Speakers Profile - Bob Brown AM

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Bob (Robert James) Brown, was born in 1944 and educated in rural New South Wales, before becoming the captain of Blacktown Boys High School and graduating in medicine from Sydney University in 1968. He helped establish the Wilderness Society, which organised the blockade of the dam works on Tasmania's' Franklin River in 1982--3, and acted as a Director for five years. The blockade saw 1500 people arrested and 600 jailed, including Bob who spent 19 days in Risdon Prison. On the day of his release in 1983, he was elected as the first Green into Tasmania's Parliament.

As a state MP, Bob introduced initiatives such as Freedom of Information, Death with Dignity, lower parliamentary salaries, gay law reform, banning the battery-hen industry, nuclear free Tasmania and protection of native forests. Labor and Liberal voted against his 1987 bill to ban semi-automatic guns, 7 years before the Port Arthur massacre.

In 1989, he led the five-member Greens parliamentary team, which held the balance of power with the Field Labor Government. The Greens saved 25 schools from closure, created more than 1000 jobs through its local initiatives job scheme, doubled the size of Tasmania's Wilderness World Heritage Area to 1.4 million hectares, created the Douglas Apsley National Park and supported tough fiscal measures to rid the state of the previous Liberal debt. Bob resigned from the State Parliament in 1993 and Christine Milne took over as leader of the Tasmanian Greens.

In 1996 Bob was elected to the Australian Senate where he led the national debate on climate change, Australia's involvement in war, the green economy, preventative healthcare, conservation, and human rights. He introduced many private senator's bills including electoral and parliamentary reform, rights of the territories, junk food advertising, mandatory sentencing, and forestry. Elected leader of the Greens in 2005 Bob saw the federal Greens parliamentary team expand to five in 2007 and ten in 2010.

Bob Brown has been a life-long activist. He was assaulted at protests against logging at Tasmania's Farmhouse creek in 1986, in 1995 was jailed twice for demonstrating to protect Tasmania's Tarkine Wilderness from logging and in 2006 he began years of legal action to protect Tasmania's Wielangta forest. In 1990, Bob established the Australian Bush Heritage Fund using his Goldman Environmental Prize and in 1992 was a driving force behind the formation of the Australian Greens. His books include Lake Pedder, Wild Rivers, Tarkine Trails, The Greens, 'Memo for a Saner World', Earth, and In Balfour St.

Bob resigned from the Senate in June 2012 to establish the Bob Brown Foundation, a not for profit organisation dedicated to supporting environmental campaigns and green causes in Australia and our region. He is a published author and acclaimed photographer.

Bob lives in Tasmania with his partner Paul and when he gets the chance, enjoys photography, bushwalking, poetry, and philosophy.


Born a twin, 27 December 1944, Oberon, NSW
1952: Began school at Trunkey Creek, NSW
c 1958--1962: Coffs Harbour High School and Blacktown Boys High School (School Captain)
1968: Graduated in Medicine, University of Sydney
1968--1980: Medical practice Canberra, London, Sydney, Perth, Launceston
1972: moved to Tasmania to work in Launceston general practice.
1975: United Tasmania Group candidate. Won 112 votes in first Senate election
1979--84: Director, The Wilderness Society
1983: Elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly
1989--92: Leader of the 5 Green independents, formed an accord with the ALP
1990: Founding president, Australian Bush Heritage Fund
1992: Formation of the Australian Greens
1994--6: Australian tour as Australian Greens national spokesperson
1996: Elected to the Senate for Tasmania as first Australian Greens Senator.
2001: Re-elected to Senate and hosted first Global Greens Conference, Canberra
2005: Elected parliamentary leader of the Australian Greens
2007: Re-elected to the Senate until 30 June 2014
2010: 9 Green senators and 1 House of Representatives member.
2010: Greens sign historic agreement with the ALP which allows Prime Minister Julia Gillard to form government. Greens gain balance of power in the Senate.
2011: At the Greens instigation Australia introduces a price on carbon.


* 1983: The Australian Newspaper "Australian of the Year"

* 1987: UNEP Global 500 Award

* 1990: Goldman Environmental Prize (USA)

* 1996: BBC Wildlife magazine "World's Most Inspiring Politician" award.

* 1997: Republican of the Year -- Australian Republic Party

* 1998: National Trust's 100 living Australian national treasures

* 2006: US based Rainforest Action Network -- World Rainforest Award

* 2008: National Portrait Gallery/ABC My Favourite Australian, top 10

* 2009: Australian Peace Prize -- Peace Organisation of Australia

* 2010: Humanist of the Year -- Australian Humanist Societies