Collaboration rather than conflict will be at the heart of the newest Greens MP’s approach to federal parliament. 

Elizabeth Watson-Brown made history on May 21 when she became the first Greens member elected for the seat of Ryan in Brisbane.

She was part of a so-called “greenslide”, with the party picking up an extra seven seats in the lower and upper houses. 

After working more than four decades in architecture, Ms Watson-Brown was spurred to enter politics when her grandchildren were born.

“No longer content to yell at the television during the nightly news … I joined the Greens and took to the streets of Ryan,” she told parliament during her first speech on Thursday.

“I haven’t followed a traditional path to politics, I didn’t study politics, I haven’t been a staffer for an MP and I’ve come to it later in life than most.”

Ms Watson-Brown apologised to Pete, her husband of 44 years, for up-ending the pair’s retirement plans with her entrance to parliament. 

She said prioritising the needs of the community, sustainability, climate change and the environment represented the values of people in her electorate.

“The people of Ryan want their politicians to put the needs of the community and the sustainability of our environment ahead of corporate interests and petty politics,” she said.

“Despite what has often been said about the Greens in the media and in this very chamber, our ideas are really just common sense for most people.

“If everyone genuinely listened to their communities, perhaps they’d realise this too but unfortunately … I believe the major parties in this country over recent decades have increasingly listened to the interests of big corporations.” 

The changed complexion of the 47th parliament showed Australians wanted a different approach, Ms Watson-Brown said.

She pledged to carry the spirit of collaboration into the parliamentary chamber. 

“My campaign T-shirt featured the motto ‘designing our future together’ … I’m going to work hard with my amazing colleagues to honour it for a future for all of us.”