Andrea Dawkins | Australian Greens

Andrea Dawkins

MP for Bass

Andrea is an experienced small business operator, having been the founder of Fresh restaurant; Launceston's first establishment to exclusively offer vegetarian and vegan cuisine.  The business evolved into a hybrid social enterprise focussed on promoting social inclusion, food provenance and animal welfare. Andrea continues this work now in her role as Greens MP for Bass.

I had become a vegetarian for philosophical reasons in my youth and had carried hopes for a less violent world with me always. Having children gave me cause to further examine my values and I fought to present a world I could be proud of. As a consequence I, with help from friends, built into a hybrid social enterprise. We instigated a cooperative model with three business partners each of whom contributed special skills to the business, retained a share of profits and responsibility. Together we employed a group of female refugees from several countries in Africa and set about improving their lives through economic independence. We also opened the café doors to a community of people with a common interest at no immediate financial benefit to the business.

Considered by some in the business world as a mad plan, what we were doing was building social capital from within animal rights groups, environment and writers groups, musicians, the immigrant community and those who support it. We hosted the Wilderness Society, Amnesty International, The Greens, AYCC and many others. We managed a model of hybrid social enterprise before any of us had heard the term. Fresh became a financially viable and culturally significant space for people who chose to examine the values of modern life.

It was a natural step to move into politics with encouragement from the late deputy mayor of Launceston, Jeremy Ball.