|Senator for Western Australia|
1 July 1999 – 30 June 2005
22 February 1966 |
Fremantle, Western Australia
|Political party||Australian Democrats|
Greig was born in Fremantle, but his family moved to the small village of Lancelin at the age of four. He went to primary school there, but received his secondary education as a boarder at Hale School, Perth. He studied arts at Murdoch University, where he became involved in student politics.
While in university, Greig campaigned on the issue of student fees and, in 1986, he helped re-establish the National Union of Students. He began to get involved in gay rights activism during the 1990s, and helped establish an Australian Council for Lesbian and Gay Rights, which is now defunct.
During the 1990s, Greig worked for several Australian Labor Party politicians, including Senator Peter Cook, but became disillusioned with Labor and joined the Democrats. Between 1995 and 1999, he was an elected local-government councillor in the West Australian town of Vincent.
At the October 1998 federal election, Greig was elected to the Senate. He declared his homosexuality in his maiden parliamentary speech, being the first Federal parliamentarian to do so. Though he campaigned strongly on issues of social justice, he remained little known until 2002. Former leader Meg Lees had been attempting to oust her successor and, with the assistance of three other senators—deputy leader Aden Ridgeway (NSW), Andrew Murray (WA) and John Cherry (Qld)—forced the resignation of leader Natasha Stott Despoja. As Deputy, Ridgeway (who was elected by the party's members) was expected to fill the vacancy and had majority Party Room support but Greig made a late challenge and the Democrats governing National Executive appointed him instead. He led the party for six weeks until he was beaten in the resulting leadership election by Andrew Bartlett in October, 2002.
In the Senate, Greig was responsible for introducing three pieces of legislation: a bill to outlaw genocide in Australia, a bill to eliminate discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and a bill to promote government use of open source software above all others. However, all three were unsuccessful, as they were blocked by the Liberal–National government. Greig stood for re-election at the 2004 election, but lost his seat to Rachel Siewert of the Australian Greens. His term expired 30 June 2005.
Since leaving parliament, Greig has worked in real estate and has contributed to forums such as On Line Opinion and Crikey. On 13 June 2011, Greig was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community as a social justice advocate for the gay and lesbian community. In July 2012, Brian Greig was narrowly elected National President of the Australian Democrats, following a national ballot of the membership of the party. However, he resigned three and a half weeks later without having chaired a National Executive meeting, and the party's national secretary reported "severe friction" within the party.
- "Democrats teeter toward split over leader". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 August 2002.
- "Brian Greig profile". On Line Opinion. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- Greig, Brian (20 November 2009). "Rudd's divorced from reality when it comes to gay marriage". Crikey. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Brian Greig OAM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Trenwith, Courtney (21 July 2012). "Democrats' comeback inspired by 'inflexible' Greens". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
- "Statement by Roger Howe", nominating for election as National President Australian Democrats National Journal, October 2012, p.2, at official website
|Party political offices|
Natasha Stott Despoja
|Interim leader of the Australian Democrats