Greens still striving despite Ben bailing
Reports today say as many as six of the senior members of the Greens’ party have quit, but leader Christine Milne says it is not a sign of instability.
The party had a mandatory post-election leadership spill last week during which Senator Milne and Deputy Greens leader Adam Bandt were reinstated with no opposition. This week has brought the revelation that Senator Milne's chief of staff Ben Oquist has resigned along with Senator Milne’s climate change advisor, economics advisor and campaign coordinator.
A statement release by Mr Oquist said he had left due to “fundamental differences of opinion on strategy.”
Senator Milne is down-playing the exodus and the reasoning, saying it was about administrative structure not strategic direction.
“I have a view about a fairly flat administrative structure,” she said
“I think Ben had a view that it should be more hierarchical... that's a difference of perspective about leadership.”
The leadership ballot is part of the Greens party’s rules, which stipulate it must occur after an unsuccessful federal election. Senator Milne says that some of the people who have left were planning to go last year, but wanted to stick around for the September vote.
Senator Milne says there is no hysteria in the party offices: “Everybody's making up their own mind. These are critical life choices for people, so there's no panic or nothing to be concerned about... this is pretty normal for political officers and if you go and have a look in the Labor Party and the Coalition, you would be seeing people restructuring their offices all around.”
She has previously called the Greens’ result at the election earlier this month was due to a “tide of conservatism coming in”, which she said the party weathered admirably.
Half a million fewer people voted for the party this year compared to previous polls.
“I think clearly we need to talk to people who didn't vote for us this time who have in the past, and that's clearly something we will be doing,” Senator Milne said.