I was born in Palm Springs, California, and raised in a small town called Valley of Enchantment in the mountains outside Los Angeles. I did not finish high school, but later returned as a mature-aged student to study marine biology through the American equivalent of TAFE. I eventually earned a PhD from James Cook University in Queensland in 2005. I truly understand how life circumstance gets in the way, and I also truly get how important it is to have opportunities and second chances. 


The best evidence that I will work my tail off for every Tasmanian is my past performance. My high level of productivity throughout my scientific career has included two best-selling books and more than 60 peer reviewed scientific papers, two TEDx talks plus countless others from conference seminars to community presentations to keynote addresses, and I've discovered more than 200 new species (mostly jellyfish, plus one dolphin!). 


Jellyfish swarms a visible indicator

The Science Show on ABC ~ 27 February 2016

The rise of slime

The Science Show on ABC ~ 27 July 2013

Ground control to Major Blob

Quirks & Quarks on CBC ~ 8 June 2013

A Scientist with Heart

My research on jellyfish has kept me frequently in and around the salmon industry for the past 22 years. I've watched. I've paid attention. I've been horrified. I was muzzled for too long, and now I am fully independent and free to speak out about the things that need to be said. If you really want to know the truth about salmon farming -- that is, the truth behind the glossy image -- read Richard Flanagan's book Toxic, or for a deep dive into the science behind that book, have a look at my website, Salmon Reform Alliance





I’m not what you’d call normal. I have autism. I’m also highly functional and successful. I worked as a research scientist at CSIRO for more than seven years, and I was the head of science at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery in Launceston. I also spent 18 months living in Tasmania’s homeless shelter system, and now I own my own home. I ask for neither your sympathy nor a pat on the back: I ask for your vote.


It might seem unusual at first blush to even think of putting someone in Parliament who has been diagnosed with a mental illness, has a disability, and has lived in a series of homeless shelters. But who better to understand why reforms to these systems are so urgent? I will also bring to Parliament my skills learned as a research scientist, such as keen ability to find relevant information, distill it down into its most important elements, and communicate with accuracy and integrity. 



Scientific American

   Jellyfish Savant ~ 25 Feb 2014

Other major interviews that you may enjoy...

From Bazinga to Shiraz

   with Richard Fidler on Conversations, ABC Radio National

You Can't Ask That

   Autism episode, 6 May 2020, ABC TV

The Drum

   ABC TV ~ 15 Oct 2020 ~ 8 Dec 2020 ~ 10 Feb 2021

Some fun things I've done...

TEDx Melbourne

Jellyfish: In dangerous bloom, December 2013

TEDx Dublin

Perilous bloom -- rise of the jellyfish, September 2014

Harvard Explores the Trouble with Jellyfish

Art-Science Exhibition at Le Laboratoire, Cambridge, Massachussetts, September 2015 to January 2016

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