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Walters was born on 17 June 1954, the third of four sons born to Neville and Jean Walters. He was educated at Blackburn State School, Carey Baptist Grammar School, and Monash University, where he undertook a Bachelor of Arts and Laws. After completing articles at Melbourne's McCracken and McCracken, Walters practised as a solicitor with the large country law firm, Warren Graham & Murphy, based in Bairnsdale. One of his major clients there was the Australian Timber Workers Union (now the Forestry Division of the CFMEU).
In 1982 Brian Walters returned to Melbourne and signed the roll of counsel at the Victorian Bar. In 1991, when the first Gulf War erupted, Walters became the convener of "Legal workers Against War" ("LAW"). In 1999 Walters advised journalist Alan Gray in relation to his book "Forest Friendly Building Timbers" after the National Association of Forest Industries threatened to sue because it criticised logging practices. Subsequently he joined the committee of Free Speech Victoria and became its Vice President and Spokesperson. Walters joined the committee of Liberty Victoria in 2001, the same year he took silk, and served as Vice President from 2002 to 2004 and president from 2004 to 2006, when he was succeeded by Julian Burnside QC. Walters is currently on the executive as immediate past president. During his term as president Walters actively campaigned on issues such as the terror laws, the treatment of Jack Thomas and David Hicks, the proposal to introduce an identity card in Australia, the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, as well as police shootings and corruption. Walters has advised and appeared in numerous human rights and environmental cases, including acting for Senator Bob Brown in 1988 when he was prosecuted for obstructing lawful forest operations in Goolengook, successfully arguing that the forest operations in East Gippsland were unlawful.
At the end of 1982 and into 1983 Walters rafted down the Franklin River to join the Franklin Blockade. He had been involved in the campaign to save the Franklin for some years. In 1993 he was a founding member of the Greens in Victoria. In 2007 Walters was appointed president of Protectors of Public Lands Inc – an umbrella group of over 80 environment, heritage and community groups dedicated to protecting and conserving lands and historic sites in the public domain.
Walters married Sally Polmear (daughter of Professor Ian Polmear and Valerie Polmear) on 21 December 1985. They have two children, Rachel (born 1990) and Georgia (born 1992).
- Slapping on the Writs: Defamation, Developers and Community Activism, Brian Walters. University of South Wales Press, 2003. ISBN 0-86840-463-2.
- Jumping Jack (short film 2008) and
- Union Jack (short film – 2008)
- Sarah-Jane Collins:Green barrister vies for Pike's seat, in The Age 24 August 2009, retrieved 20 August 2010
- Brian Walters blog
- Liberty Victoria
- Victorian Council for Civil Liberties Incorporated v Minister for Immigration & Multicultural Affairs & Ors V 899 of 2001. Statement of judgement (brief version)
- Perspective Notes about a short radio talk given by Walters on Australian radio on the subject of "Slapping on the Writs".