Member for La Trobe (Vic.)
Laura Smyth represented the electorate of La Trobe (Vic.) in the House of Representatives for the Australian Labor Party from 2010 to 2013.
As a young child Smyth lived in Belfast before migrating to Melbourne at the age of seven. In her first speech she noted that her experience of sectarian violence in Belfast reminded her of how fragile democracy can be and the importance of strong checks and balances and a commitment to human rights.
Prior to entering Parliament, in addition to working as a corporate lawyer, Smyth volunteered her services to represent asylum seekers pursuing judicial review of their applications. After her election Smyth continued to highlight the need for Australia to adhere to its international human rights obligations, particularly when considering policies affecting asylum seekers. She was a strong supporter of the need for action on climate change and also expressed concern about changes to welfare payments for single parents.
Smyth served on several parliamentary committees, including the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. In 2012, the committee conducted a major inquiry into same-sex marriage. Smyth expressed her support for same-sex marriage in additional comments attached to the committee’s report.