News Greens senator Lee Rhiannon to resign to make way for Mehreen Faruqi

Greens senator Lee Rhiannon to resign to make way for Mehreen Faruqi

Lee Rhiannon resign
Greens senator Lee Rhiannon will step down from parliament in August. Photo: AAP
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NSW Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has announced she will retire mid-August.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale thanked her and said she had devoted her life to fighting for a better world.

He praised Senator Rhiannon’s work on political donations reform and animal welfare.

Senator Di Natale said he wished Lee Rhiannon all the best in her future endeavours and said he looked forward to working with Mehreen Faruqi who will take over her Senate position.

Senator Rhiannon has been a divisive figure for the party in the past 12 months.

In November last year she lost the No.1 preselection spot on the party’s NSW Senate ticket to Ms Faruqi, who is a state Upper House MLC.

That defeat came after Senator Rhiannon was excluded from the party room after a bitter split with colleagues who accused her of undermining the Greens Gonski 2.0 negotiations.

The dispute centred on Senator Rhiannon’s May decision to campaign and vote against the Gonski 2.0 funding package.

At the time, the Greens were negotiating with the Turnbull Government over the $23.5 billion schools funding package.

The party eventually decided to vote against it.

“In mid-August I will retire as Greens NSW senator and Mehreen Faruqi will then be sworn in to that position,” Senator Rhiannon said on Friday.

“I warmly congratulate Mehreen and look forward to assisting with the coming state and federal election campaigns.”

Lee Rhiannon retires
Senator Rhiannon with Greens leader Richard Di Natale. Photo: AAP

In her statement, Senator Rhiannon – the oldest woman serving in Federal Parliament – said she had always believed, “a core part of the work of the Greens is building and supporting progressive campaigns”.

“When I was young, parliament was where we went to protest, not to get a job,” she said.

“My years as an MP have strengthened my belief that it is people’s action that drives progressive social change.”

Liberal senator Jane Hume tweeted a message of support for Senator Rhiannon, saying she had had “a tough road in the Greens” but had always been “courteous and considered”.

Labor’s Andrew Giles also tweeted, saying he had been “fortunate to work alongside” Senator Rhiannon.

“I’ll miss her, after August, and wish her all the best,” he said.