The failure of the Greens to negotiate a senate deal with the Turnbull government over education funding has revealed internal tensions within the party over NSW senator Lee Rhiannon.
Fairfax Media reports that nine elected Greens, including leader Richard Di Natale, have sent a letter of complaint to the party’s national council, accusing Rhiannon of going rogue on the rest of the Greens as they attempted to negotiate the Gonski legislation with the government.
Central to their complaint is a leaflet authorised by senator Rhiannon which claimed a number of public schools in inner Sydney would lose millions of dollars in funding under the Turnbull plan.
“We were astounded that Senator Rhiannon was engaged with its production and distribution without informing [the] Party Room at a time when we were under enormous pressure from all sides as we considered our position on the [school funding] bill,” their copmplain says.
The leaflet had the potential to damage negotiations with the government, they say.
The failure of the Greens to agree to a position meant that despite being advocates for many of the concessions the government made to secure crossbench support for its education package, including an extra $4.9 billion in funding, credit for striking a deal when to 10 other crossbench senators, including One Nation and the Nick Xenophon team.
Former leader Bob Brown has described Rhiannon as the party’s version of Tony Abbott and wanted her to step down.
Fairfax Media has more on the internal fight in the Greens here.
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