welcome steph!

We’re thrilled that this month, Steph Hodgins-May was officially sworn in as our new Senator for Victoria. Steph is fired up and ready to work with us all to deliver wins for people and our remarkable planet, and spoke to us about how her first few weeks have been going. 

Tell us about what motivated you to join the Greens and what’s been the best part of being in our movement?

My parents, a farmer and a teacher, modelled the power of activism from a young age & instilled the importance of ecological sustainability and care for people and the environment.

I trained as a lawyer and for a time I worked in environmental law, but the laws as they stand  are really stacked up against the planet. We got some good work done, but it was clear law reform was sorely needed.

I also tried diplomacy at the UN, but on that stage, the action is only as strong as the leaders in the countries taking part, and our leaders clearly weren’t up to the job.

I worked in environment NGOs who are increasingly hamstrung by anti-protest and anti-charities laws. 

I realised that politics is the engine room and only the Greens are truly representing and fighting for the action we need.

Bob Brown was the first leader I saw who stood up for what he believed in, and that’s hugely appealing to a young person feeling dismay at the level of political debate in this country.

Now, as a parent myself of two young kids, I’m driven to act for a safe and healthy future - not just for them, but for all kids and young people. 

Working with our Greens movement with that shared vision is truly a great feeling. 

How has it been entering Parliament as the new Greens Senator for Victoria?

It’s an absolute honour to be the new Greens Senator for Victoria, taking over from the legendary Janet Rice. I still pinch myself every morning at the opportunity to work with my heroes in the Greens Party Room. 

I’m picking up portfolio responsibilities for Science, Industry and Innovation, and Early Childhood Education and Care, continuing the incredibly important work of our party and movement. The nerves are real but I know that there has never been a more important time for the Greens to continue to work with our communities to prioritise people over corporations, and I'm so excited to get stuck in.


Steph and greens doorknockers in campaign mode


What’s a home comfort you’ll be bringing to Canberra? 

Image of potato sack framed

I’ve got a very special memento to hang in my office, which is a framed hessian potato sack from my dad’s farm. My dad was a proud 4th generation organic potato farmer from Central Victoria and also a huge influence on my journey to representing the Greens in parliament. I grew up on the family farm, so I’ll have a reminder of my roots with me (and one of my favourite foods! Who doesn’t love a spud.)

What are your priorities as Senator this term?

I’ll be working hard to represent our Victorian communities, from the regions to the city. I am lucky to have a strong and active Greens movement in Victoria including our many local government councillors, state parliamentary colleagues led by Ellen Sandell, and of course Adam Bandt in the seat of Melbourne to work with. Upcoming local government elections will be a great campaign opportunity for our party and movement, and I’m excited to see our team of local councillor representatives expand, across the regions, suburbs and inner city.

Stepping into the federal Science, Industry and Innovation, and Early Childhood Education portfolios will give me plenty to pursue in the parliament. I’ll be continuing the Greens’ fight for free, universal access to early childhood education. Education should be free, from childcare, to PHD. In the industry space, we’ll be your voice for smart, clean, and renewable powered policy. It’s not good enough for this government to trumpet their vision for manufacturing and industry under their ‘Future Made in Australia’ headlines, while also opening new coal and gas mines to fuel it. 

Steph at renters rally holding freeze rent increases sign

What gives you hope? And why?

Getting out with the volunteer teams knocking on doors all over Victoria! The contests in Macnamara, Higgins, Wills and Fraser are all going to be so close. With more Greens in parliament, we can tackle the climate crisis, make housing affordable and hold the major parties to account. Bring on the election!

What are you most excited about over the next year?

As well as getting stuck into the parliamentary process with my federal colleagues, I’m looking forward to building Greens capacity in inner city, suburban and regional electorates, as we head towards the next federal election in pursuit of a more just, peaceful and ecologically sustainable future. I’m excited to share our vision, and to inspire voters to get behind the Greens in even greater numbers!