Peter comes to us with a wonderful depth of experience. He's an economist, a small business owner and an accomplished campaigner for his community in northern Tasmania. He established and taught the world's first environmental finance course at the University of Tasmania. He understands that we are all part of a society, not just an economy; that we are citizens, not just consumers; and that innovation, a nurturing relationship with the environment and a clear eye to the future must underpin everything that we do.
Peter is ideally suited to working on my priorities of engaging with progressive business and rural Australia, where so many people are ready to seize the opportunities provided by the NBN, renewable energy and more. He has lived the Greens' vision of a clean, green and clever future. With his wife Natalie, he runs an award-winning vineyard near Launceston, turning Tasmania's fantastic fresh produce into great organic wines - and a great business.
He also knows first-hand the threats that confront this vision. Gunns' polluting pulp mill would have threatened the integrity of his business, and the livelihoods of hundreds of fishers, wine-makers and tourism operators right up and down the Tamar estuary. It still might. That's why Peter stood up for his community, took up the campaign against the pulp mill, then ran for the Tasmanian Greens in a state election in the area. Soon after, I had the great pleasure of running for the Senate in 2010 with Peter as my running mate on the ticket.
I'm very much looking forward to working with Peter to bring about change for the better across Australia as we build a cleaner, healthier, smarter nation.
PS. A week may be a long time in politics - but we expect to watch and celebrate Peter's first speech to the Senate next Wednesday. We'll let you know how to tune in and welcome the next Green Senator as soon as we can.