When Adam Bandt gave up his position as a partner in a successful law firm, he didn’t imagine fulfilment of his political ambitions would be so swift and resounding.
The two-time re-elected federal member in the seat of Melbourne made headlines during the 2010 election as he took the seat from the Labor Party for the first time in 106 years. He won again in 2013 and 2016, and holds the seat with a 19 per cent margin.
“It took me a couple of goes to get elected but eventually I got there,” Bandt told Hatch, crediting his experiences in the law profession as the catalyst behind his move into politics.
“My job was representing a lot of low-paid workers. We talk about sweatshops as things that only happen in other countries but they exist here as well,” he said.
As his career as a lawyer progressed, it became apparent to Bandt that many of the big corporations he fought against were able to find ways around the law.
“I wanted to stop trying to take issues to court one by one, and instead get in a position to be able to change the rules.”
Bandt’s policies reflect what he calls his “commitment to social justice” and are centred around “closing the camps, justice for refugees, lifting people out of poverty” and climate change.
“I’m the the only one who will fight for real action to stop climate change. The science is in and we need to take urgent action.”
The 47-year-old prides himself on being a “strong, independent voice” who will represent what his electorate deems important.
“I don’t take donations from big corporations, so I’m not at their beck and call and I’ll fight for what the community wants.”
The father of two believes Melbournians – who are in perhaps the most progressive electorate in the country – keep voting for him for a simple reason.
“I share a lot of the values of the people in Melbourne. Things around caring for other people, sustainability and equality,” he said.
But even after three election wins on the trot, Bandt is adamant that there’s no such thing as a safe seat.
“There’s every chance that this seat could change hands. My main message to people who are thinking about changing their vote is, yes I agree with you, let’s get rid of the Morrison government, but with me you’ll get two for the price of one. You can vote for me and kick the Government out and you’ll have someone there to hold the next lot to account.”
Outside his political career, Bandt describes himself as an “amateur DJ” who enjoys spending time with his family.
“The thing I really like to do at the moment if I’ve got any free time is go home and spend some time with my two daughters. We take their scooters to Debney’s Park in Flemington, so if I get a moment of down time you’ll probably find me there.”