Richard Di Natale

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Richard Di Natale
Di Natale in 2019
Leader of the Australian Greens
In office
6 May 2015 – 3 February 2020
DeputyScott Ludlam
Larissa Waters
Adam Bandt
Preceded byChristine Milne
Succeeded byAdam Bandt
Senator for Victoria
In office
1 July 2011 – 26 August 2020
Succeeded byLidia Thorpe
Personal details
Richard Luigi Di Natale[1]

(1970-06-06) 6 June 1970 (age 53)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyGreens
Lucy Quarterman
(m. 2007)
Residence(s)Otway Ranges, Victoria, Australia
EducationParade College
Alma materMonash University
La Trobe University
ProfessionPolitician, public health physician

Richard Luigi Di Natale (Italian pronunciation: [di naˈta.le]; born 6 June 1970) is a former Australian politician who was a senator for Victoria. He was also the leader of the Australian Greens from 2015 to 2020. Di Natale was elected to the Senate in the 2010 federal election.[2] A former general practitioner, Di Natale became federal parliamentary leader of the Australian Greens on 6 May 2015 following the resignation of Christine Milne.[3] He was the leader of the Greens during the 2016 and 2019 federal elections.

Early life[edit]

Di Natale was born in Melbourne to Italian immigrants. His mother was born in San Marco in Lamis, Apulia, while his father was born in Syracuse, Sicily.[4] Di Natale attended Parade College, graduating in 1987, and Monash University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery degree in 1993.[5] He later obtained Master of Public Health and Master of Health Science degrees from La Trobe University.[5]

Prior to entering parliament, Di Natale was a general practitioner and public health specialist.[6] He worked in Aboriginal health in the Northern Territory, on HIV prevention in India and in the drug and alcohol sector.[7]

Political career[edit]

Di Natale was a Greens Senate candidate from 2004.[8][9]

Di Natale also ran for the position of Lord Mayor of Melbourne in 2004, coming second to the elected John So.[10]

In both 2002 and 2006, Di Natale was narrowly defeated in the seat of Melbourne in the Victorian Legislative Assembly, almost unseating ALP health minister Bronwyn Pike. He received 48% of the two-party preferred vote in both elections.[11][12] Di Natale 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.[13]

In April 2007, Di Natale spoke out about the health implications of climate change,[14] and later that year voiced concerns about terror laws in relation to the then suspect Muhamed Haneef.[15][16]

Di Natale was nominated as the Australian Greens' lead senate candidate for Victoria for the 2010 federal election. Greens leader Senator Bob Brown labelled Di Natale as the Greens' "next strongest hope" at this election.[17]

At the 2010 election, Di Natale won a Senate seat representing Victoria.[18] His term began on 1 July 2011. Upon taking up his seat in the Senate, Di Natale became the Greens' federal spokesperson for health. His other portfolios include sport and multiculturalism.

Di Natale was elected unopposed as parliamentary leader of the Greens party room on 6 May 2015 following the resignation of Christine Milne from the position.[3]

The Greens achieved mixed results at the 2016 federal election. The Party targeted several House of Representatives seats, but did not win any additional seats despite achieving large swings. The party also lost a senator. Di Natale argued that the Greens' election strategy had been successful, with voters now seeing them as a major party.[19][20]

Di Natale has written in favour of legalising cannabis and against the war on drugs, as well as his support for a universal basic income.[21]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Di Natale with Senator Bob Brown in Melbourne during the 2010 federal election campaign

At the 2010 federal election, the Australian Greens achieved a shared balance of power in the House of Representatives and the sole balance of power in the Senate. In the Senate, they were in a shared balance of power position after the 2007 federal election and the 2013 federal election.

Di Natale secured almost $5 billion towards Medicare-funded dentistry,[22] which he described as "laying the foundations for Denticare" – the Greens' policy of universally available Medicare-funded dentistry.

Di Natale campaigned against the 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.[23]

Di Natale also helped establish Senate inquiries into a number of issues of public significance including budget cuts, medicinal cannabis, the emergence of "superbugs",[24] hospital funding,[25] air pollution,[26] pharmaceutical transparency,[27] sports science[28] and gambling reform.[29] Di Natale conducts ongoing campaigns for improved human rights in Indonesia's West Papua,[30] timely access to cost-effective drugs through Australia's Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme,[31] and science-based public health policies in areas such as wind farms[32] and vaccination policy.[33]

Di Natale was the Chair of the Senate Select Committee into the Abbott government 2014 federal budget budget cuts and Deputy Chair of the Senate Select Committee into health. He is the co-convener of the Parliamentary Friends for Drug Policy and Law Reform, the Parliamentary Friends of West Papua and the Parliamentary Friends of Medicine.[34][35]

On 3 February 2020, Di Natale resigned as leader of the Greens and announced his intention to resign from the Senate, citing family responsibilities.[36] Adam Bandt was elected unopposed to replace Di Natale for the leadership role.[37] Lidia Thorpe was selected by Greens members to fill the Senate vacancy caused by Di Natale's resignation.[38] Di Natale resigned from the Senate on 26 August 2020.[39][40][41]

Political views[edit]

Di Natale supports legalising recreational cannabis usage, and has admitted to having smoked marijuana before.[42]

Personal life[edit]

Di Natale, his wife and two sons live on a hobby farm in the foothills of Victoria's Otway Ranges.[43] His sister, Deborah, is married to former Victorian Greens leader Greg Barber and was a City of Yarra councillor from 2002 until 2004.[44]

Growing up in Melbourne, Di Natale played Australian rules football for the Coburg and Oakleigh Football Clubs in the Victorian Football Association[7] and is a long time Richmond Tigers fan.[45]


  1. ^ "Di Natale quashes citizenship doubts with help from Italian consulate". SBS News. 22 July 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017.
  2. ^ Jenkins, Melissa (22 August 2010). "First Green Vic Senator, Fielding out". ninemsn. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  3. ^ a b Norman, Jane (6 May 2015). "Australian Greens: Richard Di Natale elected new leader after Christine Milne resignation". ABC News. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  4. ^ "Citizenship Register". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 5 December 2017.
  5. ^ a b "Senator Richard Di Natale". Parliament of Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  6. ^ Ireland, Judith (3 February 2020). "Greens leader Richard Di Natale quits leadership, will leave Senate". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b Di Natale, Richard (18 March 2015). "About Richard Di Natale". The Australian Greens party. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  8. ^ "2004 Election Results" (PDF). Australian Electoral Commission. 2004. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  9. ^ Doherty, Ben (22 November 2007). "A natural Labor man – but he's not". The Age. Archived from the original on 25 June 2008. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  10. ^ "Melbourne Result 2004". Victorian Electoral Commission. 2004. Archived from the original on 6 September 2006.
  11. ^ "State Results". Victorian Electoral Commission. 2007. Archived from the original on 3 February 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2007.
  12. ^ "Seat of many faces, many landmarks". The Age. Faifax. 6 November 2006. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  13. ^ "Greens offer heroin in rehab plan". The Age. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  14. ^ Nader, Carol (28 April 2007). "Health costs of global warming". The Age. Retrieved 9 August 2008.
  15. ^ "Rally calls for terror laws to be repealed". Age. 4 August 2007. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  16. ^ "Rallies call for terror law overhaul". Sunday Times. Perth. 4 August 2007. Archived from the original on 19 May 2015. Retrieved 11 July 2008.
  17. ^ Nader, Carol (19 July 2010). "A challenging relationship for the Greens, whoever wins". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
  18. ^ "Richard Di Natale". Australian Greens Victoria. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  19. ^ Middleton, Karen (16 July 2016). "The parties' spin on the 2016 election result". The Saturday Paper. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  20. ^ Murphy, Katharine (2 August 2016). "Richard Di Natale tells Greens not to air their election result grievances". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  21. ^ Natale, Richard (20 April 2018). "Legalised cannabis, People's Bank, UBI: big ideas to upend the status quo". Australian Greens. Retrieved 27 April 2023.
  22. ^ "Greens announce $5.8b dental policy". Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  23. ^ Cullen, Simon (28 February 2013). "Future Fund drops tobacco investment". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  24. ^ "Progress in the implementation of the recommendations of the 1999 Joint Expert Technical Advisory Committee on Antibiotic Resistance – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  25. ^ "Senate Committees – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  26. ^ "Impacts on health of air quality in Australia – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  27. ^ "Therapeutic Goods Amendment (Pharmaceutical Transparency) Bill 2013 – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  28. ^ "Practice of sports science in Australia – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  29. ^ "Senate Committees – Parliament of Australia". Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  30. ^ "West Papua | Richard Di Natale". Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  31. ^ "Search | Richard Di Natale". Retrieved 9 February 2014.[dead link]
  32. ^ "YouTube – Richard Di Natale – Wind farms, health and science". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  33. ^ "YouTube – Senator Richard Di Natale – The Australian Vaccination Network". YouTube. Archived from the original on 13 December 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2014.
  34. ^ "Richard Di Natale". Australian Greens Victoria. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  35. ^ "Senator Richard Di Natale". Australian Institute of International Affairs. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  36. ^ Worthington, Brett (3 February 2020). "Richard Di Natale resigns as Greens leader and plans to quit federal politics". ABC News. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  37. ^ Dalzell, Stephanie (4 February 2020). "Adam Bandt elected as new federal Greens leader". ABC News. Retrieved 1 March 2020.
  38. ^ "Aboriginal activist Lidia Thorpe to replace Richard Di Natale as Greens senator for Victoria". the Guardian. 20 June 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  39. ^ Grand, Chip Le (24 August 2020). "Di Natale bids a less than fond farewell". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  40. ^ "My letter to the President of the Senate, formally resigning as a Greens Senator for Victoria". Richard Di Natale. Twitter. 26 August 2020.
  41. ^ "Biography for DI NATALE, Richard".
  42. ^
  43. ^ "Richard Di Natale – the party leader living off the grid". One Step Off The Grid. 17 July 2015. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
  44. ^ "All in the family for Vic Greens". ABC News.
  45. ^ Medhora, Shalailah (6 May 2015). "Meet Richard Di Natale – new Greens leader is a former GP and AFL tragic". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 3 November 2020.

External links[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by Federal Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens
Succeeded by