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The campaign lines for the 2016 election have been clearly drawn, and the two old parties are looking more similar than ever. Neither is genuinely confronting the challenges facing this generation: global warming, growing inequality, global displacement or the transition to the new economy. Australians are eager for a different kind of politics, where policy is legislated in the national interest, not according to the will of vested interests. The Greens are out to break the duopoly that is failing Australian politics, to see our Parliament become be a site for deliberative politics where negotiation between parties and independents becomes the norm.
Dr Richard Di Natale is the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator for Victoria, and Greens spokesperson on Health, Sport and Multiculturalism.
The son of Italian migrants, Richard grew up in Melbourne and now lives on an off-grid working farm in the foothills of Victoria’s Otway Ranges with his wife Lucy and their two young sons.
Prior to entering Parliament Richard was a VFA footballer, a General Practitioner and a public health specialist. He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory, on HIV prevention in India and as a drug and alcohol clinician in regional Victoria.
Richard was elected as the Greens’ first Senator for Victoria in 2010 and became the third leader of the party when Christine Milne stepped down in May 2015. He is the co-convenor of the Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy and Law Reform, the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua and the Parliamentary Friends of Medicine.
Richard’s achievements in parliament include leading a cross-party push to legalise medicinal cannabis, passing legislation to combat multinational tax avoidance, securing a register of foreign owned land and water entitlements, and giving voters more choice on their Senate ballot paper. And he’s had the courage to take on controversial issues – introducing the nation’s first legislation on dying with dignity and hosting National Drug Summit at Parliament House to explore the need to address drug use as a health issue rather than a criminal one.
Richard makes a mean pizza, grows and bottles his own wine, and is a long-suffering Richmond Tigers fan.