Penny Wright
Women in Federal Parliament

Penny Wright

Senator for South Australia

GRN, 2011–2015

Penny Wright with her daughter.

Image taken by Saskia Scott.

Penny Wright, a founding member of the South Australian Greens, was elected to the Senate in 2010 as a member of the Australian Greens. She commenced her term on 1 July 2011, bringing a range of experience gained from working as a legal practitioner, solicitor, mediator and tribunal member in Australia and the UK.

In her first speech to the Senate, Wright identified the guiding principles of the Australian Greens as ‘social justice, environmental sustainability, peace and participatory democracy’. She also stated that she hoped to contribute to making Australia a ‘kinder, fairer place’, and observed that ‘If we act fairly we will balance Australia’s interests with those of other nations, we will balance the interests of our species with the needs of other species … and we will balance the needs of today with the needs of tomorrow’.

Wright spoke regularly in the Senate on administration of justice matters, including on access for disadvantaged groups and on using community development as a tool to address high rates of incarceration, particularly among Indigenous people. She also spoke often on asylum seeker policy, mental health care and education. Wright pursued these areas of interest as chair of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee from 2011 to 2015, conducting inquiries into justice reinvestment, federal court fees and asylum seekers.