Risstrom has educated at Wesley College Melbourne, the University of Melbourne (B.A.) and the Australian National University (B.Sc., LL.B.) before beginning his practice as a barrister in the Australian state of Victoria.
In 1999, Risstrom became the first member of the Australian Greens to be elected to public office anywhere in the state of Victoria when he was elected to Melbourne City Council with 9% of the primary vote under the proportional representation electoral system then in place. He was re-elected in 2001.
In 2004, Risstrom resigned from Melbourne City Council to contest the Australian federal election, 2004 as the Victorian Greens candidate for the Australian Senate. The Greens polled more than 260,000 primary votes across Victoria and Risstrom would have been elected but for the Australian Labor Party's decision to preference the Family First Party's candidate Steve Fielding - who subsequently defeated Risstrom on preferences despite polling fewer primary votes.
Risstrom nominated for pre-selection to contest the Australian federal election, 2007 as the Victorian Greens candidate for the Australian Senate but did not succeed in winning the party's internal ballot for the lead candidate position.
- http://www.davidrisstrom.org - 100 Green Achievements you can implement in your city
- https://web.archive.org/web/20060620132834/http://www.vicbar.com.au/c.1.3.aspx?RollNumber=3140 - Risstrom's profile on the Victorian Bar website.
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