Australia’s Greens party, which holds the balance of power in the nation’s upper house, will focus on selling its vision for the economy to voters, new leader Christine Milne said.
“I’m hoping that perhaps under my leadership, we can go out with a stronger articulation, not only of our vision for the country, but how our economic strategy would support it,” Milne, who replaced leader Bob Brown on April 13, said in a Network Ten television interview broadcast yesterday.
Australia’s minority Labor government has relied on Greens party lawmakers to pass legislation including taxes on carbon emissions and profits of iron-ore and coal producers. Prime Minister Julia Gillard was forced to renege on a pre-election promise not to implement a price on carbon in exchange for Greens support to form a government and back the legislation.
“I reassured the prime minister that our agreement stands” during a phone call with Gillard, Milne said. “We’re looking forward to having some discussions of how we work together.”
The Greens, who have one elected member in the House of Representatives and nine in the Senate, can appoint a new upper house member under parliamentary rules to replace Brown, 67, who said he’s retiring from political life. The former party leader will resign from the Senate in June when a replacement from his home state of Tasmania is named.
Adam Bandt, the Greens’ sole member in the lower house, was elected Milne’s deputy.
Milne, 58, led a campaign to halt the construction of a paper pulp mill near her home in rural Tasmania before being elected to the state’s parliament in 1989, according to a biography e-mailed by the Greens. She was elected to the federal Senate in 2004 and has served as the Greens deputy since 2008.
“The Greens want to look at economic tools as a way of facilitating outcomes for the community,” she said. “We look at what sort of society would Australia want in the future. We want an investment in education, research and development.”