josh rosner

BEST WISHES BOB BROWN

In Australian Politics on April 13, 2012 at 10:14 am

Congratulations to Bob Brown and best wishes in retirement.

I would argue that Bob’s retirement is a few years overdue, but he nonetheless leaves behind a long list of achievements. He has played an important role in Australia’s political landscape and had been at the negotiating table for many important policy decisions – from both Labor and Liberal governments.

In 2007, while working for Labor but particularly sympathetic to Green politics, I suggested to a Greens staffer who was lamenting their inability to get media traction, that the time was ripe for a change in Greens leadership – to a younger generation. He told me Bob would never step down, and that a change of leadership was not the solution to the Green’s media problem.

I still believe he was wrong – on both counts. A change of leadership five years ago could have changed the face of Australian politics in ways that would likely have made the Labor-induced national angst of the past five years non-existent.

Christine Milne is an obvious choice to lead the Greens, but personally I would have preferred a younger, fresher face – Adam Bandt or Sarah Hanson Young. Regardless, the Greens are here to stay and will only increase in importance.

The challenge for Christine Milne over the coming twelve months will be to increase party membership and find a political and policy path that will challenge Tony Abbott and the Liberals and then, once Tony Abbott is prime minister next year, to hold him accountable while maintaining the Greens’ relevancy.

As a political staffer I had the opportunity to have a number of conversations with Bob. He gave generously of his time and was always intelligent and engaging. I wish him and his partner Paul the very best for the future.

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