Gay politician takes over Australia's Democratic Party
BY Advocate.com Editors
August 24 2002 12:00 AM ET
Openly gay West Australian senator Brian Greig was elected interim leader of the country's Democratic Party Thursday, according to The [Sydney] Daily Telegraph. Greig replaces Sen. Natasha Stott Despoja after she quit the top job on Tuesday.
The Democrats have been wracked by infighting among the party's seven senators for weeks, culminating this week in Stott Despoja's surprise resignation. The Democrats' 17-member executive committee surprised many when it overlooked party deputy leader Aden Ridgeway, one of only two aborigines to ever serve in parliament, and chose Greig instead.
Greig has said he wants to heal the divisions within his party. "It's for that reason I've put my name forward as a compromise candidate and as someone who hasn't been tainted by events of recent weeks," he said before the vote.
Greig will remain interim leader until a vote on a permanent replacement is taken in October.