Australian Greens Senator for Victoria Dr Richard Di Natale has resigned as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens.
“It has been a privilege and an honour to lead the Australian Greens in the federal parliament for the past four years, fighting every day for the values that millions of Australians care so deeply about,” Di Natale said.
“But leading a political party is a tough, demanding job so after nearly a decade as a Senator - half that time as leader - I have decided to step aside as Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens.”
“Before I became one of them, I thought that politicians who said they want to ‘spend more time with their family’ were guilty of using one of the biggest cliches in politics. As it turns out, in some cases it’s true. My boys are 9 and 11 years old and they have only ever known their dad as a busy, tired and sometimes grumpy politician. As they grow up quickly to become young men, I want to spend more time by their side than a relentless political schedule allows.
“Looking back on the last decade in Parliament, there are so many things I am proud of. The Carbon Price we negotiated in 2010 with the Gillard Government, which showed what can be accomplished when political parties work together for a common goal; the much-needed royal commissions into the banking and disability sectors and, of course, the historic vote to achieve marriage equality.”
“As for what comes next for the Greens, I have great confidence in the intelligence, compassion and courage of every one of my parliamentary colleagues. But the success of our party and cause has never and will never depend upon one person. Our party will succeed because we are part of a much broader community movement, a movement that is growing stronger each day.
“I don’t know what comes next for me, but I intend to continue to make a positive contribution to the issues about which I have been so passionate for my entire adult life: Green politics, climate change, health, issues affecting First Nations people and tackling inequality.
“So many Australians are making it clear that they want urgent climate action and as a Greens MP, I am proud to have represented them in our Parliament. I will be ending my time as leader filled with optimism about the future, buoyed by the millions of young people who I marched alongside during the student climate strike in Melbourne last year.
“The future of progressive politics is in the Parliament and in the streets, and I am filled with confidence about the direction that each is heading.”
NOTE: Selection of the new leadership team will be resolved 24 hours after leadership roles become vacant, in accordance with Party Room rules.
Dr Richard Di Natale was the leader of the Australian Greens from 6th May 2015 to 3rd February 2020. He was elected to the federal parliament in 2010 and was the Greens’ first Victorian Senator.
Prior to entering parliament, Richard was a GP and public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory, on HIV prevention in India and in the drug and alcohol sector.
Richard champions evidence-based solutions to the major problems facing our community today: climate change, growing economic inequality and the destruction of our environment.
Richard firmly believes that our democracy should be transparent and work for all of us, not just those who can buy a seat at the table. He is a leading voice in the campaign to clean up politics by ending corporate influence and donations to political parties.
Richard's achievements in parliament include working in the team that negotiated the Carbon Price with Julia Gillard’s Government in 2010, which saw billions of dollars flow into renewable energy projects from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), negotiated billions of dollars in Medicare funded dental care; and got $250 million of tobacco money out of the Future Fund.
As party leader he won cross-party support for a federal ICAC to clean up politics and passed a bill to establish one through the Senate; drove the push for the much-needed royal commissions into the banking and disability sectors; secured $100 million dollars for Landcare and championed medicinal cannabis and drug law reform. In Parliament, Richard consistently pushed to put the climate crisis on the agenda; and fought for higher standards for MP’s - leading the Australian Greens walkout during Pauline Hanson’s racist and bigoted maiden speech to the Senate in 2016.
Richard also led the Greens to their second highest ever election result in 2019.
Richard, his wife Lucy and two young sons live off the grid on a farm in the foothills of Victoria's Otway Ranges. The son of Italian migrants, Richard grew up in Melbourne.