– Bob Brown has quit as Australian Greens leader after 16 years.- He will also resign from the Senate in June.
– Christine Milne has been elected as the new Greens leader and MP Adam Bandt is the new Deputy Leader.
– Bob Brown will continue in the Senate until June when he will be replaced.
– His replacement, from Tasmania, has not yet been decided.
– There will be no change to the Greens agreement with Labor to support the Gillard Minority Government.
Farewell Earthian; loved and loathed in equal parts.
At 67, Bob Brown has the energy of a 40 year old. He still has a zest for politics, still loves a fight. It seemed he could lead the Greens forever. But today, he’s announced it’s time for “renewal” and he’s handed the reins to Deputy Christine Milne.
Terrible news times two: Australian Parliament will be a lot duller without Senator Brown; and Christine Milne – she of limited charisma – will be on our TV screens a lot more.
Bob Brown, with the rich chocolatey voice and the relentless smile will be a great loss to the character of Parliament House. He has an air of happy benevolence: a warm calmness that descends, as he walks toward you.
It’s an effective smokescreen for the shrewd politician underneath. He may seem harmless enough, but he’s single handedly turned The Greens into Australia’s third political party, and is the man who gave Julia Gillard the keys to The Lodge.
Bob Brown is also an eccentric, like your Uncle, who collects cicada shells and tobacco tins. When he delivered a speech that started “Fellow, Earthians” in March, it seemed the pot was cracking even further. The media commentary was scathing. Eccentric is fine, there’s plenty of that in Parliament, but speaking to aliens was a step too far.
But Brown can handle scathing. He’s openly gay and from Tasmania – from a time when being openly gay in Tasmania was illegal. He’s fanatically anti-war and unashamedly tree-huggy. He was thrown out of Parliament for heckling US President George Bush as he delivered a speech to Australian politicians. He wrangled a Carbon Tax from a Prime Minister who’d promised never to introduce one.