The Hon. Nicola Roxon
Member for Gellibrand (Vic.)
The Hon. Nicola Roxon entered the House of Representatives as the Labor Member for Gellibrand (Vic.) in 1998 with a background as a union industrial officer and industrial lawyer. In her first speech, her hopes for the future included equal access to legal services, an Australian republic and for more women to be appointed as judges and on company boards. Concerned for fairer working conditions and job security, she vowed to ‘continue this fight in parliament’.
Between 2001 and 2007 Roxon served in the Opposition ministry, speaking frequently on child and youth issues, anti-terrorism legislation, family law and health. As Minister for Health (2007–11) she introduced the world’s first tobacco plain packaging legislation and banned tobacco advertising in electronic media, attracting international regard as a ‘rock star’ among anti-smoking campaigners. Further health legislation overseen by Roxon established electronic patient records, removed barriers on care provided by nurses and midwives and reformed hospital funding and administration.
In 2011 Roxon was appointed Australia’s first female Attorney-General, later serving also as Minister for Emergency Management (2012–13). In 2012 she introduced legislation to create a national children’s commissioner, finally achieving an aim which had been the subject of her private member’s bill introduced nine years earlier.
She served as chair of the Standing Committee of Privileges and Members’ Interests before her retirement from politics in 2013.