Greens remove Victorian Convenor over election technicality

Samantha Ratnam

Samantha Ratnam, leader of The Greens in Victoria (pictured), has announced that the results of their recent internal elections for a new Convenor have been put aside because they did not correctly follow the party’s rules.

Members and supporters of The Greens raised concerns over the election of Linda Gale as Victoria’s new convener, highlighting her history speaking out against trans and gender diverse people.

Among those publicly raising objects were federal MPs including senators Janet Rice, Mehreen Faruqi and Lidia Thorpe, new lower house MPs Max Chandler-Mather and Stephen Bates. Victorian Greens MPs Tim Reed and Sam Hibbins had also voiced their concerns over the appointment.

Posting to Twitter Ratnam said it had been decided that the election of Gale was invalid, and new elections would be held.

“Earlier this week, I took action under the party’s rules to have our recent election for convenor set aside, as the rules for the election weren’t followed correctly. Specifically, candidates weren’t given the opportunity to communicate with members about their candidacy.” Ratnam said.

Ratnam said the omission of this part of the selection process had ” materially impacted the outcome of the election.” No date was given for the re-run election, but Ratnam publicly urged Linda Gale not to recontest.

“The rights of trans and gender diverse people are not up for debate. To defend the use of trans-exclusionary language and allow debates about whether trans women should have access to the same spaces as cis women is to deny their very identities and right to equality.

“There are limits to all debates. We don’t allow a debate on whether people of colour should have access to the same spaces as white people – because it’s racist. In the same way, the rights of trans people should not be debated – because it is transphobic.” Samantha Ratnam said.

Gale had previously published a statement to the Greens website, stating that trans rights are non-negotiable.

“All trans and gender diverse people are valid and deserve to live their lives free from harassment and discrimination. The role of the Convenor is to advance all Greens policies, and I will do so,” Gale’s statement read.

“As Convenor, I will uphold and fight for the right of trans and gender diverse people to live their authentic lives free from harassment and discrimination, just as I will fight for the rights of First Nations people, women, refugees, gay and lesbian people, people with disabilities, and people of colour. The Greens are committed to genuine social justice – a commitment I embrace wholeheartedly.”

Graeme Watson

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