Senator for Western Australia
After time as an electorate officer and senior policy adviser for a number of state and federal parliamentarians, Ruth Webber was elected as a senator for Western Australia for the Australian Labor Party in 2001. She held the position of Deputy Opposition Whip for four years until the end of her term in 2008.
Senator Webber was a strong supporter of equal access to government services, including education, health, welfare and community services. In particular she was concerned about the impact of changes to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and campaigned to retain bulk billing and funding for hospitals.
She was also passionate about mental health issues, and through her involvement in the Senate Select Committee on Mental Health and Mental Health Week activities, advocated for an increase in mental health services and for community awareness to combat the stigma often associated with such illnesses.
Education and training were important to her, especially skills shortages, deficiencies in Indigenous education and rising unemployment. Webber was adamant that industrial relations policies should promote a work environment that was ‘safe and healthy’, ‘fairly paid’ and would ‘allow time for family and community’.