Greens NSW Senator Lee Rhiannon has officially announced she will be retiring from her seat in the middle of August in order to make room for the current MLC for the Upper House, Mehreen Faruqi.
Senator Rhiannon has been somewhat of a divisive figure within the Greens party over the last year.
Last November Senator Rhiannon lost the #1 preselection candidate spot on the Greens NSW Senate ticket, with Ms Farqi taking the top spot. This happened after she had been excluded from the Greens party room after a acrimonious split with fellow members who made accusations that Senator Rhiannon had undermined the party’s negotiations on Gonski 2.0.
The fight was focused around Senator Rhiannon’s decision in May 2017 to both vote and campaign against the funding package for Gonski 2.0. At that time the Greens party was in negotiations with the Coalition Government regarding the schools funding package worth approx. $23.5 billion AUD.
The Greens party eventually decided that it would vote against Gonski 2.0 funding.
Despite differences between her and the party at large, Senator Rhiannon wished the best to her successor and said that she was looking forward to working together. She said that she “always put the party first” and that she believed Ms Faruqi was the best Senator to run in the next election.
She went on to say that it was “critical” that the Greens party was well-represented in the state of New South Wales.
Richard Di Natale, leader of the Greens party, gave his thanks to Senator Rhiannon and said of her that she had devoted her life to campaigning for a better world. He went on to praise her work on animal welfare and reform to political donations.
Senator Rhiannon revealed that she was not keen to re-enter the political scene in NSW and said that she had no other roles planned ahead at this stage. However, she did say that she was resigning from Parliament and that she was “not resigning from politics”.