Greens leader Adam Bandt looks to 'success story' of ACT government

Greens leader Adam Bandt outside the Legislative Assembly on Friday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Greens leader Adam Bandt outside the Legislative Assembly on Friday. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Federal Greens leader Adam Bandt said he hoped the "success story" of the ACT's Labor-Greens power-sharing agreement could be done at a federal level.

The Greens are ramping up federal campaigning efforts, with the party aiming to hold the balance of power in the next parliament.

Mr Bandt said the party would look to the ACT for inspiration.

Mr Bandt said he believed any swing against the Liberal-National government would put the Greens in a situation where the party would be able to negotiate a power-sharing agreement with Labor.

A federal election is due by May next year but there is speculation it could be sooner.

"We are on the edge of a minority parliament in Canberra, it will only take a few 100 votes to shift across the country and the Greens will be in the balance of power in both houses of parliament after the next federal election," Mr Bandt said.

"If we're in the balance of power at the next federal election we can kick the Liberals out and push the next government to go further and faster on the climate crisis."

In the ACT, the Greens have formed government with Labor since 2008. The ACT Greens received a huge boost at the 2020 election when six candidates were elected to the territory's parliament.

As a result, the ACT Greens were able to successfully negotiate the inclusion of several of its election commitments, including a "fossil fuel gas free" Canberra by 2040, major poker machine reforms and a pledge to build 600 community housing properties. The party also has three ministers in the territory's cabinet.

Mr Bandt was at the ACT Legislative Assembly on Friday to throw his support behind a push from Greens MLA Jo Clay for the territory parliament to sign a fossil fuel non-proliferation treaty.

"I tell the success story of the ACT government all around the country," he said.

"If the rest of Australia was more like the ACT we would be far more advanced on tackling the climate crisis and reducing inequality."

Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo, federal leader Adam Bandt, ACT MLA Jo Clay, and ACT leader Shane Rattenbury. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo, federal leader Adam Bandt, ACT MLA Jo Clay, and ACT leader Shane Rattenbury. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Mr Bandt was first elected to the House of Representatives in 2010 when Labor had a minority government. The Greens signed a parliamentary agreement with Labor.

But it ended disastrously at the 2013 election with both Labor and the Greens suffering first preference swings against them of 4.6 per cent and 3.1 per cent, respectively.

However, Mr Bandt said he believed the Greens were able to push through a lot of its policies during the 2010-13 parliament.

"When I got elected for the first time it was in a power-sharing parliament and we worked collaboratively with Labor," he said.

"We got dental into Medicare for kids, we've got action on the climate crisis and plus some key reforms that made parliament operate more transparently and democratically."

Mr Bandt said he believed a power-sharing agreement could happen again, if the Greens were to hold the balance of power.

"What that any agreement would take, that's going to be decided after the next election and that will be determined by the composition of the parliament," he said.

"Would it look exactly like what happens in the ACT, I don't know. But we can work cooperatively together to deliver stable and effective and progressive government."

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There are nine seats that the Greens are targeting at the next federal election and Mr Bandt said the seat of Canberra was one he believed the Greens could win.

"Canberra is one where we are in with a real shot and where voters will be some of the most powerful in the country," he said.

"I'll probably be spending a bit more time here in the run-up to the election."

At the 2019 federal election the Greens received 23 per cent of first preference votes in Canberra, compared to 40 per cent for Labor and 27 per cent for the Liberals.

The Greens received a 4.59 per cent swing towards them, while the Liberals suffered a 4.94 per cent swing against them.

Greens candidate for Canberra Tim Hollo, who was also the candidate 2019, said he also looked to the ACT parliament as an example.

"Canberra voters now have a long experience of what happens when you get Greens and Labor working together in government," he said.

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This story Bandt looks to ACT government 'success story' for inspiration first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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