After negotiations between the ACT Labor and the Canberra Liberals, each holding eight seats after the election results, student journalist Kate Ottewell speaks with Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury about his decision to make government with ACT Labor.
“The key basis for my decision was the policy agenda that can be built over the next four years,” said Mr Rattenbury.
“We had consulted our membership for the election and they said policy was the key to any power situation.
“Also the ability to have a constructive working relationship over four years was a secondary consideration and ability to lead a stable government in the ACT. They were the two basis on which we took the decision.”
Analysing the policies presented by each party has allowed for a concise decision to be made on what is best for the Canberra community. As predicted the ALP came out on top with greener ideas.
“Between the two parties there were areas where they both had a policy which agreed with ours, and there are areas other areas that are different certainly, but overall I formed a view that it was more likely thing that mattered to the Greens would be delivered in partnership with the ALP than the Liberals.”
Reaching out for advice Mr Rattenbury exhausted his phone book to gain knowledge and assistance to help conclude a verdict.
“The ultimate decision rested with me that’s the way the Greens constitution works is that the elected parliamentarian has the say on these things, but I consulted extensively with the Greens party in the ACT, and also work closely with the Greens staff we have here in the parliament. At the end of the day it was my decision and I guess that is where the real pressure point came.”
“I think the agreement that I have been able to strike with the Labor party sets up a very good set of outcomes over the next four years.
“The items agreed to will deliver good outcomes for Canberra whether it’s developing light rail, cleaning up Canberra’s Lakes, significant action on climate change, combatting homelessness, these are all things that have been dealt with in the agreement. They are good for the community.”
Many have questioned how the ALP has sweetened the deal with a ministerial position, however Mr Rattenbury has said that the role was secondary in any decisions made.
“The ministry was really secondary to the policy matters. I’m certainly very pleased to take on a ministry, there are pros and cons for the Green’s in entering into the cabinet, but for the ACT Greens now that have been present in the assembly for 17 years sitting on the cross bench, I have formed a view that it is time for the Greens to play a role in government and that also opens an opportunity to be involved in the day-to-day decision making of the territory.”
There may be electoral hardship ahead for the Greens as the party takes stock after losing seats at the recent election, but Rattenbury has faith in the Greens foundations to build upwards and expand in future elections and gain back lost seats and more.
“A couple hundred more votes in each of the two outer electorates and the Greens would have had 3 members in the assembly and that would have been a very different scenario. “
Despite the loss, the self-achievement from Mr Rattenbury has spiked gratitude and celebrations within the Greens and ALP parties.
“I am in a fortunate position to still till have a level of influence in the ACT and to be able to continue putting forth great ideas and that I am very grateful for.”
“Whether people voted Labor, Liberal or Green these policies with benefit people right across our community.”
With the 2012 election as at close and the ACT Labor government holding their position all that is left is for Chief Minister Katy Gallagher to expand her ACT executive numbers for Shane Rattenbury to take up his Ministerial Position.