About the ACT Greens
The ACT Greens currently have one Member in the ACT Legislative Assembly, Member for Molonglo, Shane Rattenbury. The Greens hold the balance of power with one seat out of 17, both the Labor Government and the Liberals have eight seats.
In October 2012, following the ACT election, the Greens signed a Parliamentary Agreement with the ALP, which is available on this website here.
As part of the Agreement, Shane Rattenbury was appointed as Minister by Chief Minister Katy Gallagher. Shane Rattenbury is Minister of Territory and Municipal Services, Corrections, Housing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, and Ageing.
Joint Communiqués on Agreement Progress
The ACT Greens, Some Glimpses from a Success Story
by Gösta Lyngå
Little did we know when the ACT Greens started in September 1992 that it would grow explosively. 14 enthusiasts met in Gordon McAllister’s lounge room to talk about forming the ACT Greens. They were green, they were optimists and they knew that there would be an election early in 1993. They saw that other state Greens parties were starting to work together to create the Australian Greens. Why not take part, get the message out and perhaps gain a seat in the house where decisions are being made, they thought.
Miko Kirschbaum was elected to be the first convenor of the party and I became delegate to the newly formed Australian Greens. Among the other people present at the first meeting were Kathryn Kelly and Shane Rattenbury.
We quickly cobbled together a constitution and an application to join the Australian Greens, which at the time contained Greens parties from Tasmania, NSW and Queensland. We were finally accepted into the national confederation of Greens parties at a phone link-up in December 1992.
At our very first meeting, one person stood out as candidate material. Kerrie Tucker’s first attempt at the Senate was in March 1993. David Turbayne supported her and she was close to getting in.
Our next big challenge was the 1995 ACT election. Our campaign was coordinated out of a shed in Miko Kirschbaum's O'Connor backyard and we stood nine candidates across the three electorates. We were delighted to win two seats: Kerrie Tucker in Molonglo and Lucy Horodny in Ginninderra, with an average 9% vote across Canberra. The Greens became a major player in ACT politics, with two MLAs, four paid staff and the occasional balance of power in the Assembly.
The feeling of winning winds grew stronger and the old saying came true: No army is as strong as the idea whose time has come.
Election campaigning now became a regular activity for the Party. There was a by-election for the seat of Canberra in 1995 where we achieved over 13%. In the 1996 Federal election we ran a full ticket for the first time, and opened our first party office in Petrie Plaza Civic, which was also used by the national campaign coordinator. The Australian Greens scored their first federal success with the election of Bob Brown to the Senate.
One big test was the 1998 ACT election where the future of our two Assembly seats was at stake. Lucy Horodny decided to stand down for family reasons but Kerrie Tucker stood again, now as an experienced politician. We ran 15 candidates in our biggest ever campaign, coordinated by Jonathan Millar. Our vote was maintained and Kerrie retained her seat, but unfortunately we lost on preferences in Ginninderra.
This was a setback to our Assembly work but the Party continued on campaigning with candidates in the Federal election later in 1998. After that, there was some respite from elections, with time to consolidate local and national party activity, open up a new party office first in Braddon and then in Civic, and to help organise the first Global Greens Conference which was held in Canberra at Easter 2001.
The ACT and Federal elections occurred a month apart at the end of 2001, and again we did well, Kerrie retaining her seat in the Assembly comfortably, though Shane Rattenbury missed out on a Ginninderra seat by 48 votes.
Our membership has grown rapidly since then, spurred on by rallies in early 2003 against the war on Iraq.
In 2004 Kerrie Tucker resigned from the Assembly and made another strong bid for the Senate seat but missed out again. Deb Foskey was elected in her place and during her term in the Assembly further advanced the Greens agenda.
Then came our highly successful campaign in 2008 when we secured the election of four MLAs: Meredith Hunter for Ginninderra, Shane Rattenbury and Caroline Le Couteur for Molonglo and Amanda Bresnan for Brindabella. Following the 2008 ACT Assembly Election, government was formed on the basis of an ACT Greens/ALP Parliamentary Agreement. With the balance of power, the ACT Greens has now gone on to become the key element in promoting and supporting progressive legislation through the Assembly for the next four years.
The 2010 Federal Election was extremely well organised and more members than ever before were out letterboxing, standing on stalls and at polling booths. With a record result of nearly 23% of the primary votes, Lin Hatfield Dodds made a very strong bid for the Senate and was close to joining the growing group of Greens Senators. In the House of Representative seats, Indra Esguerra got 19.84% for the seat of Fraser and Sue Ellerman 18.56% for Canberra, both among the best results for Greens in Australia.
Meanwhile the ACT Greens membership has grown to over 500, a high percentage of which are very active in the community, at stalls and at well-frequented meetings. So, we can certainly believe that the Future is Green.
The below information highlights some of the achievements of Shane and past MLAs. Full details of ACT Greens achievements for Canberra can be found in the summary document below.
Recent Achievements for Canberra
40% climate change target
The Greens put a legislated climate target at the top of our Parliamentary Agreement with the ALP when supporting them in minority Government. We campaigned to see a strong target, and in October 2010, the Assembly passed legislation for a 40% greenhouse reduction target by 2020.
Large scale solar generation
The Greens have been pushing for the ACT to include large scale solar as part of the solution to build a green economy and build our local renewable energy generation. The ACT Government have announced that the ACT will be home to 210mW of large scale generation.
Funding for a trial of Nightrider bus service
The Greens want a safe and vibrant Canberra nightlife. However, violence late at night is a problem that needs to be addressed. Better late night transport is part of the solution because it disperses people quickly and easily away from the town centre, rather than forcing people to group together and que for taxis – this is the source of much of the problem. We called for better late night transport in our discussion paper and were pleased to be able to convince the Government that a 3 month trial of a expanded late night bus service was needed.
Same sex ceremonies
All couples, regardless of sex, deserve the right to enter into a partnership before friends and family. The Greens passed legislation in 2010 to make this a reality. Now, loving couples are able to hold a binding ceremony to create their relationship, as opposed to the paper based application that was available before.
Privacy Protections for office bearers of incorporated association
A Greens Bill amended legislation so that office holders of public associations can keep their personal details off the public record, adding extra privacy and protections.
Recurrent funding for indigenous liaison officer at the Women’s Legal Centre
The Greens identified in our 5 Point Action Plan the need for continued Government funding for the indigenous liaison position at the Women’s Legal Centre. The new position has been a success with legal help being provided to many women who otherwise would have fallen through the gaps and ended up without help when they needed it most. The Government re-committed funding to the position in 2010 which is a great outcome for the Women’s Legal Centre, not to mention the women who rely on it for advice and representation
Human rights analysis of terror Act
The ACTs Counter Terrorism Legislation was passed in 2006 in response to the London Bombings. The laws intrude onto human rights by allowing prevention detention without charge and for detainees to be disallowed from contacting family and friends while locked up. Early in 2011, the UK Government issued a report that its own Counter Terrorism Laws were ‘neither proportionate or necessary’. In light of this, analysis of the ACT’s laws is justified to determine whether the laws are still necessary in 2011 and if there are less restrictive schemes that could achieve the same result. The Greens are pleased to have secured a Government commitment that the laws will be reviewed.
The Workplace Privacy Act 2011 was developed by the ACT Greens and passed in the ACT Legislative Assembly in February 2011. The legislation provides workers with greater protection of their privacy in the workplace. Employers will now have to notify staff before conding any surveillance. If an employer wishes to conduct covert surveillance in order to investigate concerns about staff behaving unlawfully, the employer will have to gain approval of a Magistrate.
Delivering on REDEX for Gungahlin
Through the ACT Greens – Labor Government Parliamentary Agreement the Greens were able to get the Government to fund a rapid bus service from Gungahlin to Kingston that runs every 15 minutes. This means people can show up at a stop servicing these routes at any time of day and be guaranteed of a short wait followed by a quick journey to their destination. The service has been very successful with high levels of patronage and the Greens are lobbying for it to be duplicated across Canberra's transport corridors.
The Greens have called for significant improvements in the way mental health services are funded and run, to better service those people in the community who are living with mental illness who have been forgotten about for too long. In 2009 the Greens issued a substantial discussion paper on the subject and were able to get the Government to go back and re-write their Mental Health policy, placing a greater focus on prevention and rehabilition, so that people are less likely to be stuck in a revolving door of crisis. The Greens have also been able to get the Government to work towards providing 12% of Health funds to mental health services, in recognition of the burden of disease that mental illness represents. This is a slow journey but wins are occuring, like new fundng for training the police, emergency service workers and teachers, as well as providing more staff to the Court's mental health team.
Recognising the risk that solariums have on skin cancer, the Greens introduced the Radiation Protection (Tanning Units) Amendment Bill 2010 into the ACT Legislative Assembly. The Bill proposed that businesses had to obtain a licence before operating a solarium. Conditions for the license included not letting people under the age of 18 or those with very fair skin (skin type I) use the solarium. If these conditions are broken, businesses were to face heavy fines and potential loss of license. While the Labor and Liberal parties did not Greens legislation in the first instance, the Government did later bring in regulations that achieved the same goal.
Recognising the problems with the school closure process in 2006, the Greens introduced a bill to ensure improved community consultation when the Government is considering closing schools. This bill was passed in 2010.
The Greens have a long history of working to address the negative outcomes of problem gambling. In 2010 we introduced and passed the Gaming Machine (Problem Gambling Assistance) Amendment Bill 2010 which created Problem Gambling Assistance Fund which will generate about $1 million PA to help problem gamblers.
Child & Young People Death Review Committee
The Greens have successfully passed laws which will establish a Child and Young People Death Review Committee (CYPDRC) for the ACT. This legislation will establish a CYPDRC which will look at trends and systemic causes which contribute to the deaths of children and young people in the Territory.
Pay Equity in the ACT Government
In 2010 the Greens called for a pay equity review of the ACT Public Service as part of a motion for International Women’s Day. We’ll continue to monitor the progress of gender equality in the ACT.
Community Sector Funding
The Greens recognise the increasing demands on the community sector and the need to fund this work appropriately. In 2009 as part of a motion about Anti-Poverty week we called for a quarantine of community sector funding from the ACT Government’s efficiency dividends.
In March 2010, the ACT Greens launched our Active Transport Plan proposing how we can achieve a change in transport patterns across the ACT. The work of the Greens in the current Assembly has already achieved some positive results in this area, including:
- increased recurrent funding for cycling and walking infrastructure
- trialling of 40kmh speed limits around shopping centres
- Government commitment in upcoming city strategies to improving bicycle parking
- Government commitment to participate in international benchmarking of cycling and walking, and signature of the International Charter of Walking
- Feasibility study to improve Northbourne Avenue
There’s still a long way to go. But the Greens are committed to changing Canberra’s transport priorities in a way that will benefit all Canberrans, and that will make Canberra a healthy and resilient city able to meet the challenges of the future.
Hot Water Bill
Greens legislation was passed in 2009 which phases in the use of environmentally friendly hot water systems. All new houses are now required to install efficient hot water systems.
The Greens legislation to address the problem of abandoned trolleys in the Canberra landscape was passed in 2010. New laws have now begun (since March 2011) to help contain trolleys, and ensure that stray trolleys are recovered quickly.
Egg retail signage
The Greens tabled the Eggs (Cage Systems) Legislation Amendment Bill in 2009 which aimed to ban the production of cage eggs in the ACT. The other parties would not support this part of the Bill, however, one part of the Bill was supported which covers retail signage for eggs. All supermarkets are now required to display shelf signage stating the conditions in which the eggs were produced.
6 Star Housing
Due to an item in the ALP-Greens Parliamentary Agreement, since July 2010, all new houses in the ACT must now meet 6 star energy efficiency ratings.