Larissa Waters
Women in Federal Parliament

Larissa Waters

Senator for Queensland

GRN, 2011–2017

Elected to Parliament in 2010, Larissa Waters was the first Australian Greens senator to represent Queensland. Before entering Parliament, Waters worked as a public interest environmental lawyer in the Queensland Environmental Defenders Office.

A frustration with ‘the limits of the law to achieve good environmental outcomes’ led Waters to stand for Parliament. In her first speech to the Senate, she described herself as a ‘shameless optimist’ who could envisage a different future for Australia with ‘sustainable cities and towns, with active, healthy citizens’.

As the Greens’ spokesperson for Climate Change and for the Environment and Biodiversity, Waters urged the Parliament to act on global warming and invest in renewable energy. She was instrumental in establishing a Senate inquiry on the Great Barrier Reef and introduced two private senator’s bills to prohibit the dumping of dredge spoil in the Reef.

A strong advocate for women’s rights and against domestic violence, Waters also initiated a Senate inquiry into domestic violence in Australia, which informed policy in this area. In 2017, she made history by becoming the first woman to breastfeed her baby in Parliament.

Waters served as co-deputy leader of the Australian Greens from 2015 until 2017. She left the Senate after discovering she had not renounced her dual Canadian citizenship, making her ineligible to stand for Parliament.

Senator Larissa Waters with her daughter in 2010.

Image courtesy of Newspix/Nathan Richter.