Early life and education
Barns was admitted to practice and called to the Victorian Bar in 1986, and to the Tasmanian Bar in 2003. He is also admitted to practice in New South Wales and Western Australia. He worked full-time as a barrister from 1986 to 1989, and from 2003.
Barns represented Ezzit Raad in the 2008 trial of twelve men around Abdul Nacer Benbrika charged with terrorism-related offenses. SBS Television produced a one-hour documentary, The Trial, about the case, focussing on Barns' involvement.
Barns was an adviser to New South Wales premier Nick Greiner (1989-90); Victorian opposition leader Alan Brown (1990-91); and Tasmanian premier Ray Groom (1993-96). He then served as Chief of Staff to Federal Finance Minister John Fahey from 1996 to 1999.
In 2002, Barns was disendorsed as the Liberal candidate for the Tasmanian seat of Denison, due to his criticism of the Howard government's asylum-seeker policies. Blaming John Howard, Barns said, "Dissent within the party is just not tolerated."
Criticising the Liberal Party, Barns commented on, "The weakness of the liberal wing of the party and in particular supposedly liberal ministers like Robert Hill, for example, or (former attorney-general) Daryl Williams, a range of them who thought of themselves as being liberals who have been prepared to go along for the ride".
In 2013, Barns was the Wikileaks Party campaign adviser for the Australian federal election when claims were made about party lack of transparency and accountability by Leslie Cannold, resulting in her resignation from the party along with a number of National Council members and volunteers.
Barns is the author of What's Wrong with the Liberal Party? (2003) and Selling the Australian Government: Politics and Propaganda from Whitlam to Howard (2005). More frequent contributions appear in On Line Opinion, Crikey and the Hobart Mercury on issues pertaining to sport, law and politics (including the Australian federal election in 2007).
In a 2012 article called "Australia's pointless and deadly drugs crackdown" he said "We are killing, injuring and hurting young Australians who use illicit drugs because of our irrational obsession with prohibition. It is time to stop and produce policies that actually work."
- Barns, Greg & John Cherry (March 2003). "Groundswell". Correspondence. Quarterly Essay. 9: 84–85.
- Barns, Greg (2003). What's wrong with the Liberal Party?.
- — (2005). Selling the Australian government: politics and propaganda from Whitlam to Howard.
- "Benbrika and others to face more terror charges" by Karen Kissane and Peter Gregory, The Age, 17 September 2008
- The Trial, 360 Degree Films
- "Being John Howard". The Age. 21 August 2004. Retrieved 1 March 2008.
- "WikiLeaks' campaign for Senate implodes". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- "Statement of Resignation from Wikileaks Party National Council". 21 August 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
- Greg Barns at onlineopinion.com.au
- Greg Barns at tasmanianbar.com.au
- "Libs push for more jail for rapists", ABC News (14 July 2008)