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Bob Brown, the optimist

Bob Brown

Credit: Russell Shakespeare

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What’s next?
We are going to every capital city and quite a few provincial cities to tour the book. It’s very surprising but its out selling Joe Hockey’s book by 4:1. They’re staring to reprint that’s it’s very pleasant. And we’ve had sell-out audiences; 2,000 in Melbourne Town Hall. I rang them and said this is crazy, get yourself a more modest place, you’re going to have 100 people in the front row at best. The same with the Theatre Royal in Hobart. Thoughtful people are looking for a little bit of a 'gee-up'. You know, and I’ve got my feet on the ground. I’m certainly not into happy-clappy. It’s about a reasonable response to what’s going wrong on the planet for thoughtful people who are very slow very often to want to put a foot into what looks like a pretty nasty public arena.

I am playing the Earth Song, which is a song celebrating the planet, at all public meetings, and we’ve now had dozens of them. It’s a tune I wrote when I was 16 and since I have left the Senate I have been able to put words to it. We have anthems for every country, and we go to war singing them, or we have them played when we win gold medals at Glasgow or where ever it may be, but we have none for the planet, and until we celebrate the planet as a common herd of 7.5 billion mammals, and understand that we depend upon it and how we look after is how our future is mapped out because we had the arrogance to take on the management of it, well, it’s now our responsibility. It begins with celebrating what it is to be alive on this planet. Local diva, Claire Dawson, sings the song, and it was put together very rapidly for this trip at [my partner] Paul’s suggestion. So we played that, and it is on YouTube now. It’s just called Earth Song. [Listen to Earth Song here]

The other thing to watch is what the Upper House is doing with all these protest laws. If they go through Tasmania they will spread to the mainland as that’s the nature of the beast. They’ve put it off again and again, but they’ve gone through the Lower House, so that’s worth watching, to see if they go through the Upper House. These laws in Tasmania have more than just going to jail entailed – you get a criminal record. If you were in Parliament, you would immediately lose your seat. They are Draconian laws made by the exploiters to stop the planet protectors and as with the Suffragettes they went through hell to get a civilizing change. And most of the Suffragettes didn’t live to see the results in the 1920s, the WWI intervened and so on. But thank goodness they did what they did.

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Bob Brown's book, Optimism is published by Hardie Grant as a print ($39.95) or e-book ($14.99). You can also download the full Introduction chapter here.

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