The Hon. Melissa Parke
Member for Fremantle (WA)
Melissa Parke was first elected to the House of Representatives as the member for Fremantle for the Australian Labor Party in 2007.
After gaining her legal qualifications, Parke worked as a solicitor for a number of private law firms and the Bunbury Community Legal Centre. In the eight years prior to entering parliament she worked as a lawyer for the United Nations in Kosovo, Gaza, Lebanon, Cyprus and New York.
A strong advocate for the international rule of law and respect for human rights, Parke often expressed concerns about the conduct of the 'war on terror', the treatment of asylum seekers and the prevailing approach to drug policy and law reform. She described her approach to politics as a 'war against indifference', including indifference to the disadvantaged and marginalised, human rights abuses, the environment, corruption and poor governance, animal welfare, climate change, sustainability and the need to safeguard public services, entitlements, infrastructure and institutions.
During the first year of the Rudd government Parke concurrently held the positions of Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health and Parliamentary Secretary for Homelessness and Social Housing. As Minister for International Development in 2013 she announced the appointment of Australia’s first Ambassador for Disability-Inclusive Development and developed new partnerships with Australian NGOs delivering basic education, health services and civic infrastructure in developing countries.
Melissa Parke retired from federal parliament in 2016.