Anna Burke
Women in Federal Parliament

Anna Burke

Member for Chisholm (Vic.)

ALP, 1998–2016

Anna Burke was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1998 as the Australian Labor Party representative for the electorate of Chisholm.

Before entering parliament Burke completed Bachelor of Arts and Master of Commerce degrees, both with honours, and worked for VicRoads, the Victorian Institute of Technology and the Finance Sector Union.

In her first speech Burke spoke of her deep commitment to multiculturalism and of her desire to see a renewal of collectivism to counter what she saw as the ill effects of excessive individualism. Over almost 18 years in federal parliament she was outspoken on offshore processing of asylum seekers, climate change, veterans’ affairs and the importance of health and education.

Burke introduced a private member's bill in 2005 to prevent unwanted telemarketing calls and to establish a 'do not call' register. Although her bill did not progress, she was widely credited with providing the impetus for the Howard government to introduce a similar bill six months later. Burke was elected as Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2012, having served as Deputy Speaker for the majority of the preceding four years. She was only the second female Speaker since Federation and presided over a hung parliament.

On her retirement in 2016 Burke stated that she had found engaging with her community the most rewarding aspect of her parliamentary career.

Anna Burke.

Image courtesy of Leader Newspapers.