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What it means to me, to be Green

You know when you meet a fellow Green. We come from all sorts of families, from all over the country, but we come to The Greens for the same reason: to leave this planet in better shape than we found it. When I joined The Greens, after feeling inspired by Bob Brown’s sole voice of reason and compassion in response to the Tampa affair, I felt like I found a home.

For many in our movement, it starts with commitment. We commit ourselves to community activism; to making our lives and homes more sustainable; to progressive ideas and values. We prioritise campaigning for The Greens cause. My daughter was born in 2007 a few months before I became South Australia’s first Greens Senator. She has grown up among our members, at rallies and on the campaign trail. It’s vital to recognise those important to us, make sacrifices to allow us to fight for what we believe in.

Our generation is the first to see the impacts of climate change – and we’re the last who can stop it. We must reduce carbon pollution and move to a zero-emission economy. We need to boost our investment in renewables, green-powered industry and ban new coal mines – like Adani. We need to make it easier and more affordable for people to lead clean, green lives, so communities across the world can share the benefits. Climate change looms as the biggest driver of inequality of the next generation. The most disadvantaged in our community will suffer first and most. It is up to The Greens to make sure no-one is left behind as we transition to a cleaner and safer world. Our economy must deliver for both people and planet.

To achieve this, The Greens must be a powerful, united, political force. We need to renew our organisation and structures, ensuring The Greens can grow, attract and involve new members and be responsive to the next generation of activists. We are the only political party that acts in the interests of future generations, not just what’s happening right now. We’re able to do that because we have strong, long-lasting connections to our communities.

We have a long history of standing up for the vulnerable, people seeking asylum, and those who are discriminated against in our society. My first private members’ bill was to legalise same-sex marriage, and being in the Parliament when marriage equality finally became a reality in November was an experience I was proud, and grateful, to share. Thank you for helping make it happen!

My upbringing is not typical of a Senator. My mum couldn’t read until she was 14 and left school at 16. I was home-schooled before attending an underfunded public high school in a tiny country town. My teachers recognised my desire to learn, and I was among a small handful to graduate. I swam against the tide to do well in school and go to university in Adelaide. I’m a proud product of public education and it delights me that my daughter will be one too.

I’m a fierce defender of the Murray. I’ve spent years campaigning for a healthy river, and for South Australia to get the water it needs to thrive. Together with passionate communities, The Greens just last month helped save 70 billion litres of water going to big corporate irrigators. Getting Labor and crossbench senators to agree to this controversial disallowance comes from years of experience, working with the community and negotiating with MPs across party lines.

The Greens have deep connections to coastal communities fighting big oil and gas companies seeking to risk our beautiful Great Australian Bight and Kangaroo Island. We will always fight mining and fossil fuel companies because of the irreversible damage they do to our environment, and because too many politicians are dependent on their donations.

No matter what a particular party believes in or strives towards, we are all in this together.  We only have ONE planet, there is NO Plan B.

You can pick a Green out in a crowd. We’re proud of who we are and what we stand for. It’s something bigger than any one of us.

Thank you for your support,