We share this planet with each other and nature but our relationships have never been more dangerously out of kilter.
Based in the beautiful island state of Tasmania, where I grew up, I have worked for decades to protect some of the world’s great wild places, beautiful and inspiring places like Tasmania’s Franklin River, its World Heritage forests and New Caledonia’s coral reefs, but when I was appointed to Australia’s first ever Greenhouse Gas Council in 1990 I realised that it is not enough to secure nature and ecosystems in protected areas - global warming knows no boundaries.
We are now living in a climate emergency and the planet is facing its sixth wave of mass extinctions. All of us need to act whenever and wherever we can. It’s up to everyone to save Earth, our home.
That’s why I have dedicated my life to transforming the relationships people have with the planet and each other. It’s also why I work so hard at changing the economic tools and political frameworks that govern those relationships so that they are socially just, ecologically sustainable and not warped by the power of corporations that refuse to change their business model.
Strengthening democracy, greater transparency and accountability are critical to our survival.
As an environmental activist, I joined the campaign throughout the 1980's and 1990's to protect magnificent old growth forests and wild rivers of Tasmania from the rapacious logging industry and the dam builders. As part of the campaign to save the Franklin River in Tasmania and to secure its listing as World Heritage, I was arrested and imprisoned.
I was elected to the Tasmanian Parliament in 1989 following a successful campaign to protect the farmers and farmlands of Wesley Vale from a highly toxic, native forest based pulp mill. My election, together with other like-minded independents, including Dr Bob Brown, led to the doubling in area of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It took a further two decades of campaigning to finally secure the remaining old growth forests in the WHA in 2013.
I became the first woman to lead a political party in Tasmania in 1993 and went on to become the first woman to lead the Australian Greens in Australia’s national Parliament in 2012. I am a firm believer in the empowerment of women, education and social justice.
In balance of power in the Tasmanian Parliament I achieved gun law reform, gay law reform and an apology to the Stolen Generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
‘Clean, Green and Clever’ sums up the policy frameworks I pursue. My career in the Australian Parliament was focused on driving action on global warming and a transformation to renewable energy and a green economy to underpin a healthy, socially just, equitable and happy society.
The highlight was the development and passage in 2012 of the Clean Energy Package including a carbon price. It was recognised by the International Energy Agency as template legislation for developed countries. I was a regular participant in UNFCCC COPs from 1998 onward and most recently COP21 in Paris. I regularly attended UNESCO World Heritage meetings to campaign for the inclusion of wild places. I retired from the Australian Senate and the Leadership of the Australian Greens in 2015.
I represented Oceania on the Council of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature including as a Vice President 2000-2008 and advocated successfully for the establishment of the Oceania regional office in Fiji. I was appointed a UNEP Global 500 Laureate in 1990.
In 2015 I was awarded Women and Leadership Australia's Tasmanian award for Excellence in Women's Leadership. I am currently Ambassador for the Global Greens, Ambassador for the Australian Invasive Species Council, Ambassador for the 100% Renewable Energy Campaign of the World Future Council, Patron of the Australian Smart Energy Council, Member of Energy Watch Group, Advisory Board Member to the US-based Climate Accountability Institute, Solar Heads of State, The Borneo Project and Associate of the Sydney University Democracy Network.
In 2018 I was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia:
‘For distinguished service to the Australian and Tasmanian Parliaments, and through domestic and global contributions to the protection and preservation of the natural environment.’
I’m passionate about securing the future of our planet. I stand up for Nature, for all species and for people living now and yet to be born as many First people's say, think seven generations ahead.