Former Greens senator Larissa Waters could face at least two candidates in vying for the top spot on the Greens Senate ticket in Queensland at the next federal election. Waters is looking to return to parliament following the dual citizenship debacle of 2017.
Waters, the Greens deputy leader in 2017, was forced to resign in July after discovering she was a dual citizen due to being born in Canada to Australian parents. This meant Waters was ineligible to have been elected to parliament.
The Australian Greens is in the process of preparing for the next federal election, due in 2019, and has begun the process of preselecting candidates. Waters has since renounced her dual citizenship, and has already flagged her intention to run again.
Waters was elected on a three-year term, meaning that when the next election is held, her replacement – Andrew Bartlett – will need to recontest his seat.
According to Guardian Australia, Bartlett has said he is already planning to run again.
Today, former Greens staffer turned anti-Adani coal mine activist Ben Pennings threw his hat into the ring, announcing he too would contest the preselection.
"Our party must start to seriously challenge the dominant culture of over-consumption and massive waste," he wrote in a Facebook post. "It’s simply not enough to stop bad projects, or to power our destructive economic system differently. We have to build better ways to structure and govern our communities, learn from other cultures and create new ways of doing things."
Pennings said the Greens needed to focus beyond the "inner-city political establishment" and address the needs and concerns of people in outer suburbs, and rural and regional towns.
Pennings was also on the 2016 election ticket for the Greens, and has previously run for mayor in the Brisbane City Council elections, picking up 10.4% of the vote.
For what it's worth, Waters has welcomed the competition.
Preselection opens tomorrow.
It will be the second high-profile preselection battle for the federal Greens in recent months, following NSW MLC Mehreen Faruqi defeating incumbent senator Lee Rhiannon in a divisive preselection contest for the top spot on the Greens ticket in New South Wales.
Josh Taylor is a Senior Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
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