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Kerry Michelle Nettle (born 24 December 1973) is a former Australian Senator and member of the Australian Greens in New South Wales. Elected at the 2001 federal election on a primary vote of 4.36 percent with One Nation and micro-party preferences,[1][2] she failed to gain re-election at the 2007 federal election, despite an increase in the Green primary vote to 8.43 percent, due to insufficient preferences.[3][4]

Kerry Nettle
Kerry Nettle.jpg
Senator for New South Wales
In office
1 July 2002 – 30 June 2008
Personal details
Born (1973-12-24) 24 December 1973 (age 45)
Sydney, New South Wales
Political partyAustralian Greens

Early lifeEdit

Kerry Nettle was born 24 December 1973, in Sydney, to Edward and Beverley Nettle.[5] She grew up in the suburb of Marsfield,[6] and received her primary education at local government schools, and secondary education at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Sydney in Croydon[5] where she was elected school captain in her final year. Following graduation from high school in 1991,[7] Nettle enrolled at the University of New South Wales, where she obtained a degree in environmental science[5] and was active in student politics, caucusing with the group known as the Non-Aligned Left (the predecessor of the Grassroots Left). She worked as office coordinator for The Greens (NSW) and then as a youth worker. She joined the Australian Greens in 1998 and was elected to the Australian Senate for New South Wales in November 2001, joining Senator Bob Brown until her term expired on 30 June 2008.

Nettle is a social liberal and an environmentalist. She believes in Government ownership of essential services, which include banking, airlines, telecommunications, health and education,[8] and other areas privatised in the last two decades in Australia. She argues that private ownership of these assets is "social theft."[8]


Kerry Nettle speaking at a rally during APEC Australia 2007

Immigration and human rightsEdit

Nettle strongly supports the right of political refugees and asylum seekers to have a fair process and hearing in Australia. She visited Christmas Island in January 2006 in opposition to the Australian Government's detention of 43 West Papuans that landed on Cape York in January 2006.[9] She has expressed similar concern for the 83 Sri Lankan refugees that are being held in Nauru.[10]

Nettle also fervently campaigned to bring David Hicks back to Australia. For six months, every day that the Australian Senate sat, she filed a motion to bring David Hicks back to Australia.[11]

Iraq WarEdit

George W. Bush addresses the joint sitting of Australian Parliament in 2003

When United States President George W. Bush visited Canberra on 23 October 2003, Nettle and Brown took their opposition to the war in Iraq to the point of interjecting during his address to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament. They wore signs referring to David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, two Australian citizens who were then being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, following their apprehension by United States forces in either (this is disputed) Afghanistan or Pakistan. Both Habib and Hicks have since been released.

Bush accepted the interjections with good humour, but the Speaker of the House, Neil Andrew, formally "named" Nettle and Brown and they were suspended from the Parliament for 24 hours. Nettle tried to hand Bush a letter from Habib's wife but was stopped by Liberal MPs and Senators who jostled her and prevented her from approaching Bush. Liberal Senator Ross Lightfoot allegedly told Nettle to "Fuck off and die."[12]

Israeli-Palestinian conflictEdit

Nettle visited Israel and the Palestinian territories in January 2007, where she examined "what impact the construction of the separation wall and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has on communities in Palestine and Israel".[11] Nettle spoke with both Israelis and Palestinians in an effort to understand and ameliorate conflicts between both groups.


Nettle remains an ardent advocate of increased public education and higher education funding. Specifically, she has also "identified the need for $7 billion in public education spending across the lifelong spectrum of education, from preschool through to university and TAFE tertiary education."[13]

Women's rightsEdit

Nettle supports gender equality, as well as a women's reproductive rights.[14] During a debate on the abortion drug RU486 in February 2006, she wore a T-shirt into parliament bearing the slogan "Mr Abbott get your rosaries off my ovaries", in reference to the Catholic faith of Health Minister Tony Abbott.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Double dissolution is an empty threat. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  2. ^ PM - Election reaches endgame. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  3. ^ When: Past Electoral Events. AEC. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  4. ^ Senate State First Preferences By Group. (2007-12-17). Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  5. ^ a b c Suzannah Pearce, ed. (17 November 2006). "NETTLE Kerry". Who's Who in Australia Live!. North Melbourne, Vic: Crown Content Pty Ltd.
  6. ^ "Biography" (PDF). Senator Kerry Nettle. The Greens. 2003. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 May 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  7. ^ "Spotlight On". PLC. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  8. ^ a b Senator Kerry Nettle: Parliament+Speeches Archived 29 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  9. ^ Senator Kerry Nettle: Campaigns Archived 19 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  10. ^ [1][dead link]
  11. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 January 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2004.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ PM - Brown and Nettle ejected from Parliament. (2003-10-23). Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  13. ^ Senator Kerry Nettle: Campaigns Archived 30 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine. (2005-12-09). Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  14. ^ Senator Kerry Nettle: Home Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved on 2009-02-10.
  15. ^ "I'll wear ovaries T-shirt again: Nettle". 10 February 2006.

External linksEdit