I've just stepped out of a meeting with my Party Room colleagues to send you this note. They are 10 of the best politicians I have ever known. And so, it is with a mix of optimism, pride and sadness that I am letting you know that, at that meeting, I resigned my position as Leader of the Australian Greens.
After 3 years as leader, 10 years as a senator, and 25 years in politics, the time has come.
To my family, staff, colleagues, friends, party members, supporters and voters – thank you. I have cherished your input, your passion, and your support.
From my humble beginnings in the rolling dairy hills of Wesley Vale where an alliance of farmers, fishers, scientists, environmentalists and community members stood together to prevent the construction of a polluting pulp mill, to being elected to the Tasmanian Parliament and going on to be the first woman to lead a political party in Tasmania.
There were battles against, and sometimes with, the Tasmanian Liberal Government, the subsequent Labor-Green Accord which doubled the Tassie Wilderness World Heritage Area and then the balance of power allowed us to deliver significant social change with gay law reform, gun law reform and an apology to the Indigenous Stolen Generation.
To the federal parliament, where we delivered a world-leading legislative package to price pollution – with an emissions trading scheme that worked and made the big polluters pay for their pollution, the biodiversity fund and $10 billion for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. I was proud of our achievements then and I remain proud of them now. The repeal of the carbon price was the last stand of the vanquished. The community is now leaving the old parties behind in the fossil-fool age and getting on with realising the clean energy jobs of the future.
I leave today knowing that I achieved what I set out to do when I stood as Leader – I have nurtured our growing Party Room into a team of equals, each using their dedication and expertise to deliver outcomes for the community. I have overseen the Greens' electoral success, from retaining all our MPs and gaining one in the 2013 election, to successful state election campaigns in Victoria, Queensland and NSW which have seen our state parliamentary representation increase to record levels.
The Greens have proven that working together with a clear vision for our country's future and to speak with voters directly brings electoral and societal change. I have led the Australian Greens through a period of reform and modernisation which stands it in good stead for our future electoral success.
For me, life after parliament is not, however, life after politics. The fight for action on global warming will continue and I will take my passion and all that I've learnt, to that fight standing shoulder to shoulder with the community for climate justice. I'm looking forward to continuing my international advocacy and to holding Australia to account on the international stage.
The Greens are a party of vision. We are the party who can deliver the caring society and clean environment Australians deserve. We are the only viable alternative to the old parties – and we have the strength and the will to make a difference.
Best wishes and thanks to you all,
PS Please consider joining the Australian Greens to be part of our bright, green, future. Click here: http://greens.org.au/join