PK: Joining me now is the party's co-deputy leader Larissa Waters, who's been reelected.
It's a role she was already in, and she's now chosen to keep it.
Larissa Waters, welcome. Larissa: Hi, PK, good to be with you.
PK: Congratulations of course, too. Why didn't you run for leader?
Larissa: Well, it's a bit personal, but I'm a single parent now of two young kids.
And I have stepped up to be leader in the Senate for the Greens, so I have made a decision to increase my responsibilities.
I'm really very happy to stay on as the co-deputy leader,
and I think Adam will do a marvellous job. I think he's the best person for the job
and I look forward to supporting him and leading our excellent team in the Senate.
PK: You are a progressive political party, and yet you've only had one female leader in Christine Milne.
I understand your own personal reasons, every individual makes their own choices,
but it has always struck me as unusual that the Greens,
being a progressive political movement and side of politics,
still reproduces similar results to the main parties in terms of the leaders.
Larissa: Well I mean we've got a fantastic bunch of people, we've got a
long and proud record of having more women than men in our party room, it's
baked into our DNA to live our values in terms of diversity. Sure, we've got more
to go in that respect, but I'm on the leadership team: I'm the leader in the Senate.
People make their decisions based on what's happening for them in their personal lives,
and no one nominated for the role but Adam. We all got behind Adam, he was the clear choice,
and he has our collective party room's full support.
I'm looking forward to the opportunity for our party members to have an input into that,
when the process that we're undertaking at the minute finishes. That process hasn't finished yet, so
we simply conducted today under the current rules. But I'm confident that we'll have
the support of our broader party membership as well,
and we'll take this fight up to the two big parties, who are sadly doing the bidding of the massive donors that fund their election campaigns.
We just got those figures yesterday- as I'm sure you know Patricia, it's a bit of a busy day for the gallery, but-
we saw a million dollars given to both of the big parties in an election year from the fossil fuel sector.
And hey presto, we've got the Prime Minister now saying that gas is somehow a solution to the climate crisis,
that he's going to go from one fossil fuel to another fossil fuel, to somehow fix this problem.
Well, it's no surprise that big gas was one of the very large contributors to the LNP,
and they also donated generously to Labor as well, and
I just reckon people are fed up with thinking their politicians are for sale -
I'm fed up with it, it's a sentiment that's expressed a lot to me on the streets,
and so cleaning up politics, getting rid of that influence of dirty
money and vested interests is something that all of our Greens team is
passionate about, and certainly I'll I hope to keep working on that issue as well.
PK: So, what new direction might this new leadership team take the Greens in?
I mean, every leader and team has a different approach, what can we expect?
Larissa: Well it's early days, and we're in a position where our party guides us in terms of the policies,
and the values, and the principles that we stand for.
And of course, we put that information up on our website for all to see.
We don't sort of swing in the breeze in terms of what we stand for.
People know what we stand for, and we don't change that unless the evidence is there for that.
So, certainly, our policy position won't be changing. But what Adam did emphasize today was that
we want to start talking more about the Green New Deal, which is a concept with a lot of history associated with it
Basically, it boils down to big government investment to generate jobs, and provide services to assist people,
whilst tackling the climate crisis. So it's a framework to make sure that people can have their basic needs met,
that we stop gearing our economy to give more to those who already have enough, and we stop with
these enormous handouts to big corporations- who frankly don't even pay the tax that they should- but we
start actually investing in our communities, giving people the services they need,
like dental, putting dental into Medicare so people can afford to see the dentist,
because it doesn't matter what your credit card balance is, you could just show your Medicare card.
Like properly funding our public education system, there's a lot of fees that get added.
I know as a parent that sends their kids to public schools, we've got to fix that up, and of course,
Let's actually start manufacturing things again.
Let's be a renewable energy superpower, that can then power that great manufacturing renaissance.
PK: Your new leader Adam Bandt claimed that
Scott Morrison's action on climate change will lead to three times as many
deaths as the most recent bushfire crisis in which 33 people I understand
lost their lives. That's pretty strong rhetoric, in fact, it was just criticized
by Anthony Albanese who said that it's not the kind of rhetoric that gets people onside.
Do you agree with using language like that? Larissa: Yes. We are in a climate crisis.
And the point Adam was making very well, was that even at the one degree of warming that we are
all currently facing, we've seen 33 people die
from the worst fires that the nation has experienced, that have been going on for five whole months now--
challenging our emergency services personnel,
challenging communities, and challenging everyone who is concerned about our community and our planet.
Five months of that, and that's just with one degree of warming.
Meanwhile, we've got the Prime Minister, who says that he wants to keep on track with his targets.
Well, even if he does keep on track with them- which nobody believes-
his targets would take that warming to three degrees.
That's why Adam's saying the effects will be three times as bad: because that's the plan of this government.
The only plan they've got for climate is to keep opening more coal mines,
prop up coal-fired power stations with public money that they should be spending on renewable energy,
hospitals, and schools, and to keep doing the bidding of big coal and big gas, that are donating to get them reelected.
It's legalized corruption, and it's endangering people's lives.
PK: When I put it to him, and asked how will you deal with this new Greens leader, or what do you make of this --
because of course on the left side there is a competitive nature to the Greens/Labor relationship,
most people know that --
he said he expected Adam Bandt to use kind of
stronger rhetoric, and this kind of more inflammatory language, is that right?
Larissa: Well, we want to work with whatever progressive party that wants to get action on the climate.
The government has not shown any willingness to do that-
PK: I'm asking a question on the language. Will it be more inflammatory, or do you accept that assessment?
Larissa: I don't think that language is inflammatory. I think Adam is telling it how it is.
The science is terrifying, and I think it's perfectly legitimate to give voice to that
when you've got a government that is in such wanton neglect of reality and science,
and sadly when the Labor Party are not prepared to take on the coal influences within their own party.
So we'll keep calling it how it is. We do want this government out, they're terrible,
they're mean to people, they're terrible on the planet, and they don't want to do anything about the climate
because they're taking money from the polluters.
We will not withhold judgment from other parties who are taking donations from those very same big dirty industries.
We want to clean up the system, so that we can finally get policies that help people and protect the planet.
We make no apologies for that.
PK: Adam Bandt also said he wants to take on big corporations, the fossil fuel industry of course,
and he said that big business that makes its money by killing people should be essentially worried.
Is that the kind of language we can expect more of?
And do you think that brings people on your side, or does it alienate people?
Larissa: Well, Adam was responding to a question that was put in those terms, and the point that he was making,
and again I think he made it very well, was that fossil fuel companies are making profits off an industry that is
endangering us all, and we have alternatives that create more jobs, reduce power prices, and protect the planet.
So, just because those big fossil fuel corporations are used to getting their way because they donate
to the major parties, well that needs to change, and we are putting them on notice:
that we will continue to campaign to clean up the system,
continue to campaign for action on the climate emergency,
and that this Parliament shouldn't be about delivering for the 1% and the big corporates.
This is meant to be a representative democracy.
We are meant to be here furthering the interests of the community and the planet.
And if that's going to upset some folks in big business who make money off coal, oil, and gas, well-- it's not like they're surprised--
We have long held those views, and if Adam wants to phrase it that way, then I stand by that.
PK: Senator, thank you so much for joining us, and congratulations of course, again.
Larissa: Thanks, PK.
PK: Larissa Waters there, and she is the deputy leader of the Greens, co-leader with Nick McKim.
And of course Adam Bant has become the new leader of the Greens after Richard Di Natale announced yesterday-
no one was expecting it to come yesterday, we knew he was maybe thinking about it,
but that he no longer wanted to remain Greens leader.