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Canvassing votes via email from overseas - novel

15 April 2015

Natalie Bennett

Did you receive it – an email plea sent from the Australian Greens asking you to Vote Green in the UK elections on May 7 if you are an Australian or New Zealand citizen living in the UK, or if you are a Brit living here in Australia? Talk about canvassing for votes. We’re sure this sort of thing has been done before but it was the first time we’ve experienced it and it surprised, and in some ways, delighted us.

Ingenious and audacious (even though we are not eligible to vote), the email plea did get us researching who Natalie Bennett (pictured above) – the Leader of the Green Party England and Wales – is.

In fact, we probably know more about her now than our own Federal Greens Leader, Christine Milne.

Born in the Sydney suburb of Eastwood in February 1966 – the year decimal currency came to Australia - Natalie identifies as being from a working class background. She wanted to play Rugby but couldn’t, because she was a girl. She won a scholarship to a Sydney private girls’ school, went to Sydney University (where she did play Rugby in the end), became a journalist and moved to the UK, eventually working on the Guardian.

Natalie was voted leader of the Green Party in 2012 having taken voluntary redundancy from the paper.

According to a piece on Natalie in the Guardian, she has a “thick-as-Vegemite accent”, plays cricket, and has “no great lingering affection for her home country, saying recently: ‘I can’t imagine going there by choice.’ ”

Hardly seems the sort of way you win friends and influence voters in or from your original home country.

Still, it will be interesting to watch what happens in the UK elections where Green Party membership is growing exponentially, and where the Greens will fight close to 90 percent - up from 50 percent in the 2010 elections - of constituencies on 7 May.

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