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About Bob

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.

The Council’s Torpedo

Originally published in full in Tasmanian Times on 27 April 2013

The Legislative Council has fired a torpedo into the Tasmanian Forest Agreement.

After the Agreement was struck last year the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, made it clear that she expected it to be implemented without alteration. In perhaps the biggest downpayment in Tasmanian history, the Commonwealth gave $120 million to the collapsed logging industry to make good the Agreement.  It promised over $100 million more for regional development on condition that the Agreement was fully implemented, including its promised forest reserves.


Photo: Jean-Paul Horre

Bob joined John Butler, Missy Higgins and 20,000 locals at a rally and concert in Fremantle to protest against Woodside's giant gas factory planned for the Kimberley. Photo: Jean-Paul Horre

We are taking action - join us.

Our foundation is tackling critical ecological battles. These include confronting the threat of Woodside’s gas factory to the Kimberley Coast, the threat of the miners to Tasmania’s Tarkine wilderness, and the threat of Japanese harpooners to Antarctica’s whales.

Thwarting the march to extinction is involved in every case.

We get behind already brilliantly targeted campaigns and campaigners.  This strategy is already a success. We hired Geoff Law to make sure February’s deadline for the nomination of 124,000 hectares of Tasmania’s forests for World Heritage protection was met.  It was met.

A special outcome of Geoff’s work was the inclusion of more than 1,000 hectares of resurgent rainforest in the Nelson Falls catchment west of the Franklin river. Your donations led directly to that outcome.

Your generosity has also directly helped my role as mission leader for Sea Shepherd Australia’s defence of the Antarctic whales from the slaughter of Japan’s highly-subsidized fleet of killers.

I am writing this letter to you in Fremantle after 20,000 West Australians, led by John Butler, Missy Higgins and the Wilderness Society, rallied against Woodside’s plans for the world’s biggest gas factory on the Kimberley Coast. Next, to Broome where a cyclone is brewing! My mission there is to help the Kimberley Greens’ Chris Maher who is standing against the line-up of pro-factory candidates in the March WA state elections.

I will go back to Broome if Woodside’s drills move in on Indigenous burial sites in the weeks ahead.

You have already helped. I hope you will now help again. We have an excellent voluntary board and one hard-working staffer, Steven Chaffer. I put in fees from conference appearances which have so far amounted to $25,000.  Paul Thomas gives priceless support. But, in reality, our Foundation will live or die on public generosity. So please donate as best you can. Or send this letter to anyone else you think may like to make a donation.

Thank you all so much.

For the Earth,

Bob Brown

Voting for the Environment

19 Jan 2013

Last week I sat with 50 other campaigners for Tasmania’s forests, beside the deep, cool waters of the wild Picton River, and reminisced about the violent attacks on peaceful protesters in those same forests two decades ago.

At nearby Farmhouse Creek in 1987, and at the bridge (where we now sat listening to the bird calls) in 1993, pro-logging vigilantes fired shots, blew up cars with gelignite and, when two girls hugged a flowering rainforest tree, chainsawed through the tree between the screaming girls’ shins while 40 police, with arms folded, stood aside. I will never forget that scene.


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