Australian Greens hold first conference
By James Basle
CANBERRA — The first national conference of the Australian Greens, held over the weekend of August 13-15, set as its aim winning increased representation at all levels of government.
"The conference marks the beginning of the political arm of a social and environmental movement that is destined to become as reformist as the labour movement was a century ago", said Bob Brown, the Australian Greens national spokesperson.
The conference was attended by about 60 delegates from Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, the ACT, and Tasmania. Members of the Greens (WA), which is not affiliated to the Australian Greens, attended as observers.
The agenda of the conference included discussions on constitution, report-backs from the state Green groups and the establishment of a number of working groups, including a media working group and a policy working group.
The Australian Greens will give priority to the following issues:
- Redefining economic growth with new indices including an audit of greenhouse gas emissions and loss of native forests.
- Recognition of native title as a key component in the process toward reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Implementation of a republic with a constitutional review to include implementation of proportional representation for the house of representatives.
- Opposition to the GATT.
According to Bob Brown, the Australian Greens were in no great hurry to merge with the West Australian Greens. Currently they are operating under parallel structures and structural differences were inhibiting a merger. The two Green groups would continue to have discussions and would continue to work together.
The Australian Greens intend to be a growing force in state and federal elections. Currently there are five Tasmanian Green MPs. The Western Australian Greens have two Senators and one member in the WA upper House. Following the last federal election
the WA Greens doubled their parliamentary representation. However, the Australian Greens failed to win any seats.