Batman By-Election: Greens Leader Richard Di Natale Admits Leaking Hurt Party

Greens Party leader Richard Di Natale mid-sentence speaking to parliament house reporters

Greens leader Richard Di Natale has admitted his party must clean up its internal problems if it is to win back voters who abandoned it at the Batman by-election.

Candidate Alex Bhathal, running for the sixth time, was the favourite to double the Greens’ Lower House presence, but voters rejected her bid with the party’s vote going backwards in the progressive seat.

Labor’s Ged Kearney enjoyed a 3 per cent swing on her way to victory.

Bill Shorten labelled her “the hero of Batman”.

Ms Bhathal’s campaign was dogged by a series of internal leaks, including the release of a 101-page dossier of complaints levelled against her by nearly 20 branch members who wanted her sacked over bullying and branch stacking complaints.

Historic tensions between Ms Bhathal and the party hierarchy were also revealed by the ABC.Greens Leader Richard Di Natalie is slightly out of focus as he stands behind Alex Bhathal, who is speaking at a presser.

In Sunday morning’s wash-up of the by-election, Senator Di Natale issued a short statement praising the inroads the party made north of Bell Street in areas considered Labor’s Batman heartland on the back of a campaign on Adani, refugees and inequality.

But he conceded “the leaking” had impacted the party’s vote.

“It is absolutely clear that we have to get our own house in order if we’re going to win back traditional Greens voters who were turned off by the leaking and sabotage from a few individuals with a destructive agenda,” Senator Di Natale said.

The loss in Batman could trigger more infighting and will force the party to evaluate its strategies.

Ms Kearney and Mr Shorten are due to speak to media early this afternoon.

With about 75 per cent of the vote counted in Batman, Labor had won a 3 per cent swing, increasing its 1 per cent margin to 4.1.

Critically Labor beat the Greens on the primary vote 42 to 40 per cent with the Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives mopping up 6.4 per cent of the primary in the absence of the Liberals.

The 42 per cent represented a swing of 7.4 per cent to the ALP on primary vote.

At the 2016 federal election, the Liberals collected just under 20 per cent of the primary with the preferences boosting Labor’s David Feeney.

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