Greens senator Andrew Bartlett to step down at next election

Larissa Waters’ replacement says he wants to run for Queensland lower house, leaving her the favourite in selection race

Andrew Bartlett will not contest his spot in the Senate at the next election, telling Queensland Greens members he wants a shot at the lower house.

The competition for the Senate seat in the Queensland branch of the party was shaping up as a three-way contest between Bartlett, Larissa Waters and the environmental advocate Ben Pennings.

Bartlett took the spot after Waters was found to be a dual citizen of Canada.

But Bartlett has told party members, through a letter obtained by Guardian Australia, he has withdrawn as a Senate candidate, asking instead for their support in standing for the seat of Brisbane, now held by the LNP MP Trevor Evans.

“It is the House of Representatives seat we have the strongest chance in, as well as being the seat I have lived in for a long time,” he said in the letter.

“As our party’s sitting senator, this is not a decision I have made lightly, and I consulted many members before doing so. Whilst I believe I had a credible chance of winning the pre-selection for the Senate ticket, I also feel there is currently a great opportunity for our party to build on the strong momentum from the state election in winning the seat of Maiwar from the LNP and getting big swings in other seats.”

Bartlett said he was “not taking it for granted” that he would win pre-selection for the seat of Brisbane, and would stay on as senator until the next election to minimise disruption.

Kirsten Lovejoy stood for the Greens in Brisbane in 2016, winning almost 20% of the vote.

The Greens have seen a surge in support in Queensland, winning a council seat in Brisbane, installing their first MP in the state parliament, and coming close to toppling the popular Labor MP and deputy premier, Jackie Trad.

Waters remains the favourite in the Senate selection race, although Pennings, who has spent the past few years fighting against the Adani coalmine, is emerging as a strong candidate as members within the Queensland branch begin agitating for stronger stances on environmental issues.


Amy Remeikis

The GuardianTramp

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