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Melissa Parke

Melissa Parke

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Melissa Parke is an Australian Labor parliamentarian representing the Division of Fremantle
Division of Fremantle
The Division of Fremantle is an Australian Electoral Division in Western Australia.The division was created at Federation in 1900 and was one of the original 75 divisions contested at the first federal election...

, Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

, in the Australian House of Representatives
Australian House of Representatives
The House of Representatives is one of the two houses of the Parliament of Australia; it is the lower house; the upper house is the Senate. Members of Parliament serve for terms of approximately three years....

. She was elected to office in November 2007 and re-elected in August 2010. Parke has been notable for her principled positions on human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, refugees, animal welfare
Animal welfare
Animal welfare is the physical and psychological well-being of animals.The term animal welfare can also mean human concern for animal welfare or a position in a debate on animal ethics and animal rights...

, public service
Public services
Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income...

integrity, and foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

.

Prior to entering politics, Parke worked as a lawyer for the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

. Between 1999 and 2007 she worked for the UN in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, and New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. She also worked as a law lecturer at Murdoch University
Murdoch University
Murdoch University is a public university based in Perth, Australia. It began operations as the state's second university in 1973, and accepted its first students in 1975...

, the principal solicitor at the Bunbury
Bunbury, Western Australia
The port city of Bunbury is the third largest city in Western Australia after the State Capital Perth and Mandurah. It is situated south of Perth's central business district...

 Community Legal Centre, and in private legal practice in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 and Western Australia
Western Australia
Western Australia is a state of Australia, occupying the entire western third of the Australian continent. It is bounded by the Indian Ocean to the north and west, the Great Australian Bight and Indian Ocean to the south, the Northern Territory to the north-east and South Australia to the south-east...

.

Early Life


Parke grew up in the south-west of Western Australia on her parents' apple farm in Donnybrook
Donnybrook, Western Australia
-Tourism:Donnybrook has many town icons bearing the apple. On the main street, apple-shaped lights line the entrance of the Old Railway Station. These lights have recently been restored. Atop the east Donnybrook hill is a high tower with an apple at the top...

. She attended public schools in Donnybrook
Donnybrook, Western Australia
-Tourism:Donnybrook has many town icons bearing the apple. On the main street, apple-shaped lights line the entrance of the Old Railway Station. These lights have recently been restored. Atop the east Donnybrook hill is a high tower with an apple at the top...

 and Bunbury
Bunbury, Western Australia
The port city of Bunbury is the third largest city in Western Australia after the State Capital Perth and Mandurah. It is situated south of Perth's central business district...

 and completed a Bachelor of Business (with Distinction) at Curtin University in 1989. This was followed by a law degree at the University of New South Wales
University of New South Wales
The University of New South Wales , is a research-focused university based in Kensington, a suburb in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia...

 and subsequently in 1998 a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law at Murdoch University
Murdoch University
Murdoch University is a public university based in Perth, Australia. It began operations as the state's second university in 1973, and accepted its first students in 1975...

 where she lectured in 1999.

From 1990 to 1994 Parke worked in law offices in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 and Bunbury
Bunbury, Western Australia
The port city of Bunbury is the third largest city in Western Australia after the State Capital Perth and Mandurah. It is situated south of Perth's central business district...

 and from 1994 to 1997 as Solicitor-in–charge at the Bunbury Community Legal Centre. It was during this period that she unsuccessfully contested the WA Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly
Legislative Assembly is the name given in some countries to either a legislature, or to one of its branch.The name is used by a number of member-states of the Commonwealth of Nations, as well as a number of Latin American countries....

 seat of Mitchell for the Australian Labor Party
Australian Labor Party
The Australian Labor Party is an Australian political party. It has been the governing party of the Commonwealth of Australia since the 2007 federal election. Julia Gillard is the party's federal parliamentary leader and Prime Minister of Australia...

 at the 1996 election.

United Nations


Parke began her employment as an international lawyer with UNMIK, the United Nations peacekeeping mission in Kosovo
Kosovo
Kosovo is a region in southeastern Europe. Part of the Ottoman Empire for more than five centuries, later the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija within Serbia...

 from 1999 to 2002 and subsequently worked in Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

 with UNRWA the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East is a relief and human development agency, providing education, health care, social services and emergency aid to 5 million Palestine refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, as well as in the West Bank and the Gaza...

 from 2002 to 2004.

In 2004 Parke became a legal adviser in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management in the UN headquarters, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. In this role, Parke was responsible for aspects of management reform and for the provision of advice and oversight in respect of the UN system of justice administration.

In 2005 and 2006, Parke was seconded from the Department of Management to establish the new UN Ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

 Office, laying the foundations for a permanent unit within the UN that would eventually serve 29,000 personnel worldwide in relation to issues of ethics, transparency and good governance.

From mid-2006 to early 2007, Parke worked as the deputy Chief of Staff and legal adviser in the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) in Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, investigating the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri
Rafik Hariri
Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri , was a business tycoon and the Prime Minister of Lebanon from 1992 to 1998 and again from 2000 until his resignation, 20 October 2004.He headed five cabinets during his tenure...

 and other terrorist attacks in Lebanon.

Parke returned to her post in New York in early 2007 and left the United Nations in June of that year to return to Fremantle, Australia in order to stand for parliament.

Political Career


Melissa Parke was elected as the Federal Member for the Division of Fremantle
Division of Fremantle
The Division of Fremantle is an Australian Electoral Division in Western Australia.The division was created at Federation in 1900 and was one of the original 75 divisions contested at the first federal election...

 in the November 2007 Australian Federal Election and again in the August 2010 Australian Federal Election. Some notable achievements include negotiating the return of Cantonment Hill from the Australian Defence Force
Australian Defence Force
The Australian Defence Force is the military organisation responsible for the defence of Australia. It consists of the Royal Australian Navy , Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and a number of 'tri-service' units...

 to the City of Fremantle
City of Fremantle
The City of Fremantle is a Local Government Area in South Metropolitan Perth. The City covers an area of , and lies about southwest of the Perth central business district.-History:...

 and organising a Community Cabinet Forum in Fremantle in March 2011 attended by Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Julia Gillard
Julia Gillard
Julia Eileen Gillard is the 27th and current Prime Minister of Australia, in office since June 2010.Gillard was born in Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, Wales and migrated with her family to Adelaide, Australia in 1966, attending Mitcham Demonstration School and Unley High School. In 1982 Gillard moved...

 and key Cabinet Ministers. In June 2011 Parke publicly raised concerns about the government’s proposal to send asylum-seeker children to Malaysia and in July 2011 Parke was one of nine backbencher
Backbencher
In Westminster parliamentary systems, a backbencher is a Member of Parliament or a legislator who does not hold governmental office and is not a Front Bench spokesperson in the Opposition...

 MPs to raise concerns about the government’s decision to resume the live export
Live export
Live export is the transport of living farm animals usually across either state or national borders.Animal charities say that thousands of animals die en route from disease, heat exhaustion, thirst, suffocation, and crush injuries. The National Hog Farmer reports that 420,000 pigs are crippled and...

 of cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

 to Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

 after the ABC Four Corners program exposed cruel and inhumane treatment of Australian cattle in Indonesian abattoirs.

Parke currently sits on the Joint Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs, Defence, & Trade (Member since 18 February 2008), the Joint Standing Committee for Treaties (Member since 18 February 2008), and the Joint Statutory Committee: Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity (Chair from 28 September 2008).

When Parke was pre-selected as the ALP's candidate for Fremantle in May 2007, there was some initial disquiet; she was seen by some party members as an "outsider", notwithstanding the fact that she had been a party member since 1995 and contested the State seat of Mitchell for the ALP in 1996. Parke was also President of Labor Lawyers in Western Australia for several years. In September 2007, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke
Bob Hawke
Robert James Lee "Bob" Hawke AC GCL was the 23rd Prime Minister of Australia from March 1983 to December 1991 and therefore longest serving Australian Labor Party Prime Minister....

 campaigned with Parke in Fremantle and said that she was "a lady of extreme talent and she's got the experience of dealing with practical situations which will stand her in very good stead in the Parliament".

Other Activities


Over the years Parke’s community activities have included acting as a Western Australian representative on the National Council of the Australian Conservation Foundation
Australian Conservation Foundation
The Australian Conservation Foundation is an Australian non-profit, community-based environmental organisation focused on advocacy, policy research and community outreach.-History:...

, as the spokesperson for the Communities for Coastal Conservation, and serving on the management committee of the Waratah Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Referral Centre.









External links