Woman Lambert, Judith Anne
- Consultant, Environmentalist, Policy adviser and Research scientist
- Alternative Names
- Lambert, Judy
Written by Judy Lambert (edited from blogs prepared by Jane Elix), Australian National University
Judy Lambert was born in Benalla, in rural Victoria in 1944. Growing up on a farm, she quickly came to appreciate the natural environment. Her parents valued education and were determined to give their three children the best possible chance despite their meagre circumstances. It is to those values that Judy attributes her commitment to the retraining that underpinned her various career changes. She met her husband and life-long supporter, Geoff, during post-graduate studies at Melbourne University. Her political activism began with the Vietnam moratoriums. Three years living in mid-town New York in the 1970s heightened her environmental awareness and appreciation of natural places.
Back in Sydney, Judy and Geoff became involved in the then Tasmanian Wilderness Society and its Franklin River campaign. Involved in medical research but frustrated with hospital bureaucracy, Judy was persuaded to take on the role of National Liaison Officer (a Canberra-based advocacy position) for The Wilderness Society, much to the consternation of her mother and professional colleagues. However, she went ahead with the support and encouragement of her husband and her long-time friend Bob Brown. Head-hunted from The Wilderness Society position, Judy took up a position as fulltime consultant to then Federal Environment Minister Ros Kelly, a position she filled during the years leading up to and including the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. She regards her time on ministerial staff as being more effective for the environment and conservation than her previous leadership roles.
In 1993, Judy moved back to Sydney and from there on became involved in the fledgling Australian Greens party - as its first national campaign coordinator then its first national policy coordinator. Concurrently, she and her friend Jane Elix formed a consultancy business, Community Solutions, which works at the interface between environmental, social and economic needs of sustainable living. As The Greens grew in numbers and strength, Judy stepped back and re-focused on local community activities. She served as an elected local government representative from 1999 to 2008, and has filled the role of president in local environment groups and in a community-to-community partnership with the remote district of Oecusse in East Timor.
Judy doesn't see herself as a 'leader', but as someone who sees a need and fills the gap by stepping in. She places strong emphasis on working with people, rather than adopting the adversarial approach so often seen in politics and operates on respect and trust based on sound, fact-based argument. She thinks that, in general men adopt hard core, adversarial politics as 'part of the game', while for most women this is not a chosen way of operating. Women, she says 'are much more likely to lead from within the group, rather than in front of it'.