Labor Senator for Western Australia
Louise has been a member of the Australian Senate since July 2008. Her key policy interests include combating climate change and economic inequality, increasing women’s workforce participation, improving maternity services and early childhood education, ending discrimination against LGBTI Australians, population and development issues, and closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Louise is a proud member of Emily’s List Australia and of the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union. She is chair of the Status of Women Committee of the Federal Labor Caucus and the Labor Duty Senator for the federal lower-house seats of Moore, Cowan, Stirling and Durack. In this capacity, she has hosted events and organised meetings with federal ministers and parliamentarians for many Western Australian constituents, including local governments, veterans’ organisations, foreign aid advocacy groups, industry bodies, unions and Indigenous organisations.
Louise is the chair of the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories and a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety, and the Senate standing committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, Senators’ Interests and the Scrutiny of Bills. As a temporary chair of committees, Louise also regularly chairs sessions of the Senate.
Louise is chair of the Labor Status of Women caucus committee, which includes all women in the federal parliamentary Labor caucus and works across portfolios to find positive solutions to addressing issues of gender inequality.
As a member of the Gillard Government’s Ministerial Advisory Council on Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs) and Sexually Transmissible Infections (STIs), Louise took part in the development of five new national strategies for BBVs and sexually transmissible infections. These new strategies will guide policies in relation to prevention, testing, management and treatment of BBVs and STIs for the next three years. She is the chair of the Parliamentary Liaison Group for HIV/AIDS, BBVs and STIs and an active member of the Parliamentary Group for Population and Development.
Louise is proud of Labor’s record in government and has advocated and supported a range of Labor’s reforms in the Senate, including improvements to maternity services, fair work legislation, same-sex law reform, action on climate change, regulating political donations, reforming the AusAID family planning guidelines, paid parental leave, health system reform, enhancing migrant workers’ rights, the stimulus package, the rights of refugees and better consumer protection laws.
Louise entered federal parliament with a strong background in community activism and a history of parliamentary service at the state level. In 2001, she was the youngest woman ever elected to the Western Australian Legislative Council. As an MLC, she served as the chair of the council’s Environment and Public Affairs Committee and as the regional representative for Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians Australia. As a member of both the Gallop and Carpenter Labor governments, Louise chaired a Greenhouse Stakeholder Group and a review of adoption legislation for the state government, was the secretary of the Western Australian State Labor Caucus, and was a key member of the state government’s Ministerial Taskforce on Lesbian and Gay Law Reform.