Bob Brown
Bob Brown

Robert James Brown (born 27 December 1944) is a former Australian politician, medical physician and environmentalist. He was a senator and the parliamentary chief of the Australian Greens. Brown was elected to the Australian Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket, becoming a member of with sitting Greens Western Australia senator Dee Margetts to type the primary group of Australian Greens senators following the 1996 federal election. He was re-elected in 2001 and in 2007. He was the primary overtly homosexual member of the Parliament of Australia and the primary overtly homosexual chief of an Australian political celebration.

Whereas serving within the Tasmanian parliament, Brown efficiently campaigned for a big enhance within the protected wilderness areas. Brown led the Australian Greens from the celebration’s basis in 1992 till April 2012, a interval through which polls grew to round 10{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} at state and federal ranges (13.9{ae90547d17d4d74b17007ee836a04674fd006933c139011dc78eb03c100070a7} of the first vote in 2010).[1] From 2002 to 2004, when minor events held the steadiness of energy within the Senate, Brown turned a well-recognised politician. In October 2003 Brown was the topic of worldwide media curiosity when he was suspended from the parliament for interjecting throughout an handle by United States president George W. Bush.

On 13 April 2012, Brown resigned as chief of the Greens and indicated his intention to resign from the Senate in June. This occurred on 15 June 2012.[2]

Youth and schooling

Brown was born in Oberon, New South Wales, one in all twins,[3] and attended Trunkey Public College, Coffs Harbour Excessive College (1957–60) and Blacktown Boys Excessive College. In his senior 12 months, he was elected college captain.[4]

After ending highschool, Brown enrolled in drugs at College of Sydney, the place he obtained a Bachelor of Medication and Surgical procedure diploma.

In his early 20s, Brown was impressed by the then-Prime Minister Robert Menzies, and almost joined the Liberal Social gathering of Australia.[5]

Pre-parliamentary profession

Brown practised drugs for a time on the Royal Canberra Hospital. Throughout his tenure on the hospital, he and different senior medical workers took a pacifist stance by refusing to certify younger males who didn’t want to battle within the Vietnam Battle as match to be conscripted.[6] He then labored as a resident at Darwin and Alice Springs hospitals. On the latter put up, he met John Hawkins, a surgeon who had kayaked rivers in Tasmania.[6]

Brown travelled to London in 1970 and labored at Hounslow Cottage Hospital and St Mary Abbot’s Hospital in South Kensington.[7] He was the resident physician on obligation at St Mary Abbot’s Hospital when Jimi Hendrix was introduced in.[8][9]

On the time of his retirement, many media shops erroneously reported that he had pronounced Hendrix lifeless. Brown later clarified that, whereas he had been on obligation when Hendrix was introduced in, “he had been lifeless for some hours”, and Hendrix was formally pronounced lifeless by a special physician—who was, coincidentally, additionally an Australian.[10]

Brown moved to Tasmania in 1972 and labored as a normal practitioner in Launceston. He quickly turned concerned within the state’s environmental motion, particularly the marketing campaign to save lots of Lake Pedder. By 1972, he was a member of the newly shaped United Tasmania Group, Australia’s first “inexperienced” celebration.[11] For a interval of two years through the Nineteen Seventies, Brown served time as a member of a Thylacine search group.[12]

In 1976, he fasted for every week on prime of Mt Wellington in protest towards the arrival at Hobart of the nuclear-powered warship USS Enterprise.[13]

State politics

Brown after being elected to the Senate within the Nineteen Nineties.

In 1978 Brown was appointed director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society. Within the late Nineteen Seventies he emerged as a frontrunner of the marketing campaign to stop development of the Franklin Dam, which might have flooded the Franklin River valley as a part of a hydroelectricity mission. Brown was among the many 1500 folks arrested whereas protesting through the marketing campaign. He subsequently spent 19 days in Hobart’s Risdon Jail. On the day of his launch in 1983, he turned a member of Tasmania’s parliament for the Home of Meeting seat of Denison after the Democrats MP Norm Sanders resigned to efficiently stand for the Australian Senate; Brown was elected to interchange him on a countback.[14] The Franklin marketing campaign was successful after Federal authorities intervention protected the Franklin River in 1983.

Throughout his first time period of workplace, Brown launched a variety of personal member’s initiatives, which embrace freedom of data, demise with dignity, decreasing parliamentary salaries, homosexual regulation reform, banning the battery-hen trade and advocation for nuclear free Tasmania. His 1987 invoice to ban semi-automatic weapons was voted down by each Liberal and Labor members of Tasmania’s Home of Meeting, 9 years earlier than the Port Arthur bloodbath resulted in a profitable federal Liberal bid to attain the identical outcomes.

In 1989 Tasmania’s system of proportional illustration allowed the Greens to win 5 out of 35 seats within the Tasmanian Home of Meeting and Brown turned their chief.[footnote 1] He agreed to help a minority Labor Social gathering authorities, on the premise of a negotiated Accord (signed by Michael Discipline and Bob Brown) through which the Inexperienced independents agreed to help the finances however not motions of no confidence, and the ALP agreed to develop a extra open parliamentary course of, to seek the advice of on departmental appointments, present a legislative analysis service, parity in parliamentary staffing and a reform agenda which included equal alternatives, freedom of data, nationwide parks safety and public disclosure of bulk energy contracts and royalties from mining corporations.[15] This settlement, nevertheless, broke down over forestry points in 1992. In 1993 Brown resigned from the Home of Meeting and stood unsuccessfully for the federal Home of Representatives.

Throughout 1990-1991 Brown advocated for a merger of the Inexperienced Independents with the Australian Democrats to type the “Inexperienced Democrats”, versus confederating with different Inexperienced Events and forming the Australian Greens.[16] Nevertheless, following a change in management within the Democrats, this plan couldn’t proceed and the Independents aligned themselves in direction of a unified Inexperienced Social gathering.[16]

Federal politics

Brown at Salamanca Market in Tasmania in December 2004

Brown lays out the Inexperienced’s local weather change insurance policies within the lead-up to the 2007 federal election

Brown at a local weather change rally in Melbourne on 5 July 2008

Adam Bandt, Brian Walters and Brown through the marketing campaign for the 2010 Victorian state election

Greg Barber, Brown and Brian Walters attending a protest rally in Melbourne in 2010

Brown was elected to the Australian Senate for Tasmania in 1996, and was an outspoken voice in opposition to the conservative authorities of John Howard, and in help of inexperienced and human rights points, together with worldwide points corresponding to Tibet, East Timor and West Papua. He additionally launched payments for constitutional reform, forest safety, to dam radioactive waste dumping, to ban necessary sentencing of Aboriginal youngsters, to ban the usage of cluster munitions and for greenhouse abatement.

On the 2001 federal election Brown was re-elected to the Senate with a enormously elevated vote, and was outspoken on Prime Minister John Howard’s refusal to permit 438 asylum seekers (principally from Afghanistan) to land on Christmas Island after they’d been rescued from their sinking boat within the Indian Ocean by the MV Tampa, a Norwegian freighter. Brown was equally essential of Opposition Chief Kim Beazley’s acquiescence to John Howard’s stance on the Tampa incident.

Brown was significantly vocal in his opposition to Australian participation within the 2003 invasion of Iraq and have become recognised as a number one voice for the anti-war/peace motion. When President Bush visited Canberra on 23 October 2003, Brown and fellow senator Kerry Nettle interjected throughout his handle to a joint sitting of the 2 homes of parliament.[17] Throughout Bush’s speech Brown and Nettle wore indicators referring to David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, two Australian residents held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, at the moment (Habib was later launched with out cost and Hicks served a jail time period for offering materials help for terrorism), following their apprehension by United States forces in Afghanistan and Pakistan respectively. Bush accepted the interjections with good humour however the Speaker of the Home, Neil Andrew formally “named” Brown and Nettle. This meant that they have been each suspended from the Parliament for twenty-four hours which prevented them from being current throughout an analogous handle from Chinese language President Hu Jintao the following day. After the speech, nevertheless, Brown shook Bush’s hand.

Brown opposed the Howard Authorities’s amendments to the Marriage Act in 2004, stating that “Mr Howard ought to chill out and settle for homosexual marriages as a part of the longer term’s social material”.[18]

In December 2004, forestry and export woodchip firm Gunns Restricted tried to sue Brown and others for $6.3 million, in an motion which media reviews say associated to “ongoing damaging campaigns and actions” towards the corporate. The unique Assertion of Declare issued by Gunns was struck out by the Supreme Courtroom and prices have been awarded towards Gunns for the preliminary proceedings. Gunns in the end failed with the corporate lastly dropping all claims towards Brown on 13 December 2006[19] whereas persevering with its case towards others together with The Wilderness Society.

Brown was formally elected as the primary Federal Parliamentary Chief of The Greens on 28 November 2005,[20] following virtually a decade of service as de facto chief since his election to the Senate in 1996.

In February 2007, the Tasmanian State Authorities and the Australian Federal Authorities responded by altering the textual content of the State’s Regional Forest Settlement. New clauses make it clear that the phrase ‘safety’ relates solely as to if the 2 respective governments deem a species to be protected relatively than the which means of the phrase being primarily based on precise proof of such.

In early 2007, Brown attracted scorn from sections of the media and the main political events for his proposal to decide to a plan inside three years, that may ultimately see the banning of coal exports.[21] Brown described coal exports because the “power trade’s heroin behavior” and acknowledged that the export of other applied sciences needs to be the precedence.[22]

Brown was re-elected within the 2007 federal election. He introduced his intention to face once more on the Greens Nationwide Convention in November 2005.

Following his re-election and that of the brand new Labor Authorities, Brown known as on the brand new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, to set fastened carbon targets instantly, and to announce their ranges on the upcoming United Nations Bali Local weather Change Convention in December 2007, persevering with his local weather campaigning, and saying that it was “apparent” what the end result could be if Australia was to not set carbon emissions objectives.[23]

In 2005, Brown introduced a authorized case towards Forestry Tasmania within the Federal Courtroom, in an try to guard Tasmania’s Wielangta forest from clearfell logging. The 1997 Tasmanian Regional Forest Settlement (RFA) exempted logging operations from endangered species legal guidelines however required the safety of endangered species. Bob Brown introduced a case towards Forestry Tasmania citing threats to endangered species just like the Swift parrot and Wielangta Stag Beetle.[24] In December 2006, Choose Shane Marshall awarded the case in Brown’s favour.[25] On attraction to the total bench of the Federal Courtroom stage, the case was misplaced, with out rejecting the sooner judgement that logging would additional endanger these species.[26] In Could 2008 the Excessive Courtroom denied depart to attraction that call after the wording of the RFA was modified.[27][28]

Brown was ordered to pay $240,000 to Forestry Tasmania, which he mentioned he couldn’t afford to pay. Failure to pay would have resulted in chapter proceedings which might have price Brown his Senate seat.[29][30] Brown had earlier rejected a settlement provide from Forestry Tasmania that may have required him to have solely paid $200,000 of the prices he had incurred.[31] On 9 June 2009, Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith promised to assist bail him out if essential,[32] a proposal that was not wanted after pledges of help from over 1,000 donors lined Brown’s authorized invoice inside just a few days of his announcement.[33]

In 2011, after the 2010–11 Queensland floods Brown drew criticism for suggesting that half the Mineral Useful resource Hire Tax be allotted to future pure catastrophes.[34] He made feedback to the impact that local weather change, particularly the influence on local weather from the mining sector needs to be held at the least partially accountable for the flooding.

On 24 March 2012, on the fortieth anniversary of the institution of the Tasmanian Greens,[35] Brown warned about degradation of the Earth and the influence that would have on future generations. He postulated that different civilisations within the universe are:

not speaking with Earth. They’ve extincted themselves. They’ve come and gone. And now it is our flip.[36][37]

As a attainable strategy to pre-empting this he proposed a World Parliament. He was met with a standing ovation. The then deputy chief Christine Milne mentioned it was “a really inspiring speech”.[38] There was criticism of his strategy.[39] On the World Greens Convention in Dakar, Senegal Africa, 1 April 2012, Bob Brown advocated that there be established a “international parliament” the place “each citizen ought to have an equal say”. The ultimate decision supported by the Australian Greens and others, was handed.[40]

Resignation from Greens management

On 13 April 2012, Brown resigned as chief of the Greens and introduced that he could be resigning from the Senate in June when his alternative was obtainable. His deputy, Christine Milne, turned Greens chief, and federal Melbourne MP Adam Bandt turned Greens deputy chief.[41] Peter Whish-Wilson, who had previously stood for the Greens, was chosen as Brown’s alternative within the Senate.[42]

Brown’s resignation passed off on 15 June 2012 at 3:30 pm, when he handed his resignation to the senate president, John Hogg. Peter Whish-Wilson was sworn into the Senate on 21 June.

Put up-resignation

Brown arrange the Bob Brown Basis along with his longtime associate Paul Thomas to advertise environmental consciousness.[43] Since its institution, the Bob Brown Basis has given out nationwide awards to many Australian environmentalists together with Miranda Gibson, Charlie Wooden, Isaac Astill, and Drew Hutton.[44]

Brown is a supporter of the Marketing campaign for the Institution of a United Nations Parliamentary Meeting, an organisation which advocates for democratic reformation of the United Nations.[45]

Brown was a speaker on the Save the Kimberley live performance, held on 5 October 2012. Held at Federation Sq. in Melbourne, Australia, the live performance was a part of a long-running marketing campaign to protest towards a proposal to industrialise the James Value Level space in Broome, Western Australia, Australia. Brown had additionally addressed a rally on 2 September 2012 in Sydney, Australia.[46] Brown appeared at one other live performance in help of the Kimberley trigger on 24 February 2013, with musicians Missy Higgins and John Butler additionally showing, with the occasion held at The Esplanade in Fremantle, Western Australia. Jarrah Data, the file label that Butler co-founded with musical trio The Waifs and band supervisor Phil Stevens, labored in partnership with The Wilderness Society to stage the free occasion that additionally featured the band Ball Park Music.[47][citation needed] A march to protest the proposed gasoline refinery development at James Value Level accompanied the free live performance and marketing campaign supporters have been photographed with banners and placards.[48]

On 8 January 2013, it was introduced that Brown could be taking on as director of the Australian chapter of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, a non-profit, marine conservation organisation.[49] He stepped down in April 2014.[50]

In January 2016, Brown was arrested after refusing to go away the Lapoinya Forest in Tasmania, the place preparations for logging have been beneath means. Together with one other protester, who had been arrested just a few days earlier, he was charged with an offence beneath Tasmania’s Workplaces (Safety from Protesters) Act 2014.[51] Though the costs have been dropped, the 2 went to the Excessive Courtroom to argue that the provisions beneath which they’d been charged have been unconstitutional. In October 2017 the Excessive Courtroom agreed, by a majority though for differing causes, that the provisions have been invalid in that they breached the constitutional freedom of political communication.[52][53][54]

In August 2016, Brown joined the crew of Sea Shepherd on board their ship Steve Irwin,[55] because it joined the marketing campaign towards proposed drilling within the Nice Australian Bight.[56]

Opposition to a Queensland coal mine

In April 2019 Brown led a convoy of autos to protest towards a proposed coal mine.[57]

Opposition to a Tasmanian wind farm

In July 2019 Brown got here out strongly opposing a big wind farm to be arrange in Northern Tasmania, elevating concern for hen species.[58]

Private life

In a newspaper interview in 1976, Brown introduced that he had a same-sex associate[59] to focus on discrimination and encourage regulation reform as a result of gay exercise in Tasmania remained against the law[59] till 1997.[60]

Brown presently lives in Eggs and Bacon Bay, Tasmania along with his long-time associate, Paul Thomas, a farmer and activist whom he met in 1996.[61][62]

Brown was the founder, in 1990, of the Australian Bush Heritage Fund, now Bush Heritage Australia, a non-profit environmental organisation devoted to buying and preserving Australian bushland. He was President of the organisation till 1996.[63] On 20 March 2011 Brown donated a 14-hectare (35-acre) property and home he had owned for 38 years to Bush Heritage Australia. The property is situated 47 kilometres (29 miles) south-west of Launceston, Tasmania, within the Liffey Valley. Based on Australian Geographic, it’s a web site of historic and symbolic significance.[64]

Brown describes himself as a “lapsed Presbyterian”.[65]

In an interview with Richard Fidler on ABC radio, Nigel Brennan, an Australian photojournalist who was kidnapped in Somalia and held hostage for 462 days, revealed Brown had contributed $100,000 of his personal cash to assist pay the ransom for his launch. It was additionally revealed that Brown contacted Australian businessman Dick Smith asking that he additionally contribute funds in direction of the discharge of Brennan[66] Brennan, who was launched in November 2009, additionally acknowledged on this interview that Brown needed to borrow this cash, an assertion additionally made in numerous media shops on the time of Brennan’s launch.[67][68] In the identical interview, Brennan notes that in distinction to Brown’s compassion, the Australian authorities appeared unconcerned along with his welfare, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd dismissed his mom’s anxiousness at having her son launched.

In July 2012, Bob Brown was inducted into the Corridor of Fame at Coffs Harbour Excessive College,[69] the place he had spent a major a part of his secondary college years.


Brown has revealed a number of books together with Wild Rivers (1983), Lake Pedder (1986), Tarkine Trails (1994), The Greens (1996) (with Peter Singer), Memo for a Saner World (2004), Valley of the Giants (2004), Tasmania’s Recherche Bay (2005), Earth (2009), In Balfour Road (2010) and Optimism: reflections on a lifetime of motion (2014).[70]
He has collaborated with, or supported work of Geoff Legislation.[71][72]
In 2004 James Norman revealed the primary authorised biography of Brown, entitled Bob Brown: A Mild Revolutionary.


Brown has acquired the next awards:

  • The Australian newspaper ‘Australian of the Yr’ (1983)[73]
  • IUCN Packard Award (1984)[74]
  • UNEP World 500 Roll of Honour (1987)[75]
  • Goldman Environmental Prize (1990)[76]
  • MAPW Distinguished Doctor Award (1990)[77]
  • BBC Wildlife journal ‘World’s Most Inspiring Politician’ (1996)[78]
  • Nationwide Belief Australian Nationwide Treasure (1998)
  • Rainforest Motion Community Environmental Hero (2006)[79]
  • Australian Peace Prize (2009)[80]
  • Australian Humanist of the Yr (2010)[81]


  1. ^ In 1989, the Greens didn’t have formal management positions, however Brown’s official senate biography lists his management of the state celebration from 1989–1993 as his first parliamentary celebration place.

Additional studying

  • Armstrong, Lance J.E. (1997). Good God, He is Inexperienced! A Historical past of Tasmanian Politics 1989–1996. Wahroonga, N.S.W., Pacific Legislation Press. ISBN 1-875192-08-5
  • Strains, William J. (2006) Patriots : defending Australia’s pure heritage St Lucia, Qld. : College of Queensland Press, 2006. ISBN 0-7022-3554-7
  • Thompson, Peter (1984). Bob Brown of the Franklin River. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-86861-596-X.
  • “Biography for BROWN, Robert (Bob) James”. Parliament of Australia. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.

  • Brown’s official web site
  • Brown’s parliamentary web site
Social gathering political places of work
New workplace Federal Parliamentary Chief of the Australian Greens
2005 (de facto since 1996)–2012
Succeeded by

Christine Milne
New workplace Chief of the Tasmanian Greens
1989 (de facto)–1993
Succeeded by

Christine Milne

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