The Marrickville Greens and the Petersham-Newtown Local Green Groups cover the following electorates:
- Federal Seat of Grayndler and Sydney
- State seats of Newtown and Summer Hill
- Inner West Council Local Government Area
Your Greens representatives
Your Local Greens Councillors 2017-2020
Find the contact details for your four Local Green Councillors on the Inner West Council Council on the Council page of this website. Learn more about the many activities of your local Councillors on the Blog and Media sections of this website.
Greens MP for Newtown 2015-2019 – Jenny Leong
Jenny Leong is the State Member for the Electorate of Newtown in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. The electorate includes the suburbs of Redfern, Surry Hills, Camperdown, Enmore, Petersham, Darlington, Stanmore, Chippendale, Lewisham, Erskineville and Newtown.
Jenny was elected to parliament at the NSW state election on 28 March 2015. Jenny’s statewide portfolio responsibilities for the NSW Greens include:
- Creative Industries / Arts
- Human Rights
- Sexuality and Gender Identity
- Tenancy, Rental Housing and Strata
Prior to entering parliament, Jenny worked for a number of years with Amnesty International as a crisis coordinator and campaign manager in London, Hong Kong, and Sydney. She has also held the position of Manager of Community Arts and Cultural Development at the Australia Council for the Arts. Jenny has lived, studied and worked in the suburbs that make up the electorate of Newtown for nearly 20 years. While studying at the University of Sydney, she held leadership roles as a fellow on the University of Sydney Senate and as President of the Sydney University Postgraduate Association.
For more information visit Greens MP Jenny Leong’s website at http://www.jennyleong.org/.
The Greens in the Inner West – A potted history from 1980s to 2015 …
The Greens were formed in the 1980s in the inner west of Sydney, with the first Australian Greens party registered in 1984. The Greens operating largely as local branches in NSW, with other Greens groups growing out of environmental and social justice movements across the country.
In NSW in particular key movements which influenced the formation of the Greens were the “Green Bans“, which brought together unions, environmentalists, public housing tenants, feminists and residents wanting to protect against over-development, the loss of heritage and the developer corruption of the 1970s and 80s.
The Greens NSW did not take its current form until 1991, when six local groups in New South Wales federated as a state political party. Greens candidates have run in every federal election since 1984, when a single candidate ran in the federal Division of Sydney.
Running on the Greens principles of ecological sustainability, social and economic justice, grassroots democracy, disarmament and non-violence, The Greens achieved their first electoral success in NSW at the local government elections held on Saturday the 14th of September 1991 in both Marrickville and Newcastle.
In Marrickville, Labor had run Marrickville Council for nearly fifty years, and was renowned for branch stacking, violence and a close relationship with developers. The Greens campaigned on the importance of an open council, where residents had the right to speak on agenda items and to have their voices heard on planning matters.
Bruce Welch was elected to Marrickville Council and John Sutton elected to Newcastle Council, beginning an unbroken representation on both councils that continues to this day.
In other States like Tasmania environmental campaigns like Save Franklin River (involving former Greens Leader & Federal Senator Bob Brown) and new environmental & social justice parties were the fore-runners to the creations of Green Parties across Australia (and in other countries such as Germany). The Australian Greens were formed in 1992.
In 1995, Greens Candidate Ian Cohen was elected to the NSW Legislative Council, the first Greens parliamentary representative in NSW. In 1999 Cohen was joined by Lee Rhiannon, who is now a Federal Senator for the Greens.
In 2003, Cohen was joined by Sylvia Hale, a Marrickville local councillor and housing activist. After the proposed construction of the third runway at Sydney Airport in 1994, Sylvia Hale became a member of No Aircraft Noise Party. She was later elected a councillor on Marrickville Council in 1995 for No Aircraft Noise. She joined the Greens in 2000 and continued to serve on Marickville Council until 2004.
The infamous ‘Tampa’ episode in 2001 marked the rise of The Greens as a credible political force. Many progressive people could not swallow Labor’s abandonment of human rights and common decency in its support of John Howard’s harsh policies toward asylum seekers. Senator Bob Brown’s brave defence of human rights attracted many to consider the Greens.
The Iraq War solidified support as even more voters were angered by Labor’s wishy washy support (or was it opposition) to Australia’s involvement in an aggressive and unnecessary war, based on clear lies. Green ‘NO WAR’ triangles became a defining feature of the anti-war movement and boosted the Green vote at the 2003 State Election.
Colin Hesse ran as the Greens candidate against the popular and long standing member Andrew Refshauge. The Greens attracted 28.5% of the vote, signally the arrival of a significant challenge to Labor.
Prior to the 2004 local government election, Labor Mayor Barry Cotter attempted to gerrymander the council wards to secure Labor’s 45 year dominance of Marrickville Council. This backfired spectauclarly when Labor lost its permanent majority, with the Greens picking up five seats to Labor four (council has twelve seats).
In November 2004, Philip Myers ran as the Greens candidate against Anthony Albanese in the electorate of Grayndler. The Greens increased their vote from 13% to 21%.
In July 2005, Premier Bob Carr resigned followed by his Deputy and the local member for Marrickville, Dr Andrew Refshauge. An internal struggle over Labor pre-selection saw factional power broker cement his hold over the local branches (at Barry Cotter’s expense) with his wife, Carmel Tebbutt resigning from the NSW Upper House to run for the seat of Marrickville.
Deputy Mayor, Sam Byrne ran a strong campaign as the Greens candidate. The Labor Party spent $243,280 defending the seat, compared to The Greens record budget of $43,186. The Greens achieved a record primary vote of 39% (Labor 45%), reeling in Labor’s two-party preferred margin to 10% (Greens 45% – Labor 55%).
In 2005, Sam Byrne was elected the first Green mayor of Marrickville. During his term he abandoned the Mayoral Car for a bicycle, increase funding for environmental issues and gazetted the first two heritage areas for Marrickville.
In 2006, Independent Councillor Morris Hanna backed out of a mayoral deal with the backing of Labor and was drawn out of a hat to end The Greens’ tenure as Mayor. In 2007, the Greens kept their word and voted for Independent Councillor Dimitrios Thanos for Mayor (Thanos was drawn out of the hat over a Labor backed Hanna)
March 2007 saw Greens Councillor Fiona Byrne take on Carmel Tebbutt. With the Liberal’s running the Greens received an excellent result of 32.5% to Labor’s result of 46.6%.
In November 2007 a federal election was held. This was a tough election for The Greens with a strong sentiment to ‘get rid of Howard’ seeing people drift back to Labor. Greens candidate Councillor Saeed Khan ran against Anthony Albanese, holding the vote at 19%, which is fairly steady when an unfavourable distribution is taken into account (Grayndler lost ‘green’ Anandale, and picked up less ‘green’ areas in Haberfield and Croydon). The Greens concentrated on a ‘VOTE GREEN IN THE SENATE’ theme to try and re-elect NSW Greens Senator Kerry Nettle (resident of Enmore). This Senate based campaign was relatively successful, with the Senate vote in Grayndler at 21.64 (2.7% higher than the House of Representative vote). Unfortunately, despite increasing the Senate vote, the distribution of Senate quotas and preferences saw Senator Nettle lose her re-election battle.
September 2008 saw the Marrickville Council election. This election was held in the context of a deeply unpopular state government imploding. The Greens long-term campaign against developer donations gained traction in the wake of the Wollongong Council corruption scandal. A poll found 82% of people wanted developer donations banned. The Greens ran on a platform of action on climate change , against developer donations and pro-developer planning laws, and a detailed plan for Marrickville.
In 2008 the Greens won every ward convincingly, and won just about every booth in the area (even in historically weaker areas like Marrickville South and West) and a fifth seat in North Ward with a massive 53% of the vote.
In 2012 the Greens again had a strong showing in Council, with four Councillors elected.
From 2012-2016 the Greens have been an active opposition to the ALP and Liberals on Councils, who have formed an alliance to share the Mayoral and Deputy Mayoral positions.
In the 2015 State election the Greens recorded the highest primary vote ever recorded by the Greens in a state or federal electorate, in the new seat of Newtown. Jenny Leong was elected the member for Newtown, joining Jamie Parker and the new Greens MP for Ballina, Tamara Smith. Working closely with the community on issues like West Connex, affordable housing and human rights, The Greens received approximately 60% of the two candidate preferred vote.