The Hon. Danna Vale
Member for Hughes (NSW)
The Hon. Danna Vale was elected to the House of Representatives in 1996 in the marginal seat of Hughes (NSW). She served as Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence (2001–04).
Vale has said she had a ‘sacred duty’ to the people of her electorate and did not always adhere to party lines. She opposed her own government’s proposals to build a second Sydney airport at Holsworthy and made plain on a number of occasions her willingness to cross the floor on this issue. She also vigorously and successfully campaigned against her own government’s proposal to secure a nuclear waste reprocessing plant at Lucas Heights and pursued the establishment of the independent Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA).
A former lawyer in the juvenile justice system, Vale opposed the Northern Territory’s mandatory sentencing laws and proposed a private member’s bill in the party room to overturn the laws. After Vale achieved concessions for juvenile offenders she did not proceed with the bill. Vale was often in the public eye for her views on issues such as embryonic stem cell testing and the abortion drug RU486. She retired from the Parliament in 2010.