20 Questions with Cassy O'Connor | Australian Greens

20 Questions with Cassy O'Connor

Cassy O'Connor is the parliamentary leader of the Tasmanian Greens and part of the all-female State MPs team. Here she paints us a picture of what life in Tasmania is like, surrounded by natural beauty and working hard to protect it.

By Emma Davidson
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Name: Cassy O'Connor

Age: 49

Role with the Greens: Leader of the Tasmanian Greens, Member for Denison

1. What do you remember about your first election?

The first actual election I remember was the Dismissal election. My Dad made us wear 'Shame Fraser, Shame' badges.

2. Leadbeater’s possum or eastern longneck turtles?

Both please, and the Swift Parrot and the Giant Freshwater crayfish, the Wedge-tailed Eagle .... All creatures fluffy, feathered and scaled!

3. What’s your precious place and why?

Tasmania, all of it. Because it's the most beautiful place I have ever been or seen. A little green, heart shaped island at the bottom of the world, it has so much wildness in a world that is losing it fast. I love its scale and the big hearts of its people.

4. Favourite Greens policy?

Renew Australia, definitely. If we can implement that, we can make a positive contribution to deal with so many other environmental and social imperatives.

5. Best part of your work with the Greens?

Being part of a long proud story of commitment and selflessness for the planet and the life it supports. Waking up each morning on a mission and going to work with dedicated, big hearted people who want to make the world a much better place than it is now.

6. What keeps you going?

Love of life, my family, good people, natural beauty and the belief that we were put on this Earth to give more than we take.

7. Favourite political song?

Treaty by Yothu Yindi.

8. Who inspires you? Why?

So many people ... Children, I love their innocence and trust. It inspires me to dedicate my life to their future. Older people, their wisdom and tenacity. It's also a privilege and an inspiration to spend time talking and listening to people living with disability and people who have come here on dangerous journeys to make a better life. It puts everything in perspective. Individually, I absolutely love and have always been inspired by David Attenborough.

9. Comfort food?

Sourdough toast with vegemite.

10. What would you spend $20 billion on?

A massive climate stimulus package that delivers hope and action from the grassroots up. Landscape restoration and carbon storage. Ramping up investment in renewables and energy efficiency through Renew Australia. So many things that would help to deliver a safe climate and a just society.

11. Secret vice?

If I tell you, it's not a secret anymore. That said, I am quite an obsessive gardener who will sneak into our little food forest at every opportunity.

12. Best coffee/drink in town?

The coffee someone else procures for me when I'm flat out at work, or on a lazy Sunday morning. Later in the day (only some days ...) the best fizzy lifting drink I know is Tasmanian sparkling wine.

13. Three apps you can’t live without?

I can live without them all, but do really like having Google Earth, ABC iView and Gumtree on my phone.

14. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A journalist, like my Dad, and I was until I got gladly derailed by a community campaign to save the Ralphs Bay Conservation Area from a 500 home canal estate development. We won that one and here I am, a proud Greens MP.

15. Morning run or night time swim?

Night time swim but not in choppy, sharky seas. I grew up on Stradbroke Island. We just didn't swim after dark for fear of the Noahs!

16. What’s your greatest hope for the future?

That the little tackers I see buzzing happily around the soccer field on a cold Winter's morning, every child everywhere and those yet unborn, will inherit a healthier planet.   

17. Magic wand to solve one world problem — what would it be?

Wouldn't it be great to have a big, fat magic wand to dissolve all the excess carbon dioxide and methane in the atmosphere?   

18. What advice would you give a new volunteer?

Immerse yourself, give it everything you've got, find joy in engagement, know you are working towards a greener, more just and inclusive future. Enjoy the energy, mind the exhaustion, take care of yourself while you're doing good work.   

19. You can travel through time — where do you go?

Back to the invention of the internal combustion engine ... Could I take Christine Milne with me?

20. If you weren’t doing this for a living, what would you be doing?

Something very similar, something green. I can't imagine any other way to live.