Greens MP Adam Bandt and Greens leader Senator Christine Milne, pictured last year, have laughed off claims that there are tensions between them. Photo: Alex EllinghausenChristine Milne and Adam Bandt have fronted a joint press conference together, laughing off claims that there are tensions between them, following reports that Senator Milne’s leadership is in doubt.
The Greens leader and deputy leader stood up in Hobart on Monday morning, where Senator Milne dismissed a report that fellow senator Sarah Hanson Young said the party was ”marching to a slow death” under her leadership.
This comes as the party grapples with a drop in its primary vote at the most recent federal election.
”I think the main thing is that the Australia people can see the Greens have got a strong leadership team. I’m delighted Adam is here with me today,” Senator Milne said.
Senator Milne did not say, when asked, whether or not she had spoken to Senator Hanson-Young about her reported remarks.
”Sarah came out yesterday saying she totally supported the leadership team, that is all that matters.”
Senator Milne also joked that the only tension between Mr Bandt and herself was that they supported different teams in the AFL grand final on Saturday.
This follows reports in Fairfax Media last week that Mr Bandt was going to make a run for the leadership but called it off because he did not have the numbers.
When pressed on Monday, Mr Bandt said he did not seek the Greens leadership.
”I’m not going to continue the commentary about this, because I think people are jumping at shadows,” he told reporters.
”I did not seek the leadership and I’ve been very, very clear about that.”
Mr Bandt did not directly answer when asked if he had been approached for the leadership, pointing to a statement he had put out on the matter.
On Friday, Mr Bandt issued a statement in which he said he ”did not seek the position of Leader, as some have rumoured.”
”Christine and I are a strong, united leadership team.”
On Monday, Mr Bandt cautioned that the Labor party had spent the past two years ”tearing itself apart” on leadership issues.
The member for Melbourne said the Greens job now was to take the ”fight” up to Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
In a routine post-election spill of party positions last Monday, Senator Milne was returned as leader and Melbourne MP Mr Bandt was returned as deputy.
It was revealed last week six of the party’s 18 most senior staffers, including Senator Milne’s chief-of-staff, Ben Oquist, had left.
Mr Oquist, who had previously worked for former leader Bob Brown, said he ”left on good terms” but ”fundamental differences in opinion in strategy had emerged”.
With Bianca Hall
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