Greens turn a new leaf

Christine Milne assumes the leadership of the Greens following the shock resignation of Bob Brown – and she has some pretty big shoes to fill.

Bob Brown has this morning announced his resignation as leader of the Greens and deputy Christine Milne has now been elected as leader.

Brown will also resign from the Senate, after 16 years' service, when his Tasmanian replacement is available in June.

Whatever you think about Bob Brown, there is no question he has been an incredibly successful politician, one who has grown support for the Greens Party to record levels as well as formed a minority government and ushered in the introduction of a price on carbon.

Christine Milne, having been the Greens chief spokesperson on climate change issues for some time, already carries a high profile. From what has been seen publicly it seems unlikely that her leadership will signal a wide departure from what the Greens have stood for to date. Also with Christine Milne, what you see is what you get. She behaves the same way behind closed doors as in public.

What may differ most is the personal style and communication ability of the two. Milne tends to come across as a lecturing mother, whereas Bob Brown is a little softer and possibly more charming in demeanor. Still this may not be an electoral hindrance in appealing to those people with a predilection towards voting for the Greens.

In some respects these voters may like Christine Milne lecturing us about our short-sighted and selfish behaviour. But this lecturing style is probably unlikely to help broaden the Greens electoral support beyond the already converted. Also it may make some in the business community and the working class more hostile and suspicious of policies that the Greens have had some influence over.

Time will tell.

For more commentary on Bob Brown's resignation please click here.

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