Richard Di Natale

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Dr Richard Di Natale
Richard Di Natale Hazelwood.jpg
Senator for Victoria
Assumed office
1 July 2011
Personal details
Born (1970-06-06) 6 June 1970 (age 44)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Greens
Spouse(s) Lucy
Children 2
Residence Otway Ranges
Occupation General practitioner
Public health specialist

Richard Di Natale (born 6 June 1970) is an Australian politician and member of the Victorian Greens. Di Natale was elected to the Australian Senate in the 2010 Australian federal election.[1] He was the lead Senate Candidate in the 2007 federal election but was narrowly defeated, despite achieving a primary vote above 10 percent.

Richard Di Natale speaks at an anti-internet censorship rally in Melbourne in 2010.
Richard Di Natale with Senator Bob Brown in Melbourne during the Australian federal election campaign, 2010.

Early life, education and pre-parliamentary career[edit]

Di Natale was born to Catholic[2] Italian immigrant parents and grew up in Melbourne. He attended Monash University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery.[3] Di Natale later studied a Master of Public Health and a Master of Health Science at La Trobe University.[3]

Prior to entering parliament, Di Natale was a general practitioner and public health specialist. His portfolios include health, multiculturalism, youth, federalism, gambling and sport.

Dr Di Natale worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory, on HIV prevention in India and in the drug and alcohol sector. His key health priorities include preventative health, public dental care and responding to the health impacts of climate change.

Political career[edit]

In 2004, Di Natale was the Greens second Senate candidate, behind David Risstrom, who missed out on winning a Senate spot.[4][5]

In both 2002 and 2006, Di Natale was narrowly defeated in the seat of Melbourne in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, almost de-seating the Labor health minister Bronwyn Pike. Richard received 48% of the two party preferred vote in both elections, missing out on a win.[6][7] Di Natale has acted as health spokesperson for the Greens in Victoria and in 2002 spoke about the Greens support for harm reduction policies to manage illicit drug use.[8]

Di Natale also ran for the position of Lord Mayor of Melbourne in 2004, coming second to the elected John So.[9]

In April 2007, Di Natale spoke out about the health implications of climate change,[10] and later that year voiced concerns about terror laws in relation to the then suspect Dr Mohamed Haneef.[11][12]

Di Natale was nominated as the Australian Greens lead senate candidate for Victoria for the 2010 federal election. Greens leader Senator Bob Brown described Dr Di Natale as the Greens "next strongest hope" at this election.[13]

At the 2010 Australian Federal Election held on 21 August 2010, Dr. Di Natale won a Senate seat representing Victoria. His term began on 1 July 2011. Upon taking up his seat in the Senate, Di Natale became the Greens' Federal spokesperson for Health, including preventive; Dental Health; Sport; Gambling; Multiculturalism; East Timor; and West Papua.

Parliamentary career[edit]

In the 2010 Australian federal election, the Greens Party achieved balance of power in the House of Representatives and the Senate. This placed the party in a unique position to pursue its progressive legislative agenda.

Di Natale's achievements in parliament so far include securing almost $5 billion towards Medicare-funded dentistry which he described as “laying the foundations for Denticare” the Greens policy of universally available medicare-funded dentistry. Senator Di Natale also campaigned against the Australian government Future Fund's holdings in tobacco funds, a campaign that was ultimately successful with the Fund divesting the entirety of its tobacco holdings (approximately AUD $250 million) in 2012.[14] Senator Di Natale has also secured and spearheaded Senate inquiries into many issues of public significance such as budget cuts, medicinal cannabis, the emergence of "superbugs",[15] hospital funding,[16] air pollution,[17] pharmaceutical transparency,[18] sports science[19] and gambling reform.[20] Senator Di Natale conducts ongoing campaigns for improved human rights in West Papua,[21] timely access to cost-effective drugs through Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,[22] and science-based public health policies in areas such as wind farms[23] and vaccination policy.[24]

Di Natale is the Chair of the Senate Select Committee into the Abbott Government's Budget Cuts and Deputy Chair of the Senate Select Committee into Health. He is the co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends for Drug Policy and Law Reform, the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua and the Parliamentary Friends of Medicine.

Personal life[edit]

Richard, his wife Lucy and two young sons live on a working farm in the foothills of Victoria's Otway Ranges. The son of Italian migrants, Richard grew up in Melbourne. He played VFA football for six years and is a long-suffering Richmond Tigers fan.[25]


  1. ^ Jenkins, Melissa (22 August 2010). "First Green Vic Senator, Fielding out". ninemsn. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ Ireland, Judith (14 January 2014). "Time to scrap Lord's Prayer in Parliament: Greens". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  3. ^ a b "Senator Richard Di Natale". Parliament of Australia. 
  4. ^ "2004 Election Results" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved November 2007. 
  5. ^ Doherty, Ben (22 November 2007). "A natural Labor man — but he's not". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  6. ^ "State Results". Victorian Electoral Commission. 2007. Retrieved 2007. 
  7. ^ "Seat of many faces, many landmarks". The Age. Faifax. 6 November 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  8. ^ "Greens offer heroin in rehab plan". The Age. Fairfax. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  9. ^ "Melbourne Result 2004". Victorian Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved November 2007. 
  10. ^ Nader, Carol (28 April 2007). "Health costs of global warming". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  11. ^ "Rally calls for terror laws to be repealed". Age. Fairfax. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-07-11. 
  12. ^ "Rallies call for terror law overhaul". Sunday Times. Perth: News Limited. 4 August 2007. 
  13. ^ Nader, Carol (19 July 2010). "A challenging relationship for the Greens, whoever wins". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  14. ^ "Future Fund drops tobacco investment - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  15. ^ "Progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 1999 Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  16. ^ "Senate Committees – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  17. ^ "Impacts on health of air quality in Australia – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  18. ^ "Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Pharmaceutical Transparency) Bill 2013 – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  19. ^ "Practice of sports science in Australia – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  20. ^ "Senate Committees – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  21. ^ "West Papua | Richard Di Natale". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  22. ^ "Search | Richard Di Natale". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  23. ^ "YouTube - Richard Di Natale - Wind farms, health and science". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  24. ^ "YouTube - Senator Richard Di Natale - The Australian Vaccination Network". Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  25. ^ "Richard Di Natale". Richard Di Natale. 

External links[edit]