Greens leader Bob Brown has resigned as leader of the Greens. He will also resign from the Senate.
Greens deputy leader Christine Milne tweeted this morning that she had been elected the new leader.
Brown, who is 67, made the announcement to his colleagues at 10am.
He later told reporters that he had looked at Rupert Murdoch as a role model, and had recently indicated that he would stay on until 2024 “to catch up with Rupert’s age”.
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“But I’ve watched his progress in the last 18 month and I’ve decided to retire, and so here I am,” to laughter from the assembled press.
Asked by reporters why he did not stay for the introduction of the July 1 carbon tax, Brown said: “Two reasons for that. There is the political imperative of nominating again in Tasmania for the next six years in the senate – that decision has to made before July – so I wanted to make it clear that I won’t be renominating in Tasmania, give the (Tasmanian) party the opportunity to select a replacement for me as well as a second person for next year’s election.
“On July 1 I am going to enjoy that as a citizen.”
In a prepared statment, Brown said: “I am sad to leave but happy to go. It is good knowing that the Greens have such a depth of talent and experience lined up for leadership – I could only dream about that a decade ago,” Senator Brown said.
“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. 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.
“I also thank my splendid staff, including my longtime friend, confidant, and fount of good political sense, Chief of Staff, Ben Oquist,” Senator Brown said.
Senator Brown has called the Governor-General, the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Tasmanian Greens to inform them of his resignation.
“I look forward to fresh green pursuits including writing, photography, music, occasional talks, bushwalking, and getting out with Paul to see Miranda Gibson who has been perched for 120 days 60 metres high, in defence of a giant tree facing destruction in central Tasmania,” Brown said.
Brown has led the Australian Greens since the party was founded in 1992.
The Tasmanian was elected to the Australian Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket in 1996.
He oversaw rapid growth by the Greens to win 13.9% of the primary vote at the 2010 federal election.
From 2002 to 2004, when minor parties held the balance of power in the Senate, Brown became a well-recognised politician.
In 2003 Brown was the subject of international media headlines when he was suspended from parliament for interjecting during an address by George W Bush, then United States president.
Brown is the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia.