Bob Brown was shocked when The Australian named him the country’s most influential politician earlier this year. And not just because the broadsheet had long railed against his “kooky” policies and destructive presence in Parliament, but because Brown simply refused to believe he had that much clout in Canberra.

The veteran Senator — who was announcing his retirement as Crikey hit deadline — revealed the genuinely self-effacing response in an interview with Bernard Keane for The Power Index last week. Brown would have been near the top of our tree, too, as we begin counting down Australia’s most powerful politicians from Monday.

But there was no question Brown had power — hard power, power that could substantially re-craft legislation and an entire government agenda. As Keane writes today:

“Bob Brown ends his long and successful parliamentary career with the Greens at the peak of their power …

“With the carbon pricing package about to start and the party at historic levels of strength federally, Brown leaves politics as the most successful non-major party politician of his generation, having twice built up a parliamentary third-party presence to balance of power levels.”

His replacement Christine Milne says she’s “daunted” by taking on the role. So she should be.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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