An Activist Life is the story of an ordinary woman – a high-school English teacher from northwest Tasmania – who became a fiery environmental warrior, pitted against some of the most powerful business and political forces in the country.

In it, I tell my story through the objects that have symbolic meaning in both my personal and political life, from the butter pats in my kitchen that represent my journey from farm girl at Wesley Vale to environmental and human rights activist at the national and global level, to the Pride t-shirt I wore walking in Mardi Gras next to my son, after years of fighting for the legal reform of gay rights in Tasmania. 

I describe how politics actually works: the deals, the promises kept and broken, the horse-trading and treachery involved in some of the most controversial and difficult issues of our time, including the attempts to forge a workable and effective climate change policy for Australia, and our treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.

The book's cover photo, taken by Chris Crerar when I became leader of the Australian Greens in 2012, showcases country that is very dear to me, and echoes the photo taken by journalist Bruce Montgomery at the peak of the Wesley Vale campaign in 1989, when my activist life took a turn into politics.

I was also delighted Tasmanian artist Julie Payne agreed to illustrate my book with beautiful drawings of my chosen objects. Some of the drawings are featured among the photos below.


An Activist Life in Pictures