An interview with Australian politician and rabble-rouser Bob Brown
04 Jan 2007
Bob Brown looks a caricature of an Australian senator: a bit disheveled in a rumpled gray suit, unfashionable glasses, and a goofy grin. But a little rumple goes a long way. In a career that has spanned three decades, Brown has brought new awareness of environmental and human rights into the Australian political process.
The former doctor became the director of the Tasmanian Wilderness Society in the 1970s, during a bruising and ultimately successful fight to stop the damming of the Franklin River. Imprisoned in 1983 after being arrested at a protest, Brown was elected to Tasmania’s Parliament on the day of his release.
Since then, Brown has served as a member of federal Parliament, and is now in his second term as a senator. He is the leader of the Australian Greens, which he helped found. Besides his environmental work, Brown, the first openly gay Australian Member of Parliament, has spearheaded human-rights initiatives in Australia and abroad. And he’s been a leading voice of opposition to the Iraq war: In 2003, Brown was one of only two Aussie parliamentarians to speak out during President Bush’s address to their body.