2020 was a huge year for the Greens around the country – In Queensland, we doubled our representation! In this latest installment of our series that introduces our newest MPs, we speak to MP for south Brisbane Amy Macmahon.
1. What do you remember about your first election?
I first ran for the Greens in 2017 – we didn't make it that time, but we built an incredible network of volunteers who doorknocked and made phone calls for 12 months. We worked out of a tiny office with a hole in the floor, and got a 12% swing!
In 2020, we built up an even bigger movement, fighting for universal services, public housing, fully funded schools and making big corporations pay their fair share. We won, and I feel so lucky to represent the people of South Brisbane.
2. Endangered Australian animal that's captured your heart?
The bilby. My mum wrote an illustrated book about a bilby in the 90s, travelling around Australia with a wombat, galah and kangaroo with a joey, looking for a mate. A few years ago, I got to name a baby bilby at the Ipswich Conservation Centre. He was named Mudlo, which means rock in Yuggera language, following on from his father, named Quartz. This year, my office ran an easter bilby art competition, and we got dozens of the most gorgeous artworks of easter bilbies!
3. What’s your precious place and why?
The Enogerra Reservoir – the perfect place for a weekend trip to reconnect with nature.
4. Favourite Greens policy?
Universal housing. Homes for all would be transformative for so many people's lives, and housing shouldn't be treated as a commodity.
5. Best part of your work with the Greens?
Getting to work with my amazing, connected community. South Brisbane is diverse, bustling and dynamic, and people are motivated to make our neighbourhood great. I love joining the West End Community House breakfasts, or live music in Bunyapa Park, or meeting community groups fighting for better public transport, planning and greenspace.
6. What keeps you going?
My family, especially my two little nieces.
7. Favourite political song?
Not a political song, but Surrender by Ball Park Music (Brisbane locals), has the line "I grow from the ground" which always reminds me that we're connected to place and community.
8. Who inspires you? Why?
I've gotten to work with some amazing First Nations Aunties, whose resilience, passion and advocacy always inspires me. Aunty Karen Coghill has been a huge inspiration in her fight to protect the Deebing Creek Mission. Local songwoman Aunty Dawn Daylight is such an amazing advocate for the local community, and is so generous with her time and talents.
9. Comfort food?
Bread and butter pudding.
10. What would you spend $20 billion on?
11. Secret vice?
Trips to Bunnings for plants.
12. Best coffee/drink in town?
The Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie at Vulture St Espresso.
13. Three apps you can’t live without?
Messenger, Calendar and Instagram.
14. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to try everything! Art, science, teaching, parenting – I'm lucky that being an MP is incredibly diverse in the kinds of work we do, and the issues we focus on.
15. Morning run or night time swim?
16. What’s your greatest hope for the future?
That we can give everyone a home, we tackle climate change, and we create a world where everyday people, not big corporations, map the course of our future.
17. Magic wand to solve one world problem — what would it be?
Ending the pervasive power of big corporations over our political system, allowing everyday people to have a real say in what our society and economy looks like.
18. What advice would you give a new volunteer?
Get involved in whatever way you feel comfortable with – letterboxing, doorknocking, helping at events – but seek out people to talk about politics with, and build connections with. Building a community of like-minded people, who are also fighting for a better world, has been one of the most rewarding parts of joining the Greens.
19. You can travel through time – where do you go?
The Patagonian glaciers in 50 years time, to see if we stopped climate change.
19. If you weren’t doing this for a living, what would you be doing?
I studied to be an academic, but eventually felt too disconnected from everyday people and grassroots struggles – I'd probably be a social worker or a nurse, connected to people and community.