Long-time Greens member and star candidate Alex Bhathal has sensationally quit the party, claiming she has lost faith in its governance and was subject to years of bullying.
In a lengthy statement on her website, Ms Bhathal – who repeatedly contested the inner-Melbourne seat of Batman – said the party was “failing the most basic standards of transparency, due process and good governance”.
“I can no longer remain silent about the abuses of power and process that seem to be endemic within the organisation,” Ms Bhathal wrote on her website Friday.
The stinging rebuke comes as the Greens prepare for a looming federal election.
According to The Age, internal membership figures show as many as one-third of Victorian Greens members have quit the party in the 21 months to December.
Between March 2017 and December 2018, the party lost 30 per cent of its Victorian membership, from 3962 paid members to 2750.
The Greens’ federal leader Dr Richard Di Natale and deputy leader Adam Bandt have both remained silent in the wake of the allegations.
But Ms Bhathal’s resignation also comes as a pre-emptive strike.
The social worker and refugee advocate was due to face misconduct charges at a state council meeting on Saturday for negative comments she made about the party in a Guardian Australia article last year.
While Ms Bhathal alleged she was “effectively being bullied out of the party”, the candidate herself has faced accusations of bullying by fellow Greens employees.
Last January, a dossier of complaints against Ms Bhathal signed by 18 members of the Darebin Greens branch calling for her to be expelled from the party was leaked to the media.
The allegations, which included bullying and intimidation on Ms Bhathal’s behalf, surfaced in the middle of the candidate’s latest campaign for the federal seat of Batman which she ultimately lost.
Ms Bhathal continues to deny all allegations of bullying.
“I still believe in the Greens’ vision for a changed world and there are many, many good people within the Party. But I can no longer be part of an organisation that does this to people.”
“I am completely disillusioned and cannot in good conscience remain in the Party. Sadly, I feel I have no choice but to go.”