|The Greens (WA)|
|Headquarters||PO Box Y3022
(Ground Floor, 445 Hay Street)
Perth, WA 6832
|International affiliation||Global Greens
Asia-Pacific Green Network
|The Greens WA|
|Politics of Australia
The Greens Western Australia is the state branch of the Australian Greens in Western Australia. The Greens WA was formed following the merger of the WA Greens and the Green Earth Alliance. The Party only became officially affiliated with the Australian Greens in 2003.
There are currently two representatives of the party in the Western Australian Legislative Council: Giz Watson and Paul Llewellyn. Following the snap election on 6 September 2008, from 22 May 2009 Giz Watson continues, Paul Llewellyn loses his seat, and former MLCs Robin Chapple and Lynn MacLaren and newcomer Alison Xamon will give four seats to the Greens in the Upper House. The Greens WA won their first state lower house seat at the 2009 Fremantle by-election. The Greens WA also have two representatives in the Australian Senate: Senator Rachel Siewert, who was elected in the 2004 election, and Scott Ludlam, who was elected to the Senate in the 2007 election.
The Greens WA grew out of the growing counter-cultural, environmental, social and political concerns after the fall of the Whitlam government, particularly articulated by Jim Cairns in the Down to Earth movement that saw community sustainability emerging as an important issue. An environmental campaign against the Alcoa refinery at Wagerup first brought many of the activists who were later to be involved in the Greens together. The campaign in Tasmania to prevent the damming of the Franklin River, further polarised Australia on environmental issues as never before, and many activists who had been a part of the Down to Earth movement and the Confests (Community Conference-Festivals) that it had organised in Western Australia, became involved. The leader of the opposition Bob Hawke just before his successful election to government gave a speech at the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, on the possibility of land sharing communities of the type long advocated by the Down to Earth movement, and at a 10th anniversary of the Aquarius Festival gathering at Nimbin, the Australian Association of Sustainable Communities (AASC) was formed. A Western Australian Branch of this organisation was started December 1983. Meanwhile, after the victory in saving the Gordon and Franklin Rivers in Tasmania, activists on the East Coast established "Committees of Correspondence" to keep in touch and organised a "Getting Together" Conference in Sydney the following Easter, at which the WA AASC sent 5 candidates. At this conference there was a call to establish an Australian Greens political party for the first time.
The five who went to Sydney returned and became involved in organising a "Getting Together" conference in Western Australia, held at Hollywood High School, the following Easter. Bringing together many conservation groups in Western Australia, at the conclusion of that Conference, the decision to form a WA Greens was unanimously passed.
The attempt to create a unified party, however, was very difficult. Independently of the Hollywood Conference, which was attended by Jo Vallentine, the then independent Peace Senator for Western Australia, Paul Llewellyn, Nadine Lapthorne and Kim Herbert had independently registered "The Green Party" as a name for a political party. Jan Jermalinski and others had been part of a campaign to establish a Greens group in Victoria Park and Carlisle, where they had stood a candidate against Kim Beazley of the ALP in the previous election. In addition in the following state election Louise Duxbury, living in Denmark stood for the Upper House as a "Green Development" candidate, and a "Rainbow Coalition" group, broadly sympathetic to the green movement, fielded candidates in Fremantle.
Late in 1986, a local Western Suburbs Greens formed, on the model of the Victoria Park Carlisle Greens, largely as a result of the assistance of Richard Jeffries who was an organiser with the Australian Democrats, and then a Northern Suburbs Greens formed in 1988 on the same model. Prominent Members of the Northern Suburbs greens were Eddie Speed and his wife, who later both stood for seats in various elections, Vivienne Elanta, who later stood as a candidate for the seat of Marmion, and Kim Herbert, who also stood for the Northern Metropolitan seat at a subsequent election. Similar groups started in Fremantle and elsewhere, and these groups organised a Representatives Council, which organised a constitution for the Alternative Coalition. After a protracted series of negotiations, all the separate Green groups, with the exception of the Green Party came together within the umbrella of the Green Earth Alliance, and with the transfer of Jo Vallentine's organisation to the WA Greens it found it had its first parliamentary member.
The Greens (WA) was thus "established in 1990 following the merger of the W.A Green Party and the Green Earth Alliance, which was itself the product of an earlier merger between the Alternative Coalition, the Vallentine Peace Group and Green Development. All these groups drew inspiration from the West German Greens (as they then were) as well as the many successful community campaigns in WA and throughout Australia". The election of Jim Scott to the state Legislative Council for the South Metropolitan Region in the next state election in 1993 gave it its first state representative.
"The Greens (WA) have worked closely with the Australian Greens but had not become formal members. In September 2003 The Greens (WA) held a ballot of all the membership on the question of formally joining the Australian Greens confederation. There was a 80% vote in favour. On 11 October 2003 at the Australian Greens National Conference the Greens (WA) were formally accepted as members of the Australian Greens."