The Greens’ Green New Deal

#GreenNewDeal

The Australian Greens’ new leader, Adam Bandt announced upon his election that he is for a Green New Deal. Bandt is using the term as a badge for existing Greens policies. The Climate Justice Collective, especially Tash Heenan and Anna Sturman has drafted a more fleshed out Green New Deal for Australia. Others too are working on local Just Transition and GND packages.

To be meaningful, and to become popular, a GND for Australia shouldn’t be the preserve of the Greens, or any other one party or group. It needs to represent the commitment and demands of the broad climate movement, a significant proportion of the labour movement and other social movements. A single, unified GND is a long way off. But the process of developing and campaigning for a GND will take us closer, and can gain urgently needed ground for climate action.

The concept of a GND is a way to breath life into good intentions (see for example Solidarity Dynamics by Don Sutherland) to overcome divisions between supporters of Labor and the Greens, and unite people who are demanding climate action, with the labour movement and social movements. While a catchy and relevant badge is helpful, more important is the adequacy of the policy measures and actions contained in the package, for the combined purposes of effective climate action, and caring for the diversity of livelihood needs, without being beholden to the criteria of profitability.

Some of the steps that can make this happen are:

  • Read, draft, comment on, host speakers at meetings, and debate GND proposals for Australia, everywhere possible. 
  • Organise specific forums and conferences on a GND, with activists for and supporters of climate action from across the labour movement, social justice campaigns and the left, with the goal of adopting a GND type log of claims.
  • Seek endorsements for the GND claims from individuals and organisations, MPs, councillors, union leaders, unions, community and resident groups, indigenous groups, campaign groups etc.
  • Publicise the relevant demands of the GND, and the package as a whole, at protest rallies, strikes, etc.
  • Devise immediate and specific strategies to put the GND on political and industrial agendas in parliaments, councils, unions.

Overseas proposals are worth studying for ideas and lessons.

British Labour’s Green New Deal, or Green Industrial Revolution was not enough to beat Boris Johnson and Brexit. Like some policy advocates in Australia, British Labour’s policy spruiks how good climate action will be for “the economy”. By contrast Bernie Sanders says “We need a president who has the courage, the vision, and the record to face down the greed of fossil fuel executives and the billionaire class who stand in the way of climate action. We need a president who welcomes their hatred. Bernie will lead our country to enact the Green New Deal and bring the world together to defeat the existential threat of climate change.” Bernie Sanders’ Green New Deal policy for the presidential election is more detailed and thorough going than AOC’s GND legislation. What’s special about AOC’s legislation is that it demands political responsibility, by proposing “a congressional Select Committee on the Green New Deal with subpoena power, authority to draft legislation, and a bar to appointment of any members who have taken contributions from fossil fuel companies. … Over 40 of her fellow legislators backed AOC’s proposal.” AOC’s specific proposal to Congress has provided a political focus for climate activists.


  1. This is very healthily constructive. Particularly, I like the “steps” that can be taken. There is good clarification of points I have made – too sketchy – in my commentary. Let’s have others joining in.




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