Dr Kerryn Phelps AM
Women in Federal Parliament

Dr Kerryn Phelps AM

Member for Wentworth (NSW)

IND, 2018–2019

Dr Kerryn Phelps AM.

Image courtesy of Frank Farrugia, Same Love Photography.

Independent Dr Kerryn Phelps became the first woman to represent Wentworth after winning the seat in a by-election, pushing the government into a minority in the House of Representatives.

Phelps promised to be a ‘true centrist committed to economically responsible and socially progressive policies’. High on her agenda was climate change and the treatment of refugees in offshore detention.

In Parliament, Phelps played a pivotal role in ensuring the passage of legislation to allow people held in offshore processing centres to be temporarily transferred to Australia for medical treatment. She also joined successful calls for the removal of children from the Nauru and Manus detention centres.

Before entering politics, Phelps, who ran a medical practice in Wentworth, established a high profile as the first female President of the Australian Medical Association and as a regular columnist and media personality, and later as a City of Sydney councillor.

An advocate for the LGBTQI community, and in particular marriage equality, Phelps said she had no choice but to be outspoken after her marriage to her wife was made public by a Sydney newspaper in 1998.

After just seven months in Parliament, Phelps was narrowly defeated at the federal election which saw the return of majority government.