Here’s what you need to know about Greens leader Adam Bandt


Adam Bandt has made headlines this election campaign for proposing a tax on billionaires, telling a reporter ‘Google, man’, and for portraying the Greens as an alternative to Australia’s traditional two-party system which he says will supports coal and gas.
Mr Bandt, who was elected party leader in 2020 following the resignation of Richard Di Natale for family reasons, continued to stress the Greens’ focus on environmental and social justice issues.
On Tuesday, Mr Bandt boosted his ambition to tackle the climate crisis if the Greens clinch the balance of power in a hung parliament.
“Now in the next parliament…we can have discussions about how quickly we get out of coal and gas. How we do that in a way that supports community workers in affected areas. And we have a comprehensive plan to do it,” Bandt told ABC Radio National’s Patricia Karvelas.

“But we think everyone should be able to agree: you can’t put out the fire by pouring gasoline on it.

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“And we need to stop opening new coal and gas mines. So at a time when Labor and the Liberals want to open new coal mines, actually using public money to do so, it will be our main request.”

Mr. Bandt’s focus on climate change and taxing the wealthy dates back to his days at university and his early career as a labor lawyer.

Youth

Mr Bandt, 50, was born in Adelaide to Moira and Allan Bandt, a teacher and former social worker respectively.
He grew up in Perth and after graduation attended Murdoch University in the city, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws in 1996.
He joined the Australian Labor Party (ALP) as a teenager and was a member between 1987 and 1989, but left the party due to its free university policy under former leaders Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.
“I joined the Labor Party in high school, but left for college because the ALP started making education so expensive and putting people in debt,” he wrote in an article by 2020 for The Guardian.
While in college, he was a member of the Left Alliance, a national organization of socialist, feminist, and progressive students. In 2008, he based his doctorate on an examination of Karl Marx’s theory of work.

After working with student unions during and after university, Mr Bandt embarked on a career as a labor lawyer in Melbourne, working closely with unions and civil servants facing privatization.

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Parliamentary career and political posts

In 2010, he was elected to parliament after successfully running as the Greens’ candidate for Melbourne’s Federal Division. His main political priorities were the fight against climate change and the abolition of mandatory offshore detention centers – two of the main interests still on Mr Bandt’s agenda today.
He retained the Melbourne seat twice, winning re-election in the 2013 and 2019 federal elections.

When Mr Di Natale announced his political retirement and resignation as leader of the Greens, Mr Bandt was elected unopposed as the party’s new leader.

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The Greens won 10.4% of the vote in the House of Representatives in the 2019 federal election, retaining their singular seat. The party has nine senators in parliament.

Mr Bandt said the Greens hope to maintain the balance of power after the May 21 election, giving the party the chance to implement its policy.

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The Greens’ 2022 election campaign features the slogan “Tax the billionaires”, referring to the party’s proposal to implement Australia’s first billionaire tax, which would see the super-rich pay an additional 6% tax on the revenue.
Bandt said the tax would help provide free dental and mental health care through Medicare, provide free education and increase the JobSeeker payment.
“The Greens will make Clive Palmer pay more taxes so you can fix your teeth,” Bandt said during a speech at the National Press Club in mid-April.
“Dental care must be universal. It’s a human right.”
Tackling the climate crisis has remained high on the Greens’ agenda under Mr Bandt’s leadership, with the aim of phasing out Australian coal and gas.

Mr Bandt said victims of the 2022 floods in New South Wales and Queensland should be able to sue coal and gas companies because he claims they are liable for the damage.

He criticized Labor for following the coalition’s backing of Australia’s fossil fuel industries, saying the two main parties are in the pockets of companies profiting from the industries.
“Coal and gas are the main causes of the climate crisis. We should take urgent action for a secure future – but instead Labor and the Liberals are receiving millions in donations from big coal and gas companies and billionaires,” Mr Bandt wrote on his campaign website. .
Labor leader Anthony Albanese said during the federal election campaign that Labour’s position would be the same as that of the Coalition on Australia’s new coal and ruled out signing the global pledge to end the use of coal over the next two decades.
Mr. Bandt wants to immediately ban the construction of new coal, oil and gas infrastructure and end government subsidies to these sectors.

He campaigned for the legalization of cannabis, along with a reduction in tobacco and alcohol consumption.

As part of the Greens’ policies on drugs, substance use and addiction, Bandt is pushing for more education about the harmful effects of alcohol and tobacco, especially in First Nations communities .
Mr Bandt also reaffirmed the Greens’ condemnation of Coalition and Labor support for boat pushbacks and offshore detention centres, which Labor MP Tanya Plibersek reinforced in a TV interview on Tuesday.
“Election after election has been a race to the bottom for refugees,” he wrote on Twitter on April 15.
“Asylum seekers asked for our protection, but they were tortured and miserable instead.
“They deserve better than a bidding war between Liberals and Labor over who can treat them more cruelly.”

He wrote on Twitter ‘Scott Morrison is a threat to life’ and ‘this government is a threat to life’ in separate posts about the government’s approach to climate change and handling the COVID-19 pandemic .

Mr Bandt made headlines in the first week of the election campaign when he told an Australian Financial Review reporter to ‘Google, mate’, after being asked to point to the index wage prices, a request he called a “trick question” that he says took away from more pressing political issues.
Mr Bandt and his wife Claudia Perkins, a former Labor staffer, live in Melbourne with their two daughters.

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