Susan Brown

Susan Brown started working in her parents north Queensland general store and newsagency at 13 and had three part time jobs by the time she finished high school. She worked around the country in supermarkets, restaurants, government and for a hot air balloonist, eventually ending up at RMIT university in Melbourne where she gained a degree with distinction in Socio Environmental Assessment and Policy.

She has since put her considerable energy and qualifications in social and environmental policy to notable effect in a variety of jobs. She started off in the Mines department in Victoria on licensing and policy work, then moved to science and environment teaching and then on to the not for profit area. Much of her subsequent success can be traced to her thorough grounding in the poorly resourced, richly diverse community sector, including a 2 year stint as executive member then co-ordinator of one of Australia's busiest regional conservation councils. This lead to an offer of employment as a policy and ultimately senior advisory role to the leader of the Australian Democrats, in which capacity she worked for former leaders Senator Cheryl Kernot and Senator Meg Lees. During her six years in federal parliament she advised on a number of portfolios including energy, resources, environment, tourism, science, technology, transport, Indigenous affairs and general politics.

Susan Brown became noted for her quick assimilation and effective use of parliamentary procedures, particularly question time, Senate estimates hearings and the committee system. Her negotiating skills lead to an impressive tally of successful amendments to legislation including a record more than 500 amendments to the originally 460 odd clause Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Bill.

She was also the principal negotiator for the Democrats on the environmental package that accompanied the Howard government's New Tax System, securing more than $1 billion of new or changed spending on environmental programs, and advanced introduction of greenhouse and other policy reforms.

Susan decided she could be a good parliamentary advisor or a good mother, but not both, so left the Democrats commencing a new career as a freelance journalist and research consultant in early 2000. Notable articles, commentary and features by Susan Brown have been published in The Age, The Australian, The Canberra Times, The Courier-Mail, the Gold Coast Bulletin, the Sydney Morning Herald and a piece on immunity of the crown was published in the legal newsletter Justinian. Susan Brown has also been retained as a regular contributor to several newsletters published by the influential Thomson Legal and Regulatory group including Environmental Manager, the Risk Report and others.

She has contributed many many thousands of hours of volunteer work over the years including for the Red Cross, a women's health centre, the North Queensland Conservation Council and the Environmental Defender's Office. She is a former Chair of the Queensland Conservation Council.

Notable joint enterprises with her husband Phil Dickie have included preparation of a kit on biodiversity for Australian politicians for the National Biodiversity Council, a stint as news editors for a glossy nature magazine circulating principally in Europe and the United States and involvement with the landmark Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Australia project.

In early 2005, Susan took up a position as International Policy Analyst for WWF International, based in Switzerland.

When she isn't being serious Susan writes articles on fly fishing and travel.

If she ever has the time there are about 4 books itching to get out on governance and accountability, environmental issues and ...fly fishing.