Green Party launch set

Issue 

Green Party launch set

By Pip Hinman

MELBOURNE — A national Green Party is to be launched at the end of this month, Janet Rice from the Melbourne-based Green Politics Network (GPN) told a meeting here on August 5.

Speaking at a meeting organised by the Melbourne University Student Union as part of Green Week, Rice, convener of the Nature Conservation Council, said the party would be democratic and accountable to the party's constituency and would proscribe members of other political parties.

GPN was set up earlier this year with the intention of helping to get "environmentally friendly people elected to state parliament". Rice told the meeting that local GPN groups are being set up to work with "reasonable candidates".

When asked how this would be determined, she said that the GPN had issued a charter based on the four principles adopted by the West German Greens (grassroots democracy, peace, social justice, environmental sustainability) and intends to launch its "Green Agenda" or policy statement at the end of August. Candidates' policies would be squared to these.

GPN would encourage people to "support" green candidates in the next election. Support could be financial, helping out at the polling booth or simply voting. She said the most likely candidates to be supported by the GPN were "known independents" or Democrats, including those who had or were about to split from that party. At this stage, there were at least 17 people GPN was considering supporting.

Rice said that the Victorian branch of the Green Party would be launched at the end of September, obviously too late to contest the state elections. A meeting to select a steering committee to work on the Victorian Green Party launch was set for September 12 at the Collingwood Community Health Centre from 2 p.m. She said that the national Green Party would be federalist, with the state groups deciding on their own activities, with an emphasis on state branches working at a local level.

Rice was confident that increasing dissatisfaction with the two-party system meant that green candidates would go well in the elections. The concern that independents created unstable governments is, she said, unfounded. Minority governments in Denmark and Sweden had been proven to be workable.

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