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Bob Brown stands down as Greens leader -

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Bob Brown stands down as Greens leader

Broadcast: 13/04/2012

Reporter: Tom Iggulden

The founder of the Australian Greens, Senator Bob Brown, has resigned as the party's leader after a
remarkable career.

Transcript

EMMA ALBERICI, PRESENTER: There had been no hint that Greens leader Bob Brown was thinking of
stepping down from the helm of the party he led from radical fringe to the centre of power.

But that's exactly what he did today, making him one of only a privileged few political veterans
able to choose the time of their departure.

Political correspondent Tom Iggulden looks back on an extraordinary career.

TOM IGGULDEN, POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Most political leaders get the guillotine instead of a
graceful exit, but Bob Brown has never been most political leaders.

BOB BROWN, FORMER GREENS LEADER: I'm going to look forward to some photography and some writing.

TOM IGGULDEN: After 16 years in the Senate, he is relinquishing his seat and heading back to
Tasmania to a fate no ex-politician can escape.

PAUL THOMAS, PARTNER: I'm also looking forward to him perhaps sharing a greater load of the
household tasks at home.

BOB BROWN: Here comes the washing up.

TOM IGGULDEN: The move took most in the party, and all of the media, by surprise. Until recently
he'd been promising to stay on as long as Rupert Murdoch.

BOB BROWN: But I've watched his progress in the last 18 months and I've decided I've changed my
mind.

TOM IGGULDEN: The Prime Minister was informed by a note passed to her in the COAG meeting.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: It has been an interesting and I think, remarkable political life,
and I wish him well.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: These will be turbulent times for the Greens if and when he
departs.

TOM IGGULDEN: Christine Milne was unanimously elected the party's new leader. Adam Bandt beat out
two other candidates for the vacant deputy role.

ADAM BANDT, DEPUTY GREENS LEADER: Didn't have any inkling that that was coming!

TOM IGGULDEN: Bob Brown leaves behind nine parliamentary colleagues and a vastly different chamber
than the one he entered as the curtain came down on the Keating government.

BOB BROWN: I remember well being in this Parliament as the only Green a decade ago.

TOM IGGULDEN: It was a seat won from the Democrats by the thinnest of margins.

JOURNALIST (archival footage): Final counting this afternoon confirmed Dr Bob Brown had won the
last Senate seat.

BOB BROWN (archival footage, 1996): This is a monumental breakthrough for the Greens. It's probably
the biggest breakthrough of the decade.

TOM IGGULDEN: And one that would signal the beginning of the end for Australia's other minor party
who even then, apparently sensed the threat.

CHERYL KERNOT, FORMER DEMOCRATS LEADER (archival audio): As for a close working relationship, the
Democrats don't expect to be inviting him in for a cup of herbal tea in the near future.

TOM IGGULDEN: The new Greens Senator was written off as a flake even before he made his maiden
speech.

BOB BROWN (archival footage): We are an amazing organism which is able to think and reflect on the
universe and its awesome and infinite wonder.

TOM IGGULDEN: But the party broadened its appeal and slowly became a genuine political force.

BOB BROWN (archival footage): We are not the environment movement, and the environment movement is
not the Greens Party. And I think many of the political commentators are just becoming aware of
that.

TOM IGGULDEN: Voters certainly did, though, as the Green seized on more opportunities to increase
their appeal.

BOB BROWN (archival footage): By force of circumstance beyond the Greens, to do with the Tampa and
to do with the impending war in Iraq.

TOM IGGULDEN: Labor's "small target" strategy against John Howard allowed Bob Brown to fully emerge
from the woodwork and into political stardom.

BOB BROWN (archival footage): No war, no war, no war.

TOM IGGULDEN: A visit by George W. Bush fired up the aging radical.

JOURNALIST II (archival footage): Pushing and shoving failed to thwart Greens senators Bob Brown
and Kerry Nettle making their presidential protest personal.

TOM IGGULDEN: He then shouted down the president during his address to Parliament.

(Archival footage)

NEIL ANDREW, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: Senator Brown will excuse himself from the House.

GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER US PRESIDENT: I love free speech.

(End of archival footage)

TOM IGGULDEN: This was familiar territory for the senator who has been arrested several times since
protesting the Franklin Dam project in the early 1980s.

JOURNALIST III (archival footage): The police have since described as a "complete exaggeration"
allegations that their officers stood by and did nothing while conservationists were assaulted.

(Archival footage)

BOB BROWN: We're here to get the bulldozers to clear the area so we're not moving until they do.

POLICEMAN: Well in that case you're under arrest.

BOB BROWN: Ok.

(End of archival footage)

TOM IGGULDEN: From youthful political idealist...

BOB BROWN (archival footage, 1973): For us to compromise now will be a bad thing in the judgement
of history.

TOM IGGULDEN: To the man who gave Julia Gillard three more years in office, and the nation a carbon
tax, it has been an extraordinary life in politics.

BOB BROWN: It's a little like a butterfly coming out of a cocoon. My wings are spreading already,
even if they're not quite dry.

TOM IGGULDEN: The senator is 67.

Tom Iggulden, Lateline.