One of Australia’s most respected public figures, unafraid to speak up, stand up and if necessary, get arrested for the cause as we saw earlier this year in the Lapoinya forest, spoke at Lifestyle Medicine 2016 on Saturday 5 November.
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 took ten 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, including 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 four 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, receiving the highest personal Senate vote in Tasmania and being 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 nine Senators and one House of Representatives member. As a result, 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. After leaving parliament he founded the Bob Brown Foundation to support environmental campaigns and activists around Australia and our region.