Christabel Chamarette
Women in Federal Parliament

Christabel Chamarette

Senator for Western Australia

GWA, 1992–1996

Christabel Chamarette was one of the founding members of the Greens (Western Australia). After standing unsuccessfully in the 1990 federal election she was chosen by the Parliament of Western Australia to fill a casual vacancy in the Senate in 1992, becoming the second Greens representative in the Senate.

Senator Chamarette’s work as a clinical psychologist in maximum security prisons and in clinics in Bangladesh led her to become an advocate for social justice and Indigenous issues. Her dedication in these areas was evident in numerous contributions to parliamentary debates and through her participation in various Senate committees, including the Joint Statutory Committee on Native Title.

Chamarette supported participatory democracy and sought to reform the processes of elections and parliamentary debates. Her proposal that 16 and 17 year olds be given the option to enrol to vote in federal elections was informed by her belief that people from all parts of society should be able to participate in the decisions which affect their lives. She was also adamant that poor parliamentary processes and decisions were a result of the disproportionately low representation of women in parliament. In 1993 she initiated the Joint Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into women, elections and parliament.

After her defeat at the 1996 elections she returned to work as a psychologist.

Christabel Chamarette.

Image courtesy of Auspic.