Bob Brown resigned as leader of the Australian Greens earlier today.
The recent Green Oration featured a song cycle; words and music written by Bob Brown that ended in a sing along involving the audience, who had both words and music supplied to them amongst a ream of pamphlets and stickers as they arrived in Hobart’s beautiful colonial town hall.
The song followed a visionary and – some might say ‘out there’ speech from Bob that celebrated the 40th anniversary of the world’s first Green party and discussed how extraterrestrials may view this earth and the rapacious use of its resources. It also showcased the best and worst of this man, the leader of the Australian Greens since 1996 and the Tasmanian Greens before that. It showed his big picture thinking, his intellect, eloquence and his compassion – as well as referencing ET.Brown has been a visionary leader, though the nuances of his party’s thought and policy is easily lost in the black and white reporting of our 24 hour news cycle. Though he is surrounded by a strong team of staff and senators, it remains to be seen what his resignation will mean for the Greens in the lead up to the 2013 election. He is, after all, the most recognised face and voice in the Green movement in contemporary Australia. In the face of the petty leadership kerfuffles of the other major parties, the Greens have been resolute in their support of Bob. Christine Milne, who will take over the leadership, is similarly respected amongst the Green movement, though she lacks the charisma of the man affectionately known as ‘Sir Bob’ amongst supporters.
The very reasons that Brown is respected and admired by so many have left him open to criticism from conservatives. He speaks his mind, he questions development, he suggests reform that will not benefit the purses of a few. He is openly gay, he writes poetry.Brown, quoted in ABC’s live blog of his resignation, said "I am sad to leave but happy to go. It is good knowing that the Greens have such a depth of talent and experience lined up for leadership - I could only dream about that a decade ago."
The Greens are dead! Long live the Greens!