Bob Brown was elected to the Senate in 1996, after 10 years as an MHA in Tasmania's state parliament.
In his first speech in the Senate, Bob raised the threat posed by climate change. Government and opposition members laughed at his warning of sea level rises and it has taken 10 years for them to finally begin to acknowledge the causes and effects of climate change.
Since 1996, Bob has continued to take a courageous, and often politically lonely, stand on issues across the national and international spectrum. Some of the many issues that Bob has raised in the Senate include petrol sniffing in Central Australia, self-determination for West Papua and Tibet, saving Tasmania's ancient forests, opposing the war in Iraq, justice for David Hicks, stopping the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme and opposing the dumping of nuclear waste in Australia.
Bob was re-elected to the Senate in 2001. Following the election of 4 Greens senators in 2004, Bob became parliamentary leader of the Australian Greens in 2005.
The 2007 election saw Bob re-elected to the Senate for a third term along with two new Greens Senators in WA and SA. Bob received the highest personal Senate vote in Tasmania and was elected with more than a quota in his own right.
In 2010 Bob led the Australian Greens to a historic result with more than 1.6 million Australians voting for the Greens and the election of 9 Senators and 1 House of Representatives member. As a result of this election the Greens gained balance of power in the Senate and signed an agreement with the ALP which allowed Prime Minister Julia Gillard to form government. A key part of this agreement was the Greens requirement that a price on carbon be introduced, which led to legislation being passed at the end of 2011.
Bob stepped down as Leader of the Australian Greens, and then retired from the Senate in June 2012.
Christine is one of Australia's most experienced and respected environmental and community activists, with a career spanning 30 years.
After leading a highly successful alliance of farmers, fishers, scientists, environmentalists and concerned community members from Wesley Vale to prevent the construction of a polluting pulp mill, Christine was elected to the Tasmanian parliament in 1989, and became the first woman to lead a political party in Tasmania in 1993. She was elected to the Senate in 2004, elected Deputy Leader of the Greens in 2008 and Leader in April 2012.
Christine's vision, her deep policy knowledge about climate change and her unparalleled experience with power-sharing minority governments led to the establishment of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee and its successful negotiations to design the Clean Energy Future package.
Christine’s international reputation was recognised when she was appointed a United Nations Global 500 Laureate and elected Global Vice-President of the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) from 2005 to 2008. She has held a series of international and senior environmental advisory positions and is recognised as a leader in environment movement globally.
Christine was arrested and jailed during the campaign to save the Franklin River in 1983. Following her successful campaign to stop the native forest-based Wesley Vale pulp mill in the late 1980s, she was elected to the Parliament of Tasmania in 1989 and went on to help form the Labor-Green Accord which doubled the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, introduced Freedom of Information legislation and saved over 20 country schools from closure.
After becoming leader of the Tasmanian Greens in 1993, and particularly while holding the balance of power between 1996-98, Christine oversaw a period of significant social and economic reform, including gay law reform, gun law reform an apology to the Indigenous Stolen generation, Tasmanian support for a republic and the branding of Tasmania as clean, green and clever. She pioneered the idea of co-operative politics in Australia and is committed to developing ethically-based leadership.
After a near textbook transition to the Leadership in 2012, Christine lead the Australian Greens through the reminder of the minority parliament, continuing to achieve wins including the significant progression of Denticare.
In her ten years in the Australian Senate, Christine has further developed her national and international reputation for expertise and passion in policy to address global warming. As lead negotiator for the Greens on climate policy, Christine achieved through the multi-party climate panel an emissions trading scheme, the biodiversity fund and $10 billion for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Christine Milne stepped down from the Leadership of the Australian Greens on May 6, 2015.
Robert Simms was endorsed by the South Australian Parliament in September 2015 as a Senator for South Australia and is the first out gay man to represent SA in the Federal Parliament. He was the Australian Greens' spokesperson for Higher Education, Sexuality and Marriage Equality, and Water and the Murray Darling Basin.
Robert's belief in the power of politics to change lives for the better first inspired him to become politically active at University. As State Education Officer for the National Union of Students, he coordinated the state-wide response to the Howard's Government's deregulation of university fees. Later, as Flinders' University's Student Council President, he led the fight against further attacks to student services and representation on his campus.
Since then he has spent his working life fighting for the environment and social justice. He worked in the community sector as a policy advocate and was an adviser for two Green Senators - Sarah Hanson-Young and Scott Ludlam. He also worked as a casual academic and was a progressive social commentator.
In 2014 he was elected to Adelaide City Councillor and was a strong voice for progressive values, promoting: greener streets, better cycling infrastructure, ethical investment and improved access for people with disabilities.
Robert holds a Bachelor of Laws and Legal Practice, a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in sociology and politics) and a Graduate Certificate in Journalism. In 2008 he was admitted to the Supreme Court of South Australia as a Barrister and Solicitor.
Senator Penny Wright was elected to the Senate at the 2010 Federal election and took her seat on July 1, 2011 before stepping down in 2015.
Penny is a proud member of the Australian Greens and a long term advocate on behalf of the people of South Australia.
During her time in the Senate, Penny took on the role as the Greens' spokesperson for legal affairs, schools and education, mental health and veterans' affairs. She is passionate about creating a fair and inclusive Australia where all people can participate fully in their community and realise their potential. Penny also chaired the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee and a member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights.
In her former roles as a solicitor, university lecturer and deputy president of the Guardianship Board, Penny focused on areas like tenancy law, mental health, social security, refugees and violence against women. These experiences all helped prepare her for her work in parliament.
As a lawyer, she often worked in the 'little end' of town, with those who live on the margins of society - people on low incomes, people with mental illnesses and those who have been dealt a tough hand by life.
Penny has always been active in promoting and protecting public institutions for the public good. She has worked and advocated for public education - as a parent and Governing Council chair, public transport (as an environmental and social justice issue) and public broadcasting - successfully heading up Friends of the ABC in SA from 1996 to 1999 to fight cuts to the ABC budget at the time which threatened the loss of Radio National, Classic FM and Triple J.
During her time in the Senate, Penny championed investment in our schools and public education and the expansion and funding of the nation's mental health services.
Kerry was elected as an Australian Greens Senator for New South Wales in 2001, serving until June 2008.
On behalf of the Greens, Kerry held the shadow portfolios of Attorney-General, education, refugees, women, young people, aged care and gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people. Kerry served on the Senate Community Affairs committee and the Senate Select Committee on Administration of Indigenous Affairs.
Kerry commanded the respect of her fellow senators for her conscientious hard work and good humour. She was a tireless advocate for refugees and against mandatory detention, the forced deportation of asylum seekers and the so-called Pacific solution, which marks a shameful episode in Australia's history.
Kerry, along with Bob Brown, made international news in 2003 when they made a stand in Parliament during a speech by US President George W Bush, opposing the war in Iraq and the detention of David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib.
Kerry visited refugees in detention places like Baxter and Villawood, and worked on their behalf inside and outside Parliament. Kerry Nettle worked hard to end discrimination against GLBTI (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people and introduced the Marriage (Relationships Equality) Amendment Bill into the federal Parliament. The bill aimed to remove discrimination and permit marriage regardless of sexuality or gender identity.
Kerry has been a strong voice for public education and a fierce opponent of voluntary student unionism. She campaigned for justice in East Timor and West Papua. Kerry has made a fabulous contribution to the Australian Senate. This contribution will be remembered with great pride by Greens all over Australia.
Jo entered the Senate on 1 July 1985 after election as a member of the Nuclear Disarmament Party, sitting as an independent and then as a member of the Greens Western Australia from 1 July 1990 until her resignation in January 1992.
Jo is a long term peace and anti nuclear advocate and continued her activism in Parliament. She marched on the "Joint Facilities" base Pine Gap near Alice Springs. She was arrested. She also marched on the American Clark Air Base in The Philippines in 1989.
Senator Jo Vallentine not only ‘took heart’, but also had a ‘feisty turn of phrase and willingness to challenge cant and custom’. She grew up in Beverley, in Western Australia’s conservative Wheatbelt. She was a member of the Quakers and involved in the opposition to the war in Vietnam. During her time in Parliament Jo continued her activism, for example marching on the Pine Gap Joint Facilities base near Alice Springs where she was arrested. After she resigned from Parliament Jo has maintained an active engagement in community issues.
In 1994 she participated in the founding of the Alternatives to Violence Project in Western Australia, focused on sharing nonviolent skills with people in prisons. She also travelled with the 1997 Peace Pilgrimage, was involved in the Jabiluka campaign, successfully campaigned to keep the estuary at Guilderton free from urban development on the south side of Moore River, and continues to oppose the 2003 Iraq War, the use of depleted uranium in Iraq and expansion of nuclear power and weapons.
In an historical survey of the state in November 2006, the conservative West Australian newspaper named Jo Vallentine as one of the state's 100 most influential people. She has recently been one of a number of women nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. The Australian Government's intentions to further mine uranium, and possibly build 25 nuclear power stations around Australia's cities in 2006 has stepped up Vallentine's role as a spokesperson.
Christabel Chamarette was born in India in 1948. She has worked as a community worker in Bangladesh and later as a clinical psychologist at Fremantle Prison after gaining a Bachelor, and later a Masters, in Psychology from the University of Western Australia. She also has a Certificate of Tropical Community Medicine and Hygiene from the University of Liverpool.
Christabel was selected by a ballot of The Greens (WA) to replace Jo Vallentine in 1992. During her time in the Senate she held a challenging role in the balance of power. She refused deals which traded issues or values for unrelated outcomes.
In 1995, she proposed an Export Control Amendment Bill that would ban woodchip exports from old-growth forests. She delayed the Mabo legislation by demanding the inclusion of mineral rights in the compensation package for native title holders.
In 1993 Christabel was joined in the Senate by Dee Margetts. Christabel and Dee opposed the two stages of Telstra's privatisation and proposed significant amendments to minimise the impact on rural communities.
Both Greens (WA) Senators worked actively with Indigenous groups on Native Title and other issues during their time in the Senate. They delayed the Mabo legislation by demanding the inclusion of mineral rights in the compensation package for native title holders. In regard to the Native Title 1993 debate between The Greens (WA) and the Keating Government, Tasmanian aboriginal activist, Mike Mansell said "These two white women in Canberra are asking more for Aboriginal people than Aboriginal people are asking for themselves."
Christabel was a member of several parliamentary delegations: to the Republic of Korea, Pakistan and Malaysia in 1992; to the Chemical Weapons Convention in Paris in 1993; and to the 41st CPA Conference in Colombo, and bilateral visit to Sri Lanka, in 1995.
She was defeated at the 1996 general election. After leaving politics, Christabel was Clinical Director of SafeCare, formerly the Sexual Assault in Families Program, from 1997 to 2008.
In 1998, Christabel led an eight-week discussion group called "Conversations for the 21st Century", while working as a psychologist with child sexual abuse cases and completing a doctorate on the psychopathology of politics. She has been a member of the Anglican Social Responsibilities Commission, the Aboriginal Driver Training Programme, the Psychologists for the Prevention of War and the Christian Justice Association.
Dee was elected to the Senate in 1993, holding balance of power with Christabel Chamarette until 1996.
Dee continued the work of Jo Vallentine by providing strong representation on peace and nuclear disarmament issues in parliament. She provided consistent, solid and dependable representation on social justice, health, education, the workplace and issues of regional importance such as East Timor and Bougainville. Dee provided a voice of good sense on budget and economic policy. Her electorate office undertook wide-ranging support of community groups and individuals.
Dee was born in 1955 in Fremantle and educated locally. In 1979 she left Australia to study in the United Kingdom where she completed an Honours Degree in Development Studies at the University of East Anglia in 1982. She returned to Australia to complete a Diploma in Education at the University of Western Australia and was a teacher and librarian at high schools until 1988, when she became Coordinator for People for Nuclear Disarmament, a position which she held until 1991.
Dee opposed the original legislation on National Competition Policy in 1995. Both Christabel and Dee opposed the two stages of Telstra's privatisation and proposed significant amendments to minimise the impact on rural communities. Dee was a member of two Senate Committees inquiring into the privatisation of Telstra and wrote minority reports outlining concerns about the sale. Both Greens (WA) Senators worked actively with Indigenous groups on Native Title and other issues during their time in the Senate. In regard to the Native Title 1993 debate between The Greens (WA) and the Keating Government, Tasmanian aboriginal activist, Mike Mansell said, "These two white women in Canberra are asking more for Aboriginal people than Aboriginal people are asking for themselves."
Dee served on many committees during her time in the Senate. She was a member of an official delegation to South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana in July 1994. Dee lost her Senate seat at the 1998 federal election. After two weeks in completing her Senate term in mid 1999, she commenced her Masters Thesis on "Competition Policy, State Agreement Acts and the Public Interest" which was completed and approved in 2001. In 2001 Dee was elected to the West Australian Legislative Council for the Agricultural region. While in the Council she was a member of the Standing Committee on Public Administration and Finance. She lost her seat at the 2005 state election.
Because of her concerns about the National Competition policy which had been pushed through in Federal Parliament in 1994, Dee commenced her research for a PhD at University of WA (UWA) in early 2006. Her thesis "A Critique of Australia's National Competition Policy: Assessing its outcomes in a range of major sectors" was completed and approved in 2013.
Michael was elected as the Member for Cunningham following a by-election in 2002, serving from 19 October 2002 to 8 October 2004. He was born in Bulli, NSW in 1956.
Michael's election win was driven by a strong community campaign opposing development at Sandon Point, which was a threat to Aboriginal cultural heritage, wetlands and natural bushland.
During his time in Parliament, Michael condemned the war in Iraq, supporting a move towards free tertiary education, opposed privitisation of public assets and worked to support self-determination for Tibet. Michael served on the House of Respresentatives Select Committee investigating bushfires in Australia.