Robert James Brown (born 27 December 1944) is an Australian senator, the inaugural Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens and was the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia. Brown was elected to the Australian Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket, joining with sitting Greens Western Australia senator Dee Margetts to form the first Australian Greens senators following the 1996 federal election. He was re-elected in 2001 and again in 2007.
While serving in the Tasmanian parliament, Brown successfully campaigned for a large increase in the protected wilderness areas. Brown has led the Australian Greens since the party was founded in 1992 until the present, a period of growth to poll today at around 10% at state and federal levels (13.9% of the primary vote in 2010). From 2002 to 2004 when minor parties held the balance of power in the Senate, Brown became a well-recognised politician. In October 2003 Brown was the subject of international media interest when he was suspended from the parliament for interjecting during an address by George Bush, then United States president.
Brown was born in Oberon, New South Wales, one of twins and attended Trunkey Public School and Blacktown Boys High School. In his senior year he was elected school captain. After graduating, he enrolled in medicine at Sydney University where he obtained a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery degree. He practised medicine for a time at the Royal Canberra Hospital. During his tenure at the hospital he and other senior medical staff took a pacifist stance by refusing to certify young men who did not wish to fight in the Vietnam War as fit to be conscripted. He then worked as a resident at Darwin and Alice Springs hospitals. At the latter post he met John Hawkins, a surgeon who had kayaked rivers in Tasmania. He travelled to London in 1970 and worked at Hounslow Cottage Hospital and St Mary Abbott's Hospital in South Kensington. He was on duty at St Mary Abbott's when Jimi Hendrix was brought in to the emergency ward, already dead.