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Carleton College

Publication Date

Fall 2005

Program Name

Australia: Sustainability and the Environment


The Greens in Byron Shire on the North Coast of New South Wales gained four of ten seats on the Shire Council including the mayoral position in 2004, giving them a strong voice in the direction of the Shire. This degree of local success is incredibly rare for the Australian Greens or for any third party, and thus, the example of the Byron Greens is a significant case for anyone involved with local politics in Byron or anyone who is involved with third parties, specifically with the Greens. This study sets out to determine the factors in the success of this group, dating back to their 1991 inception.

After collecting data from a number of sources, a series of six interviews was carried out with individuals experienced with the Byron Greens. The results of these interviews are presented and discussed by the following topics: natural beauty of the area, the demographics and voting rationale for Green supporters, the actions of other parties and groups, unique factors in the election or responsibilities of local government in Byron Shire, differences between the Byron Greens and other groups, the Greens’ poor showing in the 1991 elections, the Greens’ future in Byron Shire, and other factors that may be at work.

The conclusions from the data find that the natural environment and the Aquarius Festival of 1973 were the most significant events in bringing Greens voters to the region, that the institutional setup of Byron Shire Council elections work in the Greens favor, that issues of development are significant, and that the party has found strong organization and leadership, which has helped create their marked achievements in the Shire.


Political Science | Public Administration


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