Bob Brown raises money to save his senate seat



Bob Brown

Credit: Australian Greens Party

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Public donations and support from entrepreneur Dick Smith have helped Bob Brown reach his target of $240,000 to pay legal fees from his battle to save the Wielangta Forest in Tasmania's south west.

Brown had spent more than $600,000 already on the battle with Forestry Tasmania, owned by the Tasmanian Government, to prevent logging in the the wilderness area. The senator won the trial, but the decision was overturned on appeal by the Full Federal Court.

Brown was then ordered to pay $239,368.53 in court costs to be paid by June 29, 2009. If he did not raise the funds by then, he risked losing his senate seat, in accordance with the law disqualifying any senator from holding public office when in debt, made insolvent or declared bankrupt.

In a rare move, Brown went public, citing his personal inability to cover the debt and asking for public support. The public listened and responded quickly, with the funds being raised in a matter of days.

"A lot of these people have said 'we are not Greens voters, we are Labor voters or we are Liberal voters, but we want to make a donation for Tasmania's forest and for this stand that you have taken for them'," he told ABC Radio's AM program.

The Wielangta Forest is home to three rare species of animals: the Swift parrot, Wielangta stag beetle and Tasmanian Wedge-tailed eagle. All are on Australia's endangered species list.

Additional funds raised through Brown's Green Art sales and the Wielangta Forest site will be directed to saving more forest.