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Greens leader eyes opposition leader’s job

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Could Australia’s first Greens minister become the party’s first opposition leader?

Tasmanian Greens leader Nick McKim would have you believe so, and experts say it’s a mathematical possibility.

Mr McKim entered cabinet as part of the power-sharing deal with former Labor premier David Bartlett after the 2010 election.

His portfolios have included education and corrections, and he may best be remembered for backing down on school closures and standing down prison guards.

During their time in government, the Greens were key supporters of Labor’s unsuccessful attempts at social reform on same-sex marriage and voluntary euthanasia.

With a Liberal victory looking likely, Mr McKim says his and partner Cassy O’Connor’s time as ministers has the Greens ready for, at least, opposition.

Considered something of a light Green, Mr McKim is a tough performer who has been tipped as a future federal leader.

The 48-year-old joined the cause during the Farmhouse Creek protests of the 1980s, when he was arrested and spent time in jail.

It was then that he met the man he’s described as a hero and mentor, Bob Brown.

Mr McKim was born in the UK and emigrated as a five-year-old, completing his education in Tasmania before working overseas and on the mainland.

After stints as a farm worker, gold prospector and ad man, and a year at university, he found himself back in Tasmania and on then senator Brown’s election team in 2001.

Mr McKim was elected to parliament in 2006 and became leader in 2008.

Along with Ms O’Connor, he was sacked from cabinet when Premier Lara Giddings called the state election in January, vowing never to share power with the party again.[polldaddy poll=7868584]

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