David Risstrom

Nominee for Victorian Senate

A Greens member for 27 years, being Green is my life.

I believe what people do is as important as what they promise. As Victoria’s first elected Green, I worked intensively for the Greens for years. I would have been Victoria’s first Green Senator in 2004, receiving Victoria’s highest personal Senate vote. However, the preference skullduggery that played out has given me a good understanding of what we are up against. I’ve contributed to the Greens over many years, which included being the party’s public spokesperson from 1995 and State Council and Executive member over many years following. I managed successful local government campaigns in 2004 and 2006 and was candidate for Cooper in the 2019 Federal election.

Twice elected as the only Green Councillor on Melbourne City Council in 1999 and 2002, I delivered over 130 Green policies, including: • Australia’s most ambitious 30% greenhouse reduction targets. And achieved them!! • $5M Sustainable Melbourne Fund. • $1M social housing trust and chairing Melbourne Affordable Housing Company. • Triple bottom line economic, social and environmental governance. • Initiating Victoria’s then most ambitious indigenous reconciliation, securing unanimous Council agreement for treaty and indigenous land use agreement negotiations and indigenous employment. • Securing Council policy opposing mandatory detention, welcoming refugees. • City Centre Lending Library. • Major cycling improvements. Elected by international postal ballot to the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives in 2000, I became Vice President in 2002. We ran the world’s largest climate change program, Cities for Climate Protection. I also had the fortune to sponsor APEC’s first environment initiative in 2001, providing a blueprint for zero net greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 to cities housing half the world’s population. After completing Law, Arts and a Science 1st class honours degree on climate change, I’ve worked over 22 years as a barrister employing my personal charter to represent disadvantaged people, doing environmental and animal law. I served on Victoria’s Mental Health Tribunal for 12 years, making difficult decisions with people experiencing mental health challenges. As a lawyer fighting for fairness, animal rights and the environment, I know how important our ideas are for sustaining a fairer future. My other activities include: • President, Friends of the ABC: 2008-13; Vice President 2013-15. • Working 1 year in the Senate as a Senior Researcher on Superannuation for women and same sex couples. • Successfully lobbying Victoria’s Parliament to create Victoria’s Alpine National Park and legally recognise wilderness. • Electoral Educator with the Australian Electoral Commission. • Environmental consultant to the Commonwealth EPA. • Municipal purchasing group MAPS, initiating green purchasing across Australia. • 18 month Vincent Fairfax Ethics and Leadership Fellowship. • Membership of over 25 community organisations, including election to Australian Conservation Foundation Council.

I have travelled in over 50 countries and have been thinking and doing Green things for years, including contributing extensively to Greens policy development. I fully endorse Greens policies. I am developing a ‘Green and Gold Guarantee’ policy, facilitating Australians to provide a higher quality, durable product, backed by legislated guarantee. This would encourage manufacture and trade in higher quality goods that work properly, last longer and are efficient, therefore costing less to own while improving our quality of life.

As Victoria’s first elected Green, working for women’s and same sex rights in the Senate and living in Canberra for six years and having featured in three Andrew Bolt columns, I understand what being an elected Green involves. With a demonstrated commitment and history as a Green I want to be part of our dedicated team. We Greens believe Australians deserve better representation and a strong, optimistic future. We stand for a healthier environment, improved public health, job security and decent work conditions, free education, better transport, housing affordability, indigenous reconciliation, refugee justice, fair trade, pride in public ownership and keeping government ethical and honest.

My work reflects that.

Like my father, Eric, known Australia-wide for fighting for a fair tax system for a decent society, we need to restore faith in good government, co-operation, trust and the common good. My mother Joyce, a WWII refugee, has instilled in me that you do good where you can, not for reward or recognition. The Senate is an important and serious national stage. A place of ideas and action. An invaluable opportunity to make a difference. Being a Greens Senator is a national and global responsibility.

The climate emergency and bushfire and coronavirus crises remind us what is at stake. It is a crucial time in our planet’s future. We have an opportunity to do real things for the people, animals and plants needing our help. I welcome your ideas, support and involvement in securing a Green future for everyone.

Get in touch

Are you a member?

This is your chance to get involved in choosing our next Senator. 

Come along to one of our online "Meet the Candidate" events and ask David about the issues that matter to you:

Sunday 10th May

Thursday 14th May

Friday 22nd May

Saturday 30th May
(Regional & Rural Victoria Session)

Tuesday 2nd June 

or join the online discussion on the Senate Preselection Forum on Greenhouse:

Visit the forum