Senator Bob Brown is retiring from the Senate. Christine Milne is taking over. The Australian Greens Party is headed for slow decline.
Greens leader Bob Brown retires – and his party will not be long in retiring with him.
At 67, he is leaving the Greens with nowhere to go but down.
For some odd reason, Brown, a doctor, seemed to many to be an earnest, non-threatening presence as he turned the Greens into a national force ever since being elected to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1983.
He joined the Senate in 1996, and at the last election brought the Greens to unprecedented power.
The Greens took a record 13 per cent of the Senate vote, giving it nine Senators – as well as a lone MP in the House of Representatives, Adam Bandt, elected with Liberal preferences.
What a triumph that was. In the Lower House , the Greens shared the balance of power, and in the Senate, they hold it alone. With that power, Brown forced a far-too-willing Prime Minister Julia Gillard to sign an alliance.
Gillard gave the Greens the carbon tax she’d promised never to impose, and a $10 billion green energy fund that business is no demanding be scrapped. Brown in return gave Gillard the support it would have offered her anyway.
In a way, it was a deal that will destroy them both, and we can only suspect that Brown is getting out while the going is good.
Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.