Berkman in 2016
|Leader of the Queensland Greens|
|Assumed office |
25 November 2017
|Preceded by||Ronan Lee|
|Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly|
|Assumed office |
25 November 2017
|Preceded by||New seat|
|Born||13 March 1981|
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Alma mater||Griffith University (BS, LLB)|
Michael Craig Berkman (born 13 March 1981) is an Australian politician. He has been the Greens member for Maiwar, which is in Brisbane's inner-west, in the Queensland Legislative Assembly since 2017. Berkman was the first Greens member to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland. Berkman won the new seat after the Indooroopilly and Mt Coot-tha electorates were abolished at the 2017 state election to make way for the new seat of Maiwar, which had a notional LNP margin of 3%.
Berkman was born in Brisbane, Queensland. His father worked in the media and his mother had trained as a secondary school teacher. He grew up in Toowoomba, Queensland after the family moved there when Michael was 3 years old. Berkman attended Wilsonton State School and Toowoomba State High School.
Berkman first attended the University of Queensland to commence a Bachelor of Science before moving to Griffith University, attending the Nathan campus, where he graduated in 2009 with a double degree, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Laws.
Berkman began his legal career as a clerk with Freehills in Brisbane, and spent some time working there following his graduation. He left legal practice to work in the Queensland Government's office of climate change until this group was made redundant following the election of the Newman Government in 2012.
Berkman then accepted a position with the Environmental Defenders Office in Brisbane. In this role, he was involved in litigation with a particular specialisation in ground water in cases against Adani's Carmichael Coal Mine, the Alpha Coal Mine  and the New Acland Coal Mine Stage 3 Expansion.
Berkman has also been involved in the Not-for-profit sector, having previously been an Officeholder with Millen Farms.
Berkman was the first Greens member to be elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland in the seat of Maiwar in Brisbane's inner-west. He achieved a 27.78% primary vote to defeat incumbent Scott Emerson in the 2017 Queensland state election. This followed the removal of the Indooroopilly electorate at the 2017 state election to make way for the new seat of Maiwar which had a notional LNP margin of 3%. Prior to its abolition, the Indooroopilly electorate was briefly held by a Greens MP, Ronan Lee, after he defected from the Labor in 2008 in the middle of a parliamentary term.
In 2018, Berkman introduced a private member's bill to ban all political donations from businesses to state and local government politicians, candidates and parties, excluding charities and employee or employer organisations. Berkman said the community overwhelmingly supported reform to get big money out of politics. "People feel like Labor and the LNP are just not listening to them, and it's not hard to see why," Berkman said. "This is just more evidence that Labor and the LNP are completely wedded to their corporate donors." The Crime and Corruption Commission did not support the bill.
In November 2018, Berkman said schools in Maiwar, Berkman's electorate, should let students skip lessons to attend a climate change rally. All school principals agreed, according to Mr. Berkman. The rally took place on November 30. Over 400 students attended, demanding climate action.
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- Caldwell, Felicity (19 November 2018). "Move to ban political donations from companies should not succeed: committee". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- Brown, Alison (22 November 2018). "Greens MP wants kids to skip school for climate rally". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- Lynch, Lydia (30 November 2018). "Hundreds ditch school for Brisbane rally to demand climate action". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 1 December 2018.
|Parliament of Queensland|
|New seat|| Member for Maiwar