What we'll miss most as Larissa Waters leaves the Australian Senate.

Yesterday, Co-Deputy Leader of the Greens Larissa Waters resigned from the Senate after discovering her dual-citizenship with Canada rendered her ineligible for a seat in Federal Parliament.

In her resignation, the uppermost house of the Australian government lost a powerful and visionary voice. It also lost a woman’s voice – one of only 30 in a house of 76.

Waters’ background is in environmental law and – upon entering parliament in 2010 – she said: “If I leave this place having contributed in some small way to improving our environmental laws with better community rights, the lawyer in me will be delighted.”

In her time in parliament, Waters has fought to protect the Great Barrier Reef, in 2014 launching a Senate Inquiry into the dumping of dredge spoil into nearby waters. She’s stood up against coal mining and she’s campaigned for Australia take a proactive stance in undoing the damage of climate change.

All this hasn’t been without controversy.

In June 2015, Waters asked the Liberal Senator for Queensland George Brandis to look to his religion for guidance in policy-making.

“I refer to the teaching letter, or encyclical, from Pope Francis, which calls for an urgent moral response to the scientific reality of global warming,” Waters said. They were discussing the price on carbon emissions and the nation’s clean energy target.

“Forty-two per cent of the Abbott cabinet is Catholic, including the prime minister himself who once trained to be a Catholic priest. The PM has failed to listen to scientists,” Waters said. “Will now he listen to the leader of his own church and abandon his reckless attack on clean energy?”

It was a baller move and one that attracted huge backlash. Brandis, the then Minister for the Arts, called it “disgusting” but Waters didn’t back down.


“Rising seas and more extreme drought will hit the world’s poorest hardest. Does the government still believe that ‘coal is good for humanity’?” she responded.

Larissa Waters has resigned from the Senate. Image via social.

Her grit has been seen in other areas, too.

In November 2015, Waters successfully pushed for a Senate Inquiry into domestic violence, examining the way gender inequality - stemming back to the type of toys young children are given - is intertwined with the issue of domestic violence.

"It's about children being free to play with whatever toys interest them," she said at the time. "Gender inequality shapes and reinforces stereotypes about what men and women can and can't do. Worst of all, it creates disrespectful relationships and cultural conditions in which violence festers."


The Inquiry led to the redirection of government funding into protecting women who are the victims of domestic violence. It also marked the beginning of Waters' campaign to make 10 days paid domestic violence leave mandatory for women in the workforce.

After Larissa Waters’ magnificent multitasking moment, we asked you to share your best stories. Post continues below.

The most remarkable aspect of Waters' time in the Senate, however, is that she was the kind of rare politician who let her actions speak too.

Earlier this year, the 40-year-old mother of two became the first woman to breastfeed in the Australian senate when she tended to her hungry 11-week-old daughter Alia Joy during session on May 9.

She trumped this a month later, when she became the first Australian politician to breastfeed while addressing the Senate.

That's right, she was talking about black lung, a disease affecting coal miners, and casually breastfeeding her daughter at the podium.

It was an act that caught the unlikely attention of American rapper Snoop Dogg, who shared with his fans a resounding: "You seen dis?"

It's moments like these - similar to when Waters pushed Australian women to be proud to call themselves feminists; or when she responded "No, I’m not and that’s an irrelevant question," when asked if she was married during a speech in parliament - that we will miss most as Waters leaves the Senate.

She once told Fairfax she never wanted to be seen as a politician, only a "real person". And - until we see her again, because we will see her again - Larissa Waters the person, as well as the politician, will be greatly missed.