In 2006, Mark Parnell was the first member of the Australian Greens to be elected to the South Australian Parliament.
Mark is one of the founding members of the Greens in South Australia and has a lifelong history of action for the protection and enhancement of the environment and for the rights of all people to live in a just, humane and healthy world. He is now working to bring these values into the South Australian Parliament.
Prior to his political career, Mark spent 16 years working in the non-profit community conservation sector. This included 10 years as a lawyer with the Environmental Defenders Office - a free community legal centre specialising in public interest environmental law. Before that, he worked for the Wilderness Society and the Australian Conservation Foundation. In the very distant mists of time he was a solicitor in private practice in country Victoria.
During his years with the Environmental Defenders Office, Mark helped many hundreds of clients on a wide range of State and national planning, pollution, biodiversity or resource matters. In 1999 he successfully represented the Conservation Council of South Australia in the State's longest ever environment trial - over tuna feedlots in Louth Bay. He has also represented the Whyalla Red Dust Action Group Inc. in its long-running campaign for environmental justice over OneSteel (formerly BHP) dust emissions from the Whyalla Steelworks. Mark is the author of two short books - "Greening Adelaide with Public Transport" and a “Guide to Protest Law in South Australia”.
Since arriving in South Australia from Victoria in 1989, Mark has also held various part-time and casual university academic positions and also taught at High schools, TAFE colleges and professional training courses. He has taught Environmental Law at all three SA Universities as well as in Indonesia to judges and government officials as part of an Ausaid-funded training program.
One of his proudest achievements was to win the Conservation Council of SA “Jill Hudson Award” for Environmental Protection in June 2004.
Mark is married to former Greens Senator Penny Wright and they have three children.
Mark resigned from the Legislative Council in 2021.