The Hon. Ursula Stephens
Senator for New South Wales
The Hon. Dr Ursula Stephens represented New South Wales in the Senate from 2002. Before entering Parliament she was a primary and special education teacher, small business operator, project officer in the NSW Premier's Office and undertook postgraduate studies in adult education and public administration. She joined the Australian Labor Party in 1975 and held a number of senior positions in the party, including President of the NSW branch.
In her first speech in 2002 she said: 'We understand that a healthy environment and a healthy economy are both necessary for a healthy society. We know the importance of striking a balance between environmental concerns and development objectives, and at the same time enhancing local social capital in all its forms'. With these words and a strong commitment to community development, Stephens began her twelve years in the Senate where she served as chair of both the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade legislation and references committees and chair of the Economics References Committee. She was also appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector and Parliamentary Secretary assisting the Prime Minister for Social Inclusion. She held several shadow parliamentary secretary positions including for regional development, science and social and community affairs.