Greens kick off Senate preselection


In the last few days, the Greens in Australia’s two largest states have closed nominations for their Senate preselections. In both NSW and Victoria, the process will be decided by a ballot of all members, although processes may vary in some ways. The Victorian Greens will have the process concluded by the end of May, while the Greens NSW will conclude the Senate ticket at the 11 July State Council meeting. I’m not going to get into commentary about candidates, but I will post the list of names with a brief description of who they are.

Update (again): So it turns out that nominations have not been officially announced in Victoria and there are more names to come. This should be resolved over the course of the next week.

In New South Wales

  • Ted Bassingthwaighte
  • Adam Butler – Inner West Greens
  • Cate Faehrmann – Director of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW since 2004, previously SA lead Senate candidate in 2001.
  • Keith McIlroy – Lane Cove councillor since 2008
  • Lee Rhiannon – Sitting Member of the Legislative Council since 1999.

In Victoria

  • Jennifer Alden – Lead candidate for Northern Victoria, 2006 state election
  • Peter Campbell – Candidate for Kooyong in 2001, 2004 and 2007, amongst other elections.
  • Richard di Natale – Lead Senate candidate in 2007, candidate for state seat of Melbourne 2002, 2006.
  • Jim Reiher – Lead candidate for South-Eastern Metropolitan, 2006 state election
  • Janet Rice – Former Mayor of Maribyrnong and Vice President of the Victorian Local Government Association.
  • David Risstrom – Former Melbourne City Councillor, lead Senate candidate in 2004.
  • Berhan Ahmed – 2009 Victorian of the Year

I have no information yet on when preselections will take place in Queensland, South Australia and the ACT (not WA and Tasmania, where I expect Senators Siewert and Milne to be returned easily).

Update: I have fixed a couple of links and ordered the candidates alphabetically to avoid bias. Apparently the list of Victorian candidates is not a complete list, so watch this space.

Update #2: Oz in comments reports back from a conversation with SA Greens MLC Mark Parnell. Apparently the SA Greens will choose their Legislative Council ticket from July-September and then choose their Senate ticket after that.

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  1. Ben, if you are “not going to get into commentary about candidates”, then it would be a good idea to list the candidates alphabetically, to avoid implying that you favour the candidates whose names are higher up the list.

  2. There are a few more candidates in Victoria from what I hear, but we’ll know the full list soon enough.

    Here’s a better page for Jim Reiher, and most likely the one from which he’ll be campaigning for preselection:

    He was lead upper house candidate for South East Metropolitan Region (our weakest area) in 2006, so he has some profile around the party.

  3. Good point, GhostWhoVotes. The order was in order of prominence, but I’ve fixed it up.

    Sam, let us know when the Queensland Greens decide their timeline for the preselection, if you can. I’m sure that won’t be a breach of internal party secrecy.

  4. In SA they have three elections coming up in 2010, local, State and Federal.

    Preselection for State is up for first, because it’s closer, and that will begin in July and end in September. Mark reckons Federal preselection will probably begin after that in September.

    There’s a potential complication with SA preselection (and WA and Tasmania) if a DD is called then what happens to existing Senators? Do they get #1 spot automatically or would you hold two ballots?

  5. Oz, did he say what method they use? Is it a postal ballot of all members?

    We had a preselection in 2003 for our 2004 ticket in NSW where we had a similar issue, what happened was that Kerry Nettle nominated as a candidate and there were two separate ballots, one for the Double Dissolution with Kerry on it, and one for the half-senate election without her. You could do the same thing with Sarah Hanson-Young.

    WA and Tasmania are more complicated because there is two sitting senators (although in Tasmania both could probably get elected, and there is a clear pecking-order).

  6. Didn’t ask Ben, but there was talk of someone get a lot of first preferences and not many second preferences and then losing out to someone who got lots of second preferences which makes me think it’s a big ballot.

  7. Hi Ben, I can confirm there are several more candidates in the Vic Greens preselection race, but can’t yet reveal who they are unless they choose to do so themselves.

  8. Stephen L, can you explain why candidates would not want to get their names out there? Surely the fact that Greens members would get a chance to learn your name and some basic details would be reason enough to go public, especially when the winner then has to campaign publicly for the Senate.

  9. GhostWhoVotes, these sorts of things have traditionally been conducted privately, with only a hundred or so people voting, so thus it was kept quiet. But if you’ve got a few thousand members in a state, and want a few thousand more, my point of view is that these things absolutely certainly will be leaked out, so it’s better to do them in the public eye.

    The Greens don’t have anything to hide about how we do our preselections democratically, indeed it’s a selling point.

    However, electoral processes never reveal the list of nominated candidates before the process is concluded. I was under the impression, from the person who gave me the names, that the process was concluded and these were the only candidates. If I’d known there were others I would’ve waited until they close, which I believe is around early next week.

  10. You should probably rewrite the first one or two lines if the post then, since if the nominations haven’t closed yet, the fact that not everybody has chosen to release their details is more reasonable.

  11. Just a quick note; it is interesting that we have the lead candidate from 2004 (Risstrom) and the lead candidate from 2007 (Di Natale) both running in Victoria (two people who both probably deserve to be in the Senate now). It will make out for an interesting race, especially given that there are many other candidates, although I don’t know many of them.

    Ben, if I find anything out about the ACT I will let you know.

  12. Hi Adam Butler here, just another no-name random guy, throwing my hat in the ring to represent NSW in Canberra. I have started a blog to coincide with the pre-selection process….check it out.

  13. I agree 100% with #16.

    Not only do I think that an open and democratic preselection process is a selling point, it’s something that engages members and the wider community.

    The only reason I can see for candidates to keep their nomination quiet is if they lose, or change their minds, and don’t want the wider public to know. If that’s the case, they probably shouldn’t be running anyway.

  14. @Stephen L

    I believe that in past VIC Greens pre-selections there has been a process where there was some kind of candidate vetting committee which endorsed some of the candidates. I was never a fan of such a process, but could it be that the names that are out so far are the approved candidates?

    Who can clarify this?

  15. As one of the people who drafted the NSW Greens drug policy ( and a working public hospital psychiatrist in inner Sydney, I can confirm that FDS are pretty good on this issue–sensible advice on the benefits and harms of legal and illegal drugs with a compassionate philosophy. Though they are not a “political” organisation their politics are pretty good. 🙂

  16. @JamesD,

    I believe that the Victorian Greens have a process, after nominations close, where they check nominations for things like criminal record, eligibility to fill the office, etc. I don’t think it’s a question of vetting candidates for political suitability.

  17. Hmmmm, fascinating field in Vic. I would have thought David R & Richard DN would be the top two, but then preselection battles can through up interesting results – Scott Ludlam wasn’t expected to win in WA, but ended up being a fine choice, and I understand Mark Parnell was in the same position. Of course, both have ended up being fine choices, and quite possibly better than the more favoured candidates, but nothing can be taken for granted.

    Having said that, I’d be curious to know of any existing or lingering political divisions within the Vic Greens as to whether there are some ‘face-offs’ or if this is going to be fought n policy and personality rather than factional lines (which greens of course don’t have…). And of course, the Greens NSW LC preselection is later in the year (which should yield a bumper crop of candidates – including Cate F maybe given I think she would be the underdog in NSW).

  18. In the past the Vic Greens had a committee which made recommendations. The power of this committee was reduced in 2004 and abolished in 2007. No one I heard suggesting reviving it this time. However, we do have a “probity panel”. They check to see that people don’t have issues such as serious criminal records, being on the public record denouncing the Greens etc. This panel is still checking. I have no reason to think they will find anything, but the rule is that until they do I can’t release the names except to those who need to know. Thus if someone is ruled out on such a basis everyone doesn’t know this happened.

    Candidates who are confident they will pass probity can announce they’re standing and obviously some have done so. Any that haven’t may be worried they won’t pass, but more likely just haven’t got round to telling Ben or setting up a blog.

    Aside from the probity panel the process is pretty straight-forward. Candidates need four nominators who must all be financial members of the party. The candidate writes a spiel of up to 1000 words, and the nominators up to 200 words each on why they are endorsing this person. There is a postal ballot of all members with a standard preferential count to select the top position. Lower positions will be selected later by a different method. There will be five Meet-The-Candidates meetings around the state, which I hope will be better attended than last time.

    As RO I can’t comment on policy differences etc, but I will stretch the bounds of my position to say that last time you couldn’t get a wafer between 6 of the 7 candidates on a policy basis. All those outsiders hoping for huge splits in the Greens between “realos” and “fundis”, or the “red-greens” versus the “leafy greens” would have been very disappointed, although we have seen some of those divisions in previous Vic preselections, and maybe we will again.

  19. Personally, I’d like to see Janet Rice win the 1st possition and have Richard run for Melbourne.

    I dont think its healthy to keep running males for the same position time after time, and it doesn’t help(in my eyes) that we always run someone from inner Melbourne.

    Also I think Peter, Jim and Jennifer should run for state instead.

  20. … except that Richard now lives in rural Victoria whereas Janet comes from one electorate away from the seat of Melbourne.

    There’s nothing to stop anyone who doesn’t get preselected for the Senate running for a different state or federal seat, and I’d be surprised if most of the unsuccessful Victorian Senate candidates didn’t do exactly that.

  21. I wasn’t aware of Richard having moved.

    Janet is not from Inner Melbourne, but from footscray. But I was advocating her more as an excellent member who I’d like to see in parliament, which probably wont happen at state level unless the local members are displeased with Colleen.

    My last sentence was why I wasn’t going to vote them into the lead senate position, so that they can run at state level.

  22. Stephen L
    re splits between leafy greens etc – in reality there are no “fundis” left in any organised sense, the division being more between degree’s of centralised decision making and campaigning. While I know that there are people who might fit the “fundi” label still in the party (or for that matter “eco-socialists” for what its worth!), the realo stream of thinking is formally entrenched nationally as far as I can see. The question of “leafy greens” vs “red-greens” is more of emphasis on social justice vs environment, but even this is now couched in terms of which will be more electorally appealing. The real radicals of the early Greens have long since left the building.

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