The world of Australian politics has just undergone something of a shake-up, with Greens leader Richard Di Natale not only stepping down as leader of the party, but announcing his impending exit from politics altogether.
Making the surprise announcement on Monday, Di Natale’s decision to step down from the leader of the party resulted in the spilling of his position, with the Greens set to determine their new leadership team on Tuesday.
Having been elected to the top spot in the party following the resignation of Christine Milne in May of 2015, Di Natale revealed that his decision to step down was a difficult decision, but one that was made in the interest of family.
This morning I took the incredibly difficult decision to step down as Parliamentary Leader of the @Greens. It’s not something easily put into words because representing this incredible movement has been one of the biggest honours of my life. Farewell and thank you for everything. pic.twitter.com/WAOHl7neW0
— Richard Di Natale (@RichardDiNatale) February 3, 2020
“Stepping down as Greens Leader is not a decision I’ve come to lightly,” Di Natale wrote in a statement shared via Twitter. “It has been a privilege to fight every day for the values that millions of Australians care so deeply about. However, it is a decision I feel I have to take.
“The bearpit of politics can take a personal toll but we are all willing volunteers in our respective roles. Our families – on the other hand – are conscripted to the cause.
“My boys are 9 and 11 years old now and they have only ever known their dad as a busy, tired, and sometimes grumpy politician. As they grow up quickly, I want to spend more time by their side than a relentless political schedule allows.”
This announcement also sees Di Natale plotting his exit from the Senate as well, which is expected to take place by mid year. Following previous attempts at Victorian electoral seats, the 49-year-old was elected to the Australian Senate in the 2010 federal election, beginning his term in 2011.
I will be standing for Greens Leader.
Thank you Richard for your leadership and service to Aust.
I look forward to talking with my colleagues about how we share leadership across the House & Senate as we fight the climate emergency and inequality with a Green New Deal.
— Adam Bandt (@AdamBandt) February 3, 2020
My dear friend @RichardDiNatale has done an outstanding job for nearly 5yrs, leading with compassion & reason. He’ll be sorely missed. Our party room is full of ppl motivated to fix the world. They’re the best colleagues. I’m seeking their support to remain Deputy Greens Leader.
— Larissa Waters (@larissawaters) February 3, 2020
However, the current spotlight remains on just who will succeed Di Natale as the leader of the Greens, with Adam Bandt and Larissa Waters – who have both previously shared in the role of Deputy Leader – being considered the logical choice.
In a statement shared to Twitter today, Bandt thanked Di Natale for his service as the party leader and announced his decision to stand for the position.
“I look forward to talking with my colleagues about how we share leadership across the House & Senate as we fight the climate emergency and inequality with a Green New Deal,” Bandt stated.
Meanwhile, a statement made by Waters revealed that she is hoping to remain in the position of Deputy Leader.
“My dear friend Richard Di Natalehas done an outstanding job for nearly 5yrs, leading with compassion & reason,” Waters stated via Twitter. “He’ll be sorely missed.
“Our party room is full of ppl motivated to fix the world. They’re the best colleagues. I’m seeking their support to remain Deputy Greens Leader.
In a statement offered to the Sydney Morning Herald, Di Natale explained that he was not putting his support behind any of his fellow party members, noting that “it’s a decision for the party room”.
“There are 10 people; it’s not a difficult decision when you only have 10 people,” he explained.
The Greens are expected to elect their new party leader on Tuesday.