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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Green is the new black: ACT Greens increase influence

ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury has outlined his party’s initial reflections on the history-making swing to the Greens this election.

This is the first time a Greens party anywhere in the world has been returned for a fourth term as balance-of-power holders. 

With 78% of the vote counted, the ACT Greens have won at least four seats, possibly up to six seats, and are in a strong position to bargain with their parliamentary partners, ACT Labor, whose vote remained largely unchanged.

Mr Rattenbury told ABC News on Sunday night the ACT Greens would meet with their membership in the middle of this week to discuss party strategy.

“The members are really excited, and they have a lot of ideas,” Mr Rattenbury said.

He indicated the party would choose between forming a parliamentary agreement with Labor as they have previously or standing alone as a strong opposition crossbench.

Gas emission reductions is a point of difference between the two parties with Mr Rattenbury saying Labor appeared to have “no real policies” on transport and gas emissions.

Throughout the campaign, the Greens advocated for the immediate halt of gas connections to new housing while ACT Labor opted for a longer transition away from gas.

Housing was another issue where the Greens will push Labor if they get the go ahead from their members to join them in forming government.

Mr Rattenbury said the failure of the Federal Government to fund social housing in the recent Budget made it even more important for the states and territories to step up. He promised to deliver on his $450 million social housing election platform.

“We need economic stimulus not for the sake of it, but for it to deliver a real social dividend and social benefit,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The Greens leader thanked the Canberra community for entrusting them to take their “bold and ambitious vision” into the Assembly and make sure it is implemented.

“The Greens are a major force in ACT politics, and it is clear the Greens are now the third major party in this place.

“This is a time when we need new ideas and aspirations, real conviction, and courageous decisions. We need to tackle some of our larger-scale challenges with the same boldness and decisiveness that we have the COVID crisis.

“We’ve talked during this campaign about this not being the time to ‘snap back’ to the old ways.

“Now we need to make sure we heed the lessons of 2020 – that we get serious about tackling the climate crisis, and about tackling growing inequality in our community.

“The Greens are a grassroots movement, and we will be listening to and engaging our party membership in the first instance to canvass their views. The party will spend the next few days reflecting on how to best implement this vision for Canberra in the 10th term of the Legislative Assembly, while the count is being finalised,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“We are fortunate to have plenty of experience to work from, in that the Greens have spent considerable time both within Government and Cabinet, and on the crossbench. This result is a reflection of these years of experience and decades of Greens standing up for our community and our environment,” he said.

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