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Australian Greens parliamentary party leader resigns

(Xinhua)

13:46, April 13, 2012

CANBERRA, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Australian Greens parliamentary party leader Bob Brown resigned on Friday morning.

He told his party colleagues of his decision on Friday morning. "I am sad to leave but happy to go," Senator Brown said in a statement.

"It is good knowing that the Greens have such a depth of talent and experience lined up for leadership - I could only dream about that a decade ago."

The publicly gay and gay advocates thanked his nine colleagues and the 1.7 million voters who supported the Greens in 2010.

Brown said his departure would not affect the Greens' agreement to support Labor in minority government. "The arrangement with the government stays the same." He said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has thanked retiring Australian Greens leader Bob Brown, 67, for a "remarkable contribution" to politics over three decades.

"Throughout his time in elected office, Bob Brown has been a figure of integrity with a deep love for this country and its environment," she said in a statement on Friday.

"Bob has also been an active voice on the rights of same sex couples, having bravely used his own experiences to campaign for change.

Senator Brown's passion for the environment helped him lead his party through the historic negotiations with Labor and the independent MPs to pass the carbon-pricing package, Ms Gillard said.

Christine Milne, the long-term deputy leader, won her election as new Greens leader.

She said on Friday rural and regional Australia, which the Greens represents, had a role to play in the party's policies, especially food security, renewable energy and energy efficiency. And she would work to build on the legacy left by Brown.

Senator Brown will leave parliament when his Tasmanian replacement is ready in June. The search for that replacement is now under way.

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