Bob Brown is former Australian Greens politician, medical doctor, environmentalist, former Senator and former Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens.
Brown was elected to the Australian Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket, joining with sitting Greens Western Australia senator Dee Margetts to form the first group of Australian Greens. He was re-elected in 2001 and in 2007. He was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia, and the first openly gay leader of an Australian political party.
Brown was elected to the Australian Senate for Tasmania in 1996, and was an outspoken voice in opposition to the conservative government of John Howard. He also introduced bills for constitutional reform, forest protection, to block radioactive waste dumping, to ban mandatory sentencing of Aboriginal children and for greenhouse decline.
At the 2001 federal election Brown was re-elected to the Senate with a greatly increased vote, and was outspoken on Prime Minister John Howard's refusal to allow 438 asylum seekers to land on Christmas Island after they had been rescued from their sinking boat in the Indian Ocean by a Norwegian freighter.
Brown was particularly vocal in his opposition to Australian participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and became recognized as a leading voice for the anti-war/peace movement. When President Bush visited Canberra on 23 October 2003, Brown and fellow Senator Kerry Nettle interjected during his address to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
Brown opposed the Howard Government's modifications to the Marriage Act in 2004, stating that "Mr. Howard should relax and accept gay marriages as part of the future's social fabric".
In February 2007, the Tasmanian State Government and the Australian Federal Government changed the text of the State's Regional Forest Agreement.
Brown was re-elected in the 2007 federal election. He announced his intention to stand again at the Greens National Conference in November 2005.
Brown was ordered to pay $240,000 to Forestry Tasmania, which he said he could not afford to pay. Failure to pay would have resulted in bankruptcy proceedings which would have cost Brown his Senate seat.
In 2011, after the 2010–2011 Queensland floods Brown drew criticism for suggesting that half the Mineral Resource Rent Tax be allocated to future natural catastrophes. He made comments to the effect that climate change, specifically the impact on climate from the mining sector should be held at least partially responsible for the flooding. Brown had earlier rejected a settlement offer from Forestry Tasmania that would have required him to have only paid $200,000 of the costs he had incurred. On 9 June 2009, Dick Smith promised to help bail him out if necessary, an offer that was not needed after pledges of support from over 1,000 donors covered Brown's legal bill within a few days of his announcement.
On 24 March 2012, at the 40th anniversary of the establishment of…