Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Bob Brown Leader of the Australian Greens

b. 27 December 1944

Australian senator, the inaugural Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens, who was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia.Brown has led the Australian Greens since the party was founded in 1992 until the present, a period of growth to poll today at around 10% at state and federal levels (13.9% of the primary vote in 2010.

Brown lives in Hobart with his long-time partner, Paul Thomas, a farmer and activist whom he met in 1996.

(Included on the Same Same list of the 25 most influential Australians in  2010, 2009,20082007)

Like Michael Kirby, Bob Brown has appeared on every Same Same 25 list we've run, securing a huge number of nominations from fans of his political activism and advocacy for social justice.

In 2011 his influence is set to be greater than ever. The Australian Greens currently share the balance of power in the Senate and will hold the balance of power in their own right from July. Heading up the party is a leading light in national politics - Brown's been a public figure for 40 years and was instrumental in early gay rights reform.

"Coming out made [public] life harder," he told the Sydney Morning Herald recently. "It lost me an election in 1982 and in every letterbox in the electorate there were vile pamphlets about my sexuality. I was continually vilified in the streets. But it was the right thing to do and personally it made things a lot easier.
"I am always delighted when a young person comes up to me and says, 'Look, thank you for being who you are because it has meant a lot to me with my own struggle with my sexuality.'"
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