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Chris Ford: Farewell Sue Bradford, You Will Be Missed!

Chris Ford
Chris Ford

Sue Bradford's resignation bombshell has shocked many members of not only the Green Party but all those who wish for a better and more socially just society too.

In the words of a National Distribution Union (NDU) press release, she is about to return to the "Parliament of the streets" and most likely resume her activist career. This decision has not come easily for Sue though and it must be admitted that as one of the few genuinely left-wing MPs in the House, the voice of all those who yearn for a better world will not be heard so prominently, at least for a while.

Sue's pursual of legislative change to improve the lot of ordinary children, workers, young people and other disadvantaged groups is extraordinary and she will leave Parliament with a record of being one of the best back bench MPs it has ever seen. While the anti-smacking legislation and laws to remove youth pay rates from the statute books were vigorously opposed in many quarters, Sue's ability to work across the political divide while, at the same time, sticking to her principles should be admired more across the political spectrum than it has been.

While Sue's views have attracted vile comments from some quarters and with an unscientific interactive poll published today on the Scoop website showing that she is very unpopular amongst those who voted, it still says something for her tenacity and determination that she has gone against the grain and introduced many of the legal advances outlined above.

For this and other reasons, I have always personally considered Sue (and Keith Locke) to be the first and second unofficial Alliance MPs in the House. It is a shame that during the time of the NewLabour Party that Sue had to resign from her then role as party vice-president on the grounds that she was having terrible disagreements with its leader, one Jim Anderton. As we in NewLabour and then the Alliance came to realise that Jim was no socialist and not a great fan of open dissent (except when he was doing it), Sue's leaving in mid-1990 just after the expulsion of the Permanent Revolutionary Group (PRG) from the party was perhaps but an omen of things to come.

While I have never met Sue personally, she probably does know that I exist and let me say that I have always admired her. That won't stop now that she has decided to step outside of the parliamentary arena and resume life as a community activist. In fact, very few retiring members of parliament would ever consider doing that once they left the place as for both ex-National and Labour MPs these days, it's more likely to be straight onto a board directorship, into a mayoral office or into a very well paid advocacy job they go. But that's not where Sue is heading and all the best of luck to her for her future.

However, farewell from the House of Representatives, Sue Bradford. You will be missed there as we needed you to stay there now more than ever!

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