‘I used to be a high school teacher in maths and geography. 30 odd years ago I went to England and I was teaching over there for a long time – long enough to get married, have a daughter, get divorced. You know…the usual story. When I came back they’ve changed the rules on me. I’m no longer qualified. They consider me a new starter. I haven’t got a specialist teaching qualification so despite the fact that I’ve got 30 years’ experience including head of department I can’t teach without going back to uni for another year. I can’t afford that so I’m making scarves to keep myself above the streets rather than below them.’

‘If I sell a few scarves a week, I’m happy. The first couple of scarves buys all the wool I need. The next one buys me food for the week and the next one puts some petrol in my home.’

‘The micro-brewery industry is flourishing across Australia and we’re going to see a lot more of it but I put the caveat on that in terms of research. We are dependent on these high quality grains and hops that are suitable. Unless we have a strategy that supports agriculture to grow the crops and not have to import both the grain and the hops, then we don’t have an industry. I see it as a flourishing industry but it needs support at a bigger picture level than it’s getting at the moment.’

There are a number of microbreweries in the Inner West, what would be your message to them?

‘Keep going – it’s fabulous! Keep making more beer!’

Greens Leader & Craft Beer Industry Association No. 1 Beer Enthusiast, Christine Milne

What’s been your biggest challenge in life?

‘Doing my first degree when I was 38 which I loved and sailed through and I got a first. I studied Drama.’

What advice would you give to your 20 year old self?

‘Aim for RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London) – do the degree early! That is where I wanted to go but my parents wouldn’t let me. I became a registered nurse when I was 18 instead.

‘I’ve only stopped performing on stage in the last five years because I’ve had a lot of problems with my teeth and I won’t go on stage with no teeth. I can’t annunciate properly but I’ll have new teeth in soon.’

Will you go back to stage then?

‘Only to do cabaret – I love cabaret. I didn’t find cabaret until I was actually doing my finals project. I love singing and dancing. I shall return!’