After a 16-year career in Parliament, Senate member and Greens leader Bob Brown has resigned.
“It is prime time to hand over the reins,” Mr Brown said in a statement.
The Greens’ deputy leader Christine Milne will fill the 67-year-old politician’s shoes, and three candidates are up for her vacated position, said the Sydney Morning Herald. Mr Brown has led the Australian Greens party since its formation in 1992.
“Under Bob's wise leadership, the Greens have grown into the undisputed third force in Australian politics, with our vision, policies and action towards a healthier, cleverer, cleaner future embraced by 1.7 million Australians,” Senator Milne said.
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“Under my leadership, we will work tirelessly towards making Australia a great place to live and work, now and into the future; a country whose government values what our people value.”
Over the course of his political career, Mr Brown successfully campaigned for increased protection of Tasmania's wilderness areas, Aboriginal children's rights, same-sex marriage, and his opposition of the Iraq invasion, the latter of which resulted in his brief suspension from Parliament.
When questioned about what he plans to do with his time now, the senator – the first openly gay member of Federal Parliament – said, "I look forward to fresh green pursuits including writing, photography, music, occasional talks, bushwalking, and getting out with [partner] Paul [Thomas] to see Miranda Gibson who has been perched for 120 days 60 metres high, in defence of a giant tree facing destruction in central Tasmania.”
After the announcement in Canberra, Prime Minister Julia Gillard said, “I wish him well for his life beyond politics.”
He will officially leave his seat in June.