The assertions of rampant organisational bullying within the Greens continue to tarnish the party’s image. That’s despite the best efforts by Australian Greens leaders, who have downplayed concerns and blamed a clash of personalities for the resignation of a long-term member.
The most recent resignation comes from Alex Bhathal, a six-time failed federal candidate who says she’d endured five years of ‘relentless organisational bullying’ within the party.
My children are traumatised
She said she’d been subject to rumours and character attacks, and the decision to leave was ‘heartbreaking’.
‘I am exhausted and worn down and my children have been traumatised. I’m leaving because I need to get out of this awful situation and get my life back’, Ms Bhathal wrote on her website.
‘I have lost faith in the party’s governance and I can no longer remain silent about the abuses of power and process that seem to be endemic within the organisation.
‘I am effectively being bullied out of the party.’
However, Federal leader Richard Di Natale said the reason Bhathal resigned was for an isolated incident.
‘This was a longstanding interpersonal conflict in one branch, in one state, within the country, he told ABC Radio.
‘It caused considerable hurt to many people who were involved. As a party we let people down, we didn’t have our disputes resolution processes working for people and as a result, we saw that conflict spill out publicly.’
Not a reflection on the party
But despite numerous negative accounts coming out of the party, Dr Di Natale denies the Greens had lost a third of its membership within a single year. Instead, he says the loss had occurred over ‘a couple of years’, as the cohort wanted to solely focus on policy.
In response to Bhathal’s resignation, Victorian party leader Samantha Ratnam said the incident occurred ‘in one branch, in one state’, and is not a reflection on the nature of the party itself, AAP reports.
However, she has acknowledged that their ‘processes in the past haven’t served as well as they should have to prevent this conflict escalating’, and that they would serve the party better in the future.
Di Natale reported during the interview that a conflict resolution has since been introduced into the branch.
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