Well, well, well. My email has turned up some very interesting discussions about what’s going on within the NSW Greens in the lead up to this weekend’s State Delegate’s Council (SDC) meeting, that includes the AGM.
The NSW Greens meets every two months, with delegates from local groups (NSW Greens branches) attending, alternating between Sydney and a regional area. Only about half of local groups regularly send delegates, despite that being a requirement of being an affiliated local group. The SDC is a combination of reports from MPs and office bearers, workshops and debates about proposals from local groups and working groups. The AGM is where all office bearer, committee and Australian Greens nominations are decided in a ballot of delegates. Decisions are made by consensus, with votes extremely rare.
Recent SDCs have been intense affairs, with the existing factions within the NSW Greens now reaching all out warfare. This was most evident in the recent Senate preselection blue and it looks like, the battle is now reaching fever pitch over the elections at the AGM.
I’ve had confirmed, from a wide range of sources, that there is active lobbying by senior members of the NSW Greens of delegates about the elections. There are more members standing for election than ever before, with some key committees, such as the Federal Election Campaign Committee, receiving a record number of nominations.
Adding fuel to the existing tensions is an explosive report about the background to the Senate preselection. Running to over 80 pages, the report details complaints and counter-complaints from candidates and their supporters; often over petty matters. This report is due to be discussed this weekend.
So why does this matter? Within the broader Greens nation-wide, there is a strong push on to water down policies that have been traditionally progressive. As detailed here, NSW is often the lone voice at a National level in speaking out against this; and NSW delegates have worked hard to counter more conservative policies. So, any move by conservative Greens in NSW concerns anyone interested in progressive policy outcomes.
The other key election that is being fiercely contested is for delegates to the November Australian Greens National Conference. NSW has nine delegates, plus a State MP and a local government delegate. Given that National Conference is where all policy decisions are made for the Greens for the next year, control of the delegates is seen as crucial by both sides.
The Publications Committee, that produces the Greens newspaper and other materials, is also overflowing with nominations, as is the Governance and Grassroots Committee; the sudden enthusiasm for committee work is to be commended, but is also curious.
So, it will be interesting to see whether this push from conservative forces in the NSW Greens can be successful this weekend. If they are, then I predict that dissent from NSW at the National Conference may be more muted than ever before. And I know that will make some Greens very happy.