Despite the majority of citizens ineligible to vote for them, the Greens are now in campaign mode as the hunt for a new MLC begins.
Seven candidates have stepped up to fill the casual vacancy in the NSW Upper House to be left by Greens Senate hopeful Cate Faehrmann, and all of them are female.
When a NSW member of the Legislative Council resigns, a member of their own party replaces them. The entire Greens membership in NSW has the opportunity to vote for Ms Faehrmann’s replacement.
Nominations closed on the January 21 and the process is expected to take until early April, involving six candidates forums across the state. The first was held last Saturday in north west Sydney.
The following Greens politicians will vie for the vacant MLC position:
* Dr Mehreen Faruqi is an associate professor and lecturer in environmental management at the University of NSW. She ran a successful campaign against Labor’s Ron Hoenig in the Heffron by-election last year, capturing 23 per cent of first preferences. Dr Faruqi’s strong on-the-ground campaigning skills netted a 4.4 per cent swing towards the Greens at a time when voting patterns swung conservative.
* Former Leichhardt Mayor Rochelle Porteous inherited the mayoralty after Jamie Parker left to be the first Greens MP in the NSW lower house. She was elected in October 2011 to the executive body of the NSW Local Government Association.
* Isabel McIntosh has been deeply involved in the Lock the Gate campaign against coal seam gas mining, and is aligned with the more conservative faction of the Greens, led by Jeremy Buckingham in NSW.
* Susan Wynn served one term as Deputy Mayor on Wyong Council. She lists new community gardens, a reduction in the Council’s carbon output, more public pathways, improved e-waste procedures and an anti-graffiti policy among her achievements.
* Suzie Wright is involved in the campaigns to protect Cumberland Plain Woodland and stop coal seam gas. She stood for the federal seat of Lindsay in 2010 and claims to be responsible for doubling the Greens vote in western Sydney over the past six years.
* Signe Westerberg led the Greens’ first assault on Liverpool Council last year, winning 4 per cent of the vote in the mayoral ballot.
* Jane Oakley is a former public servant. She ran for Lake Macquarie Council in 2012 and believes Greens’ policies reflect evidence-based solutions to social and environmental problems.
* Cathy Griffin has served on Manly Council since 2008. She was elected to the NSW Local Government Association executive at the same time as Ms Porteous. Ms Griffin spent 17 years as an officer in the armed services.
NSW Greens preselection rules prevent candidates from talking to ‘journalist-based media’. But for the first time, candidates can interact with Greens members publicly on social media. The preselection race can be followed on twitter with the hashtag #nswgreenspreselection. All of the candidates are also on Facebook.