was elected to the leadership uncontested in a party room that included 10 members.
The leadership election process had a different impact on the party’s members. Many Australian green members advocated for a change in the leadership electoral system as they believed members should be more involved in electing a leader.
Following the election, the new parliamentary leader of the Australian Greens released a statement detailing several national issues he was concerned with, including the environment. He said, “We have a climate and environment emergency, an inequality crisis and a jobs crisis and the government’s only answer is ‘well, get used to it, because it is the new normal’“.
Bandt advocated for extensive government funding known as the Green New Deal which aims to resolve ongoing crises in Australia
, such as unemployment and the climate emergency. Through this plan, the government will employ resources and instruments to create new employment opportunities, businesses, and services.
In January this year, the World Health Organization shared news of a new disease that had spread in Wuhan, China, which was later declared to be a Pandemic by the WHO. The highly transmissible disease caused countries to employ travel bans, lockdowns, and restrictions.
Australia was one of the first countries to take precautions and implement strict measures. In March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave a comforting speech to assuage citizens‘ fears, in which he stated the country’s strategy for facing the virus and the foreseeable economic consequences that are seen to come with it.
Our plan has three goals. One, protect Australian’s health. Two, secure Australian jobs and livelihoods. Three, set Australia up to bounce back stronger when the crisis is over.Australian PM Scott Morrison during a live broadcast.
As many Australians feared the economic
al consequences of COVID-19, Australia’s Green Party succeeded in ensuring certain safety nets for the public.
The Greens’ support ensured that renters were safe from eviction during the pandemic. It also included temporary income support for people on JobSeeker, Youth Allowance, Austudy, and Abstudy. In addition, their efforts aided not for profit organizations.
Difficulties in the country grew as COVID-19 cases saw a rise during the period of August to September. Recently, the Australian Department of Health stated that “the overall proportion of cases under investigation in each state and territory is relatively low, indicating that public health actions, including case identification and contact tracing, is occurring in a timely manner.”
Australia’s Industrial Relations Bill
Earlier this year, the Morrison Government introduced a plan to tackle both the job crisis and the economic crisis in Australia. The plan includes amendments to the Industrial Relations system to encounter difficulties faced by employers, employees, and businesses during the pandemic.
Throughout 2020, the Australian Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Christian Porter consecrated time to negotiate and develop a series of solutions with different interest groups.
Porter announced the Industrial Relations bill on the 7th of December, during the last weeks of parliament sitting this year. The Attorney-General stated that “It should also be said that the introduction of the Bill today is by no means the end of the consultation process, with a Senate Committee likely to examine the legislation in detail over the coming months.”
The bill includes different measures in 5 sectors of the Industrial Relations system, such as aiding the most affected industries during the pandemic, increasing job opportunities by improving investments agreements, defining casual workers and enhancing permanent work conditions, assisting businesses in law compliance and enforcement, and promoting an increase in wage by setting a limited period of 21 days.
Various employer groups alongside the Green Party of Australia were unsatisfied with the reforms. Australian Green Party leader Adam Bandt aims to propose amendments to the bill that would eliminate insecure work.
Bandt stated that “the Government’s trickle-down approach to recovery has seen profits grow while jobs and wages drop.”
As the bill is being examined, different sides are encouraged to propose adjustments to the bill. The Minister clarifies that at the time being “this is an opportunity for further submissions to be made by all sides of the debate and the Government will be willing to consider any sensible amendments that pass the simple test of being good for job growth.”
New Zealand Greens Campaign for “Yes” to Cannabis Legalization
May – October 2020
Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick spoke about legalisation and regulation of cannabis under the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.
“Cannabis prohibition has left us with a dangerous, unregulated black-market which puts at-risk communities and young people in danger.”
“Do we want to keep pouring millions of dollars in public resources into policing prohibition, branding nearly 4
, 000 New Zealanders per year with low level cannabis convictions, and denying them the grown-up, practical solution of regulation?”
“By voting ‘yes’ to regulate cannabis at this referendum, we can leave the chaos of prohibition behind and make Aotearoa a safer country for all of us.”
The referendum was held in conjunction with the general election in October, with 50.7% voting “No” to legalisation and 48.4% “Yes”. The issue remains politically alive and hundreds have since petitioned to the High Court, dissatisfied with the outcome.
See MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s response in this original interview (Timestamp: 22:24 – 28:08).
New Zealand: Greens Gain Seats in Parliament and Win Second-Ever Electorate
On October 17, the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand secured 7.9% of the popular vote in the general election, putting 2 more Green MPs in Parliament, winning a total of 10 seats.
On October 31, the Greens signed a cooperation agreement with the Labour Party led by Jacinda Ardern, together representing 57% of the vote. Green Co-leaders James Shaw and Marama Davidson were appointed as Minister of Climate Change and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence respectively.
Chlöe Swarbrick won as electorate MP in Auckland Central, the Greens’ second-ever electorate, which was previously occupied by the National Party. Swarbrick is the youngest MP in Parliament for a second term in a row.