Senator Bob Brown, Byron Bay Writers Festival Keynote


The Byron Bay Writers’ Festival is delighted that Bob will join us in two very special in conversations at this year’s Festival. The first will be a highlight of our high school day program on Thursday 2 August where local students will have the opportunity to hear from one of Australia’s most visionary leaders. The second appearance will be part of our main Festival program and will give all of us a chance to be inspired by the story of one of Australia’s leading activists and thinkers on Friday 3 August.

“I am thrilled that Bob Brown one of Australia’s leading thinkers and activists has found time in his busy schedule to join us at this year’s Festival” says Festival Director Jonathan Parsons.

For three decades, Senator Brown has been an inspiration to people across Australia and the world. His determination and commitment has transformed our country. Sometimes we forget that Australia has often been influential in groundbreaking global trends. Australians who have thought outside the square and articulated new approaches have achieved this. Bob Brown is one such Australian.

Bob Brown was first elected as an Australian Greens Senator for Tasmania in 1996, after 10 years in Tasmania’s state parliament. Bob was formally elected as the first federal parliamentary Leader of the Greens in November 2005. He served in this role until April 2012, and has now been succeeded by Senator Christine Milne. Bob lives with his partner Paul Thomas near Cygnet in southern Tasmania.

Bob is the author of several books, including Wild Rivers (1983), Lake Pedder (1986), Tarkine Trails (1994), The Greens (with Peter Singer, 1996) Memo for a Saner World (2004), Valley of the Giants (2004), Tasmania’s Recherche Bay (2005), Earth (2009) and a book of poetry In Balfour Street (2010).
In first speech in the Senate, Bob raised the threat posed by climate change. Government and opposition members laughed at his warning of sea level rises, and it has taken 10 years for them to finally begin to acknowledge the causes and effects of climate change.

Since 1996, Bob has continued to take a courageous, and often politically lonely, stand on issues across the national and international spectrum. Some of the many issues that Bob has raised in the Senate include petrol sniffing in Central Australia, self-determination for West Papua and Tibet, saving Tasmania’s ancient forests, opposing the war in Iraq, justice for David Hicks, stopping the sale of the Snowy Hydro scheme and opposing the dumping of nuclear waste in Australia. He also introduced bills for constitutional reform, forest protection, to ban mandatory sentencing of Aboriginal children, to prohibit the use of cluster munitions, to legalise euthanasia, and for greenhouse abatement.

Bob has been bashed, sued, shot at, awarded and celebrated for his outspoken advocacy on many environmental and social justice issues. Even from his enemies there is grudging respect. It’s telling that although News Ltd papers in particular have attacked and criticised Bob at every turn, The Australian recently voted him the most influential politician in the country.

He says, “Once I retire from the Senate in June I am looking forward to writing, photography and bushwalking, and of course participating in this year’s Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.” He will continue to support the growth of the Greens around the world, and maintain an active role in supporting community-based campaigns for social and environmental justice.

For you chance to see Bob Brown take advantage of the Early Bird tickets sales offer. These limited tickets are selling fast! For further information or to book your early bird tickets, visit or call the booking hotline on 1300 368 552. The full Festival program will be released on 15 June.