62 Wray Ave
PO Box 1224
Melissa Parke was elected as the federal member for Fremantle on 24 November 2007 at the general election that marked the beginning of the new Labor Government. Melissa was returned for a second term in August 2010.
Melissa campaigned on the need for education and health reform, and for integrity and accountability in Government. She also made it clear that one of her ambitions was to see Fremantle become recognised as a leader in urban sustainability, and in climate change awareness and action.
Before entering parliament, Melissa Parke worked as a senior lawyer in the United Nations for 8 years. Melissa began her employment with the UN peacekeeping mission in Kosovo within the Office of Legal Affairs in 1999, and this was followed by two and a half years working in Gaza for the international legal division of UNRWA, the UN agency that works to assist Palestinian refugees.
In June 2004, Melissa undertook a position in the UN headquarters in New York in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management. In this role, she was responsible for oversight of the internal system of administration of justice, as well for establishing the UN Ethics Office, including instituting programs for whistleblower protection, financial disclosure, ethics training and advice and standards of conduct.
In mid 2006, Melissa took up a legal position in the UN International Independent Investigation Commission (UNIIIC) in Beirut, investigating the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri. At this time, Melissa also became the Deputy Chief of Staff of UNIIIC. Upon completion of her role in Lebanon in February 2007, Melissa resumed her work in New York before returning to Australia in June 2007.
Prior to joining the UN, Melissa was a lecturer in the law school at Murdoch University (WA) and, before that, the solicitor in charge at the Bunbury Community Legal Centre. It was in this role that Melissa's strong sense of a public service vocation was formed through her direct experience of working with people who could not afford private legal advice or representation. At the same time Melissa was engaged in community legal education and the law reform process, and she became closely involved in local community groups concerned about environmental and social justice issues, including the Communities for Coastal Conservation and the Waratah Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Referral Centre.
These experiences gave Melissa the chance to see how the law and related governmental processes can work to assist and protect individuals and communities, but also how such institutions shape our society, for better or for worse.
Melissa subsequently became a WA representative on the national council of the Australian Conservation Foundation and the President of Labor Lawyers (WA).
Melissa grew up in the south-west of Western Australia on her parents' apple farm in Donnybrook. She attended public schools in Donnybrook and Bunbury, and later graduated with a Bachelor of Business from Curtin University. She completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of New South Wales and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law at Murdoch University.
Melissa says, "Working at the UN and in the community legal sector has reinforced my faith in the value of strong advocacy at the level of the individual, and progressive policy at the level of government. As an experienced advocate and a hands-on participant in progressive change, I look forward to working hard on behalf of the people of Fremantle, and to making a contribution to the Labor Government."