Thrice-elected to represent Western Australia for the Greens, Senator Rachel Siewert delivered her valedictory speech in Parliament on Wednesday, noting that climate change - a focus of her advocacy on her arrival in Canberra in the mid-2000s - was no closer to being addressed and was now a "code-red" crisis.
History will judge us very harshly, she told the Senate.
"The first duty of government is to keep people safe. We do have a duty of care to all children and our future generations ... we already know that the last two decades of inaction have cost us and our children very dearly."
But far from looking back pessimistically on her 16 years in Parliament, the Greens whip said much was achieved through the Senate's committees for vulnerable people, especially on income support, robodebt, forced adoptions and former child migrants, extracting reparations and apologies from government.
"That's where Parliament is at its best, because we work across parties - it's where community voices can be heard. Big business walks the corridors around here, but community can participate really strongly through the committee process," she said.
Estimates, where the senator was renowned for forcing public servants to come prepared with substantial detail on governments programs, was an institution she looked back on with continued respect for those she faced.
"They try not to answer, but ultimately when we push them and we ask the right questions, they will answer," she said.
The longest-serving of the federal Greens parliamentarians, Senator Siewert overtook former leader Bob Brown's 16-year record in June, but feels awkward about calling it a "retirement". The 59-year-old former Conservation Council of WA advocate will take some time for herself before returning to the not-for-profit world that she came from before entering politics.
Liberal, National and Labor colleagues in the Senate called her a passionate warrior for her values that always played the ball, never the person, when she disagreed with someone in their work.
Dorinda Cox, a Yamatji Noongar woman, will take up the vacant seat left by Senator Siewert from next month.
"She is a force from the West and is to be reckoned with," Senator Siewert told her colleagues.
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