Peter Whish-Wilson

By Tina Perinotto

16 April 2012 – Comment: News that the man who will nominate to replace Bob Brown in the Senate is a former employee of Merrill Lynch in New York and Deutsche Bank in Hong Kong, must have buoyed many Greens who spent the weekend worrying about their future after their charismatic founder resigned on Friday.

Former capital markets player turned award winning Tassie chardonnay maker Peter Whish-Wilson has also worked for BHP Billiton.

Whish Wilson’s vineyard is near Launceston, and has bucolic views, direct into the proposed site of the Gunns timber mill.

  • See Bob Brown resigns

An article in The Australian Financial Review this morning (Monday) described Whish-Wilson as a “light green”.


“My background makes me a very different Green but I have experience in small business, markets and global finance that I could bring,” Mr Whish-Wilson said in the article.

“I am more for opportunity than opposition.”

It’s a brilliant, inspired choice and if not a direct influence of Brown’s “wily” political talents, nominated by nearly every newspaper article on his resignation on the weekend, at least a direct tap into that spirit.

And a perfect segue for the pragmatic Greens founder who knew that to make real headway the greens movement had to look long-term; it had to connect to all walks of life from the militant tree sitter to the corporate nabobs gazing from on top of their glass towers and wondering what the long term future of their company will be, let alone the medium term future of their kids.

What’s needed now is to not frighten the horses, as some newspaper columnists did on the weekend, with predictions that there would be swing a swing to the left with new leader Christine Milne.

Milne is a pro-business woman, she constantly spruiks the value of the green economy and is now cleverly targeting rural constituents worried about what happens to their land when the miners have all the rights.

But if you can paint a green red, why waste the chance?

See the map produced by GetUp!  which shows that coal seam gas wells are spreading like cane toads, to see why the talk is starting to get extreme.

The danger says the business press is that Milne would go hardline on defending the planet. Well, that would be…what…a mistake?

That Milne and many other Greens say you can’t draw a fence around your ethics and confine them to environmental issues, is the kind of thinking going on in corporate headquarters.

With more talk these days of rolling back the carbon tax, attacks on the green economy by the eastern states, a Greens Senate appointment from within the ranks of big business is exactly what the doctor ordered.