Greens member Edwina Clifton. Picture: Keri Megelus
Greens member Edwina Clifton. Picture: Keri Megelus

Environmentalists are ‘not welcome’ in Greens party

A prominent councillor has quit the NSW Greens and dropped out of the race for the Federal seat of Bennelong because she feels environmentalists are "not welcome" in the party.

City of Ryde councillor Edwina Clifton said she quit the Greens in December because she did not believe the party had the "capacity to be effective" on climate change and environment issues.

"The internal fighting has pitted the environmentalists against those concerned with social issues," she said.

"I'm a bit sad to leave the Greens but the fighting is bitter and personal … way past factionalism."

Greens member Edwina Clifton. Picture: Keri Megelus
Greens member Edwina Clifton. Picture: Keri Megelus

Cr Clifton, who was elected to the council in 2017, had been preselected to run for the NSW Greens in Bennelong but she will no longer contest the seat in any capacity.

Instead Cr Clifton has sensationally thrown her support behind Labor Mayor and candidate for the state seat of Ryde, Jerome Laxale, revealing she has already applied to join his party.

"I absolutely think Labor … have a better chance of delivering action on climate change than the Greens," she said.

"They'll be in a position to make (a) real impact because they can actually change legislation."

Cr Clifton's departure comes as internal party documents revealed hundreds of members of the NSW quit the party amid internal battles.

Former Greens candidate and committee of management member Justin Alick resigned in December last year but he believed said the internal "divide" between environmentalists and social justice advocates was "manufactured".

"Certain members (are) more interested in maintaining internal control than achieving external outcomes," he said.

"The NSW Greens have been blown up by divide and conquer tactics," he said.

"I think to a certain degree the #MeToo movement has been weaponised for political gain, though that's not the primary reason I left."

A NSW Greens spokesman said suggestions the party was not "truly focused" on the environment are "simply wrong"

"A central part of our campaign is obviously climate and the environment as can be seen by our policy platform and our announcements over recent weeks," he said.