Greens senator Lee Rhiannon has hit out at Richard Di Natale’s leadership as the party looks to reform the way it works with its NSW arm.
But one of her colleagues has come out in support of the leader, describing him as honest and decent.
“I’m proud of the job @RichardDiNatale is doing,” co-deputy leader Larissa Waters tweeted on Sunday, saying he was putting policy before politics.
Senator Waters was responding to Senator Rhiannon’s earlier claim she was disappointed in Senator Di Natale.
It follows a decision by the party room to exclude the NSW senator from discussion on contentious legislation after a rift emerged over her campaigning on schools funding.
“You need to lead for everybody and it is not just me locked out of the party room, the Greens NSW members no longer have a voice in the party room,” she told ABC TV on Sunday.
Senator Rhiannon also said it was time to make the party more democratic and for members to have a vote for the leader.
Senator Di Natale told AAP he welcomed Senator Rhiannon’s support “for the proposition I put to our national conference last November”.
Senator Rhiannon, who was accused of undermining a potential deal with the government on the so-called Gonski 2.0 policy, continues to insist she did nothing wrong.
She says it was understandable members wanted to prosecute the case for the original Gonski package and it was a “bread and butter” issue she supported.
The NSW Greens are being asked to work with the national council on how to stop its MPs being bound to vote against a decision of the federal parliamentary party room.
But Senator Rhiannon says the party needs to be more member driven and focus on global issues, such as inequality and homelessness.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with young members who join the party who want to talk about socialism,” she said.
I'm proud of my Green Party Room, especially our leader @RichardDiNatale. Politics is about making hard decisions, for the right reasons
— Peter Whish-Wilson (@SenatorSurfer) July 2, 2017
Her colleague Nick McKim is confident with goodwill the party can work through the structural issues it faces with the NSW Greens and there won’t be a split.
“Ultimately there is far, far more that unites us in the Greens than divides us,” he told Sky News.
Senator McKim said there was no time frame on changes, but he would like to see it addressed as soon as possible.