The Hon. De-Anne Kelly
Member for Dawson (Qld)
NPA; NP, 1996–2007
The Hon. De-Anne Kelly was the Member for Dawson (Qld) in the House of Representatives from 1996 to 2007 for the National Party of Australia (later The Nationals). Prior to entering Parliament, she worked as a sales engineer, business proprietor, cattle producer and cane farmer. She also served as chair of the Rural Services Committee of the Cattlemen’s Union.
Kelly was the first National Party woman elected to the House of Representatives and the first to hold ministerial office. In her first speech in the House she declared ‘the electorate chose the best man for the job, only this time the best man happened to be a woman’. Her ministerial appointments included parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services and to the Minister for Trade; and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence. She was Minister for Veterans’ Affairs from 2004 until 2006, later highlighting record Veterans’ Affairs department budgets and improvements in defence force recruiting as particular achievements from that time.
In her parliamentary career, Kelly participated in debates on a wide range of issues. She voiced the concerns of rural and regional Australia especially the sugar and cattle industries. In 1997 she proposed, and crossed the floor to support, a number of unsuccessful amendments to the Native Title Bill which provided for the extinguishment of native title on pastoral leases.