Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon Stepping Down, Mehreen Faruqi To Replace Her In The Senate

Greens NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi will be replacing Rhiannon in the Senate mid-August.

What you need to know
  • Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon will be retiring from the Upper House mid-August
  • Greens NSW MP Mehreen Faruqi will be replacing her
  • It comes after Rhiannon lost a preselection for the top Senate spot to Faruqi in November last year

Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon has announced she will step down from parliament in August, with her NSW state colleague Mehreen Faruqi to fill the spot.

Rhiannon's announcement on Friday follows months of factional infighting within the NSW Greens party, with Rhiannon facing opposition from her colleagues. She has faced pressure to step down since losing a preselection battle for the top spot on the federal Senate ticket to Faruqi last November.

Calling herself "an accidental politician", Rhiannon warmly congratulated Faruqi in a statement this morning.

“It has been a pleasure and honour working as a Greens MP. I wish to thank all the staff I have worked with, my family, Greens members and activists across Australia for their support and for their unwavering commitment to building a better world," she said.

“My time in parliament has been fruitful for our struggles and policy outcomes. I am proud of the achievements we have gained together."

“In some ways I am an accidental politician. When I was young, parliament was where we went to protest not to get a job. My years as an MP have strengthened my belief that it is community action that drives progressive social change.

“History shows that the Greens can achieve election wins with principled, progressive campaigns. I look forward to joining Greens members on the campaign trail for the upcoming NSW and federal elections."

Rhiannon gave an oblique reference to her post-parliament career, saying she would continue working in "politics".

“In resigning from parliament I am not resigning from politics. I enjoy working with people and there is still much to be done to make our society more inclusive and just and to protect our environment," she said.

In a statement, federal Greens leader paid tribute to the outgoing senator.

"Lee has devoted her life to fighting for a better world and particularly to giving a voice for communities fighting oppression across the globe. Lee has made a significant contribution in improving our democracy through political donations reform, as well as advancing animal welfare," he said.

"I wish Lee all the best in her future endeavours and look forward to working with Mehreen Faruqi when she joins our Federal Greens team later this year."

Faruqi responded to the news on Twitter, saying she was "Looking forward to continuing the NSW Greens’ and [Rhiannon's] amazing work in the Senate for a fairer, more just and equal Australia."