25 March 2012
Originally from Brisbane Australia, Russel grew up in a strong labour-voting household. Even at high school, he became highly political, as he joined in with peace rallies, anti-nuclear demonstrations and animal rights protests.
In Russel’s final year of high school, his family was rocked by the tragic death of his father in a mid-air glider collision.
Expecting to work in the developing world, Russel began university pursuing a career in medicine. He soon pulled out as he came to believe that it was better politics, not better doctors that the world needs most.
After working in a car assembly line in Adelaide, Russel returned to his studies and completed a thesis on New Zealand’s Alliance Party. During this time he moved to New Zealand, and soon was working as a researcher for the Green Party.
After the unexpected passing of Green Party leader Rod Donald in 2006, Russel became co-leader alongside Jeanette Fitzsimons and entered parliament for the first time in 2008.