Ben Pennings


In the early 90s I worked for Greenpeace as a Community Activist and Healthy Cities Campaigner. I engaged tens of thousands of people door-to-door, many more while starting my 10 years on air at 4ZZZ Radio. 

 Despite rocking wild hairstyles and questionable clothing choices, I signed up countless Greenpeace members and supporters. My dedication was rewarded by being chosen to sail on the Rainbow Warrior II. Here I am as a fresh faced 20yo!

In the mid-90s I moved onto pro-feminist activism, mainly through coordinating Men Against Sexual Assault in Brisbane. This included the first activist incarnation of White Ribbon Day, education work in schools and prisons, and successfully lobbying for better sexual assault policies. 

In the late 90s I coordinated the LGBT Anti-Violence Council, focussed on the prevention of hate crimes. After successfully establishing a Safe Place Program in Brisbane, I found myself in a central role responding to a dramatic hate crime increase in Townsville. This unfortunately included the bombing of the Queensland AIDS Council and its coordinator being stabbed in the neck with a syringe. In this time I successfully lobbied (along with many others) to include same-sex relationships in domestic violence legislation. 

The very end of 1999 brought a delightful change in my life with the birth of my first child and becoming a devoted parent. I worked in child protection and health promotion while moving from grassroots activism to electoral politics with the Queensland Greens. 

In 2003 and 2004 I was an active lead candidate for the 2004 Brisbane City Council election. I obtained a massive 25% of the primary vote in Dutton Park Ward (now called The Gabba Ward) and worked successfully with resident groups to highlight policy and consultation issues regarding Public Transport, Parklands, Appropriate Development, Housing and Homelessness, and Pedestrian Safety. I wish I could find my election sign in Greek too!

Right after this campaign I was chosen as State Manager of The Big Issue, expanding the circulation of The Big Issue Magazine by over 300%. I successfully lobbied Queensland’s State Cabinet in person to significantly increase funding for homelessness services.

My next role as Executive Director of Australia’s CEO Challenge involved brokering public and corporate partnerships for Domestic Violence services and highlighting the impacts of Domestic Violence in workplaces. I got to coordinate White Ribbon Day again too, just before it got overly sanitised and corporatised. 

Establishing Reclink in Queensland was an absolute honour, managing The Transformers Choir a highlight. I was fortunate enough to organise gigs with RocKwiz, Deborah Conway and even a personal performance for the Dalai Lama.

After the birth of my second daughter and becoming the major carer for 4 children, I moved away from community work into grassroots activism. I built considerable national and international networks online while physically and creatively targeting fossil fuel giants like Santos and Aurizon. I worked as a freelance writer, including compiling this beautiful book of powerful stories.

When my youngest started Daycare, I took on the role of Queensland Greens’ Lord Mayoral Candidate for the Brisbane City Council elections. The campaign increased the city-wide vote from 8.5% to 14.5% and elected the Queensland Greens’ first City Councillor, Jonathan Sri. I was instrumental in attracting significant media coverage for our great policies, leading to a paid role as Media Advisor for the party

The increasing prospect of thermal coal mining in Queensland’s massive Galilee basin led me to leave my role at the Queensland Greens and start Galilee Blockade – working for years on Strategy, Media, Social Media, Fundraising, and of course countless Direct Actions. My successful contribution to the Stop Adani movement has been widely recognised and celebrated, including winning me the Bob Brown Foundation Environmentalist of the Year in 2020.

Adani has responded to my years of activism by aggressively pursuing me in the Supreme Court. Standing down from my roles with Galilee Blockade has given me the time to grow our Psychology practice and, as part of the Senate ticket, help the Queensland Greens win a new Senate seat and three lower house seats. I’m currently a Coal and Gas Campaigner at peak body Queensland Conservation Council.