Senator for Tasmania
Sue Mackay joined the Australian Labor Party when she was 18. After time as a union organiser and as an adviser to a number of Tasmanian state and federal members of Parliament, she was appointed by the Governor of Tasmania to represent Tasmania in the Senate in 1996.
Senator Mackay spent a great deal of her parliamentary career as a strong advocate of the rights of working people, particularly in relation to issues of unfair dismissal, job security and working conditions for women. She also served as parliamentary secretary to the shadow ministers for employment and for industrial relations (1997–98).
Mackay was dedicated to issues affecting rural and regional Australia, particularly access to services and local government in her home state of Tasmania. As Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government (1998–2001) she spoke out strongly against the privatisation of Telstra, an issue that she revisited numerous times during the remainder of her term as a senator.
After serving as Opposition Whip in the Senate (2001–04) Mackay resigned in 2005.