Interview with Natalie Bennett – leader of the Green Party
Natalie Bennett was elected leader of the Green Party in September 2012. Before that she worked as a journalist for 20 years, starting at a small newspaper in her home country of Australia.
Natalie came to the UK in 1999 and worked for The Independent and The Times, before editing Guardian Weekly for five years.
"I've been a feminist since age five," she says. "When I was five it wasn't considered lady-like to ride a bicycle but I did it anyway."
How did you get into green politics?
It was one of my New Year's resolutions on 1 January 2006 to become a member of the Green Party. I was very aware then of the state of the world and I felt an urge to do something about it.
How would you describe yourself?
When I see a problem I can't resist solving it. This attitude got me into interesting situations over the years. I get easily bored and I like challenge.
When are you happiest?
When I manage to say the right thing at the right time. I also enjoy baking cakes or making my own bread.
What did it feel like to be elected Leader of the Green Party?
Very exciting. We live in a time where we need new answers to political and environmental problems.
What's your greatest fear?
Missing an opportunity, when I think: I wish I had done that. I believe in doing things and in taking risks.
Where do you want to be 20 years from now?
I'd like to split my time between London and living in the countryside making jam and having a dog. I'd also like to write half a dozen books.
What sort of books would you like to write?
Books on the economy and the environment and on other topics – for example I've started to write a book on the history of women in London. It will be about inspiring women throughout the centuries who changed life in London.
What should be the relationship between campaigning groups and political parties?
The Green Party needs support from the green movement. We need more people who are not afraid of political actions and to vote for the Green Party.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
When I was 23 I lost my mother in a car accident. Since then I've been good at dealing with things going wrong and I've held the firm belief that when nobody is injured, it's not really serious. And of course road safety has become one of my passions.
How do you relax?
When I read a non-fiction book and know nothing about the content.
What's your proudest moment?
The night when the first green councillor was elected in Camden in 2006. I had only been around [in the Green Party] for five months or so, but many people had worked towards this goal for years.
How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who left the world in a better place.
How can we inspire more people to care about the environment?
By talking about people's daily concerns, by establishing local and vital economies, by restoring food production in Britain.
Interview by Karen Liebenguth, Publications and New Media team.