Announcement regarding my Cooper candidacy

I have decided to stand down as the candidate for Cooper at the next election after talking with my sons, my husband and my Dad.

My decision is made in light of the chronic stress that events this year have caused me and my family and because of the threats, slurs and aggression that my sons and I have been and continue to be exposed to. As the Party has declined to take any action against individuals who seem determined to sabotage me and the Party, I feel I have no choice but to stand down in an attempt to ensure the safety and well-being of myself and my family.

And yes, this really is why we have a parliament full of white, male lawyers.

For a long time, it has been my hope that the Greens’ parliamentary presence would grow in the House of Representatives through the election of a Greens MP for the seat of Cooper (previously Batman).

Over almost 20 years, the hard work of Darebin, Yarra and Whittlesea Greens volunteers transformed our seat into one of the country’s most marginal, and built the Greens vote in the seat from single digits to 40% in this year’s by-election.

As a small but growing party, it was always going to be a hard ask to win a House of Representatives seat. But I never expected that we’d face internal sabotage in the middle of our most winnable campaign, with some people choosing to anonymously brief the Murdoch media and actively aid our opponents.

The anonymous attacks on me and the handling of the complaints were both extremely damaging. I absolutely refute the allegations against me and it is deeply concerning to me that the Greens have processes that deny people the right to know and respond to the details of claims against them, if there were any details. It is a relief to me that people have been able to see through the accusations and media leaks and rely on their actual knowledge of me and my actions.

I am pleased that after State Council spent a month considering the review panel’s report into events of the Batman by-election, it apologised to me and my family, noting that no findings were made against me.

Three weeks ago, it issued this resolution:

“The Party has recently completed a review into the 2018 Batman by-election and the handling of the complaint against Alex that was received in the weeks prior. The review identified deficiencies in the Party’s complaints handling processes. The Party regrets the distress the handling of the complaint caused for Alex and her family. The Party notes that no adverse findings were made against Alex Bhathal by any party process, and that the complaint is considered closed.”

I have decided to stand down as the candidate for Cooper at the next election after talking with my sons, my husband and my Dad.

My decision is made in light of the chronic stress that events this year have caused me and my family and because of the threats, slurs and aggression that my sons and I have been and continue to be exposed to. As the Party has declined to take any action against individuals who seem determined to sabotage me and the Party, I feel I have no choice but to stand down in an attempt to ensure the safety and well-being of myself and my family.

I know that many members and supporters may be upset by my decision and that some of you will question it. I thank you all deeply for everything you have given to advance the causes and values we share. I hope you can understand the toll that this has taken on me and my family, and that at the end of the day the things we believe in are bigger than any one campaign or any one of us. I hope that you’ll stay involved in the Greens if only because it will be a great victory for some if loyal, honest and hardworking members leave.

I also want to make sure my dear friend and local MP Lidia Thorpe remains the member for Northcote, because she is doing such a stellar job.

I pay my respects to the other Greens candidates for Batman, especially the late Frank Ryan, the Greens’ first candidate for Batman, and I want to thank all the members and supporters who have contributed so much to our success in growing the Greens vote in this seat continuously at each and every federal election.

I remain humbled by the support of the Greens’ grassroots membership in Darebin, Yarra and Whittlesea and by your faith in me in repeated preselections and campaigns.

I wish to thank the members of the Batman Federal Election Campaign Committee this year and last, Simon Jarman, Lola Neilley, Liam Ferguson, Dr Kip Gabriel, Michael Butler, Alicia Flynn, Paul Daly and Gavan McFadzean.

To everyone who has been part of our success and work in making this a marginal seat: Thank you.  And yes, this really is why Australia’s parliament is full of white, male lawyers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by

Alex Bhathal

Social worker; refugee advocate; environmental activist; mum of two; six time Greens candidate for federal seat of Batman