Monday, April 16, 2012

GP RELEASE: US Greens praise retiring Australian Green Senator Bob Brown‏


For Immediate Release:
Monday, April 16, 2012

Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614,
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805,

US Greens praise retiring Senator Bob Brown for his leadership in the
Australian Greens party

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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" (

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,

"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 (, and co-editor of Green
Horizon (

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

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

See also:

"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

Australian Greens

Biography of Bob Brown


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