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Bob Brown resigns as Greens leader, Christine Milne takes top job: Midday Roundup

Bob Brown has resigned as leader of the Australian Greens, and will also step down from his Senate position, it has been revealed.

Greens deputy leader Christine Milne has just said on Twitter that she has been elected as the party’s new leader.

"I'm honoured and excited to have been elected leader," Milne wrote.

67-year-old Brown has served in the Senate for 16 years, and will step down in June when his replacement is available to start, his party said in a statement.

"It is prime time to hand over the reins. I offer a huge 'thank you' to the 1.7 million Australian voters who elected our Green team, and to my nine colleagues: they have made each Green year in this Parliament better than the year before – though the best is yet to come,” he said.

“For example, our policies for fairly taxing the resources boom and carbon polluters, uniquely enable the Greens to fund a national disabilities insurance scheme, the Gonski education reforms, Denticare, renewable energy businesses, as well as progress on High Speed Rail linking our major cities.”

A press conference is expected to be held this afternoon regarding the changes.

Brown has become a prominent member of the Australian political scene over the past two decades, leading the Greens to a relative victory at the 2010 election – they now hold the balance of power in the Senate.

Shares rise after strong Wall Street lead

The sharemarket has opened 1% higher this morning after a solid lead on Wall Street, where stocks rose after investors largely ignored a jobs report that confirmed the recovery remains sluggish.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was up 43.7 points or 1% to 4324.3 at 12.00 AEST, while the Australian dollar rose to $US1.04c.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 181 points or 1.4% to 12,986.6, despite a jobs report showing the recovery remains sluggish.

Transurban’s revenue up 5.1% in March quarter

Toll road operator Transurban Group says toll revenue for the March quarter rose 5.1% from the prior corresponding period to $230.6 million.

Transurban says all its roads generated more revenue in the three months to the end of March, except for Sydney's M2 motorway which continues to be affected by major roadworks. 

Toll increases on some roads helped boost revenue.

Transurban owns Melbourne's CityLink, Sydney's Lane Cove Tunnel and the M2 and holds major stakes in Sydney's Eastern Distributor, Westlink M7 and M5, and the Pocahontas Parkway in Virginia in the United States.

"We continue to see robust revenue growth in the Transurban portfolio," Transurban chief executive Chris Lynch said in a statement.

ANZ cuts jobs in wealth division 

ANZ Banking Group has fired 230 workers from its wealth management business across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide.

The reductions, which form part of the 1,000 job cuts ANZ flagged earlier this year, were blamed on changing customer preferences for investment products, as well as new margin and cost pressures.

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