By Greg Adamson
SYDNEY - Public transport, housing, and the lack of city-wide planning are among the issues which the Sydney Greens will be raising in the May 25 state elections. Founding member and journalist Hall Greenland has been nominated as the Greens' candidate for the new inner-city seat of Port Jackson, winning preselection over Gay Kalnins, a resident activist and also a founder of the group.
Because of electoral redistribution, Greenland will be contesting the seat with several candidates including two incumbents, Labor member Sandra Nori and independent Dawn Fraser.
The Sydney Greens have also been following the national green party discussion with interest. At its April 29 meeting the group reaffirmed the principles of public discussion and grassroots democracy in relation to the process.
For this reason, the group had earlier urged the postponement of a planned May 18-19 national meeting to set structure for a national green party.
Greenland told the meeting that a national teleconference of people involved in the planned May meeting had been held on April 25, in which he had participated in a personal capacity. This teleconference decided to postpone the May meeting.
People involved in the "Melbourne Group", which proposed the original meeting and which includes WA Senator Jo Vallentine and Tasmanian MP Bob Brown, will go ahead with their own meeting in Sydney on May 19.
The Sydney Greens decided on a number of points, which are being circulated to other local groups:
Sydney Greens would not attend the May 19 meeting in any capacity.
The minimum time required for the organisation of a reasonable exchange of views leading up to a national meeting was 10 weeks from the date of the NSW state elections.
This would allow two weeks to organise a statewide meeting to begin the discussion, a month for discussion to take place at the local group level and a further month for national discussion of any proposals arising in NSW and other states.
The meeting was concerned that, if any of these steps were skipped or excessively rushed, the result would be a conference in which a handful of people would be in the know, and the remainder of activists would find themselves disempowered.
Sydney Greens also felt that any national meeting should reflect the green commitment to grassroots democracy, allowing as many observers as interested to attend, along with the possibility of o provide maximum input.