Christine Milne has resigned as leader of the Australian Greens. Richard Di Natale has assumed her role.
Senator Milne says she informed her party colleagues of her shock decision on Wednesday morning before announcing it on social media.
Feeling optimistic, proud & sad to announce I’m not contesting 2016 election, and so I resign as Leader of Australian Greens
— Christine Milne (@senatormilne) May 6, 2015
“After 25 years in politics, I am looking forward to spending more time in my beautiful home state of Tasmania, with friends and family, and especially as I am soon to be a grandmother,” she said in a public statement.
Just hours later, senior Greens members convened to appoint Senator Richard Di Natale as their new leader. He was elected unopposed.
Following the party room meeting, Senator Milne emerged to give her endorsement of the new leader.
“He’s been absolutely a stalwart in the last few years and built a real profile, especially for his concern around health in particular,” she said.
Senator Di Natale returned the compliment, praising Senator Milne’s stewardship of the Australian Greens.
“She came to this job following on from Bob Brown, who was as we all know a colossus in the history of the Green movement, and Christine has more than filled those shoes,” he said.
On assuming the new role, Senator Di Natale proclaimed the Greens as “the natural home of progressive, mainstream Australian voters” and highlighted Medicare as one of his key battlegrounds as leader.
“We’ve been told we can’t afford decent health care at the moment,” he said.
“We’ve been told if you can’t afford to see a doctor, tough luck. That’s not the sort of country we want to be.”
IMAGE: Library image of Senator Christine Milne in Parliament. New leader Richard Di Natale is seated behind her, to the right. (Photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)