Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — I rise with great pleasure to congratulate Margaret Blakers, who, along with many other extraordinary Australians, was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia. Margaret is an amazing and inspiring person who has great foresight and vision, boundless energy, peerless networking and leadership skills, and so many other accomplishments. She has been a wonderful support to many people over the years including me and my colleague Greg Barber, who says she 'took him under her wing' when he first joined the Greens. After reading Rachel Carson's Silent Spring she determined to work for the environment — an experience similar to my own. In 1973 she worked on the inquiry into the national estate, and from 1977 to 1984 she organised the publication of the first Atlas of Australian Birds.
Margaret is a founding member of the Victorian Greens. She worked as an adviser to Senator Bob Brown, and with Christine Milne and the late Louise Crossley she organised the first Global Greens Congress in Canberra in 2001, at which the Global Greens Charter was adopted. She says it is essential that politics is part of a global process. In 2006 Margaret came to Melbourne to help Greg Barber, Colleen Hartland and me navigate our first weeks in the Victorian Parliament. In 2008 she established the Green Institute to support green politics. She is a champion of the Greens women's network and an enabler of women in politics.
Margaret is a tireless campaigner for forests and climate and wants logging in native forests to stop immediately, if not before, and for all regional forest agreements to be torn up. She says that preserving our forests is the first step in reclaiming nature across the planet and we need to restore the natural environment wherever we can so it can survive and flourish. Thank you, Margaret, and congratulations.