Senator for New South Wales
A founding member of the Australian Democrats, Vicki Bourne served as a senator for New South Wales from 1990 until 2002. Early in her parliamentary career she was involved in environmental issues such as protection for Antarctica and forest preservation. She was also an advocate of human rights and campaigned strongly for the rights of citizens of Burma, Tibet, Bougainville and East Timor as well as the treatment of refugees in Australia. Her extensive committee involvement included inquiries into television broadcasting, prompting her to voice concerns about the threat funding cuts posed to the independence of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).
Senator Bourne was noted for her contribution to Senate reforms, particularly her initiation in 1994 of a Senate Procedure Committee inquiry which recommended a restructure of the committee system to make it better reflect the multi-party composition of the Senate. As a result of this inquiry, in which Bourne also participated, significant and long-term changes were made to the Senate committee system.