Cesar Melhem

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Cesar Melhem
Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for Western Metropolitan Region
Assumed office
9 May 2013
Personal details
Born (1965-01-04) 4 January 1965 (age 50)
Political party Australian Labor Party

Cesar Melhem (Arabic: سيزار ملحم) (born 4 January 1965) is a former State Secretary of the Victorian Branch of the Australian Workers' Union (AWU), and current Member for Western Metropolitan Region in the Legislative Council, Parliament of Victoria.


Born in Lebanon, Melhem migrated to Australia at the age of 23.[1] He worked as a process operator before being elected as a union organiser for the Federated Ironworkers Association of Australia (FIA). In 1990 he stood for and was subsequently elected as a full-time union organiser. He remained in this role until the FIA amalgamated with the AWU in the 1990s.

He was elected to the role of Assistant Secretary of the AWU after its amalgamation with the FIA. Melhem went on to be elected State Secretary in 2006 following Bill Shorten's resignation.

During his time as State Secretary, Melhem played a key role in the business of one of Australia’s largest and most progressive unions with a turnover of millions of dollars a year, spent looking after the well-being of tens of thousands of blue collar members. A typical example was Melhem’s fronting of negotiations with Alcoa executives in Pittsburgh USA to successfully make the case for the Point Henry Smelter to stay open, to re-organise, and provide an ongoing source of employment for the Geelong region in the face of an international review by the company that threatened to close it down. This decision has since been reversed. He is also a former director of superannuation provider to building and construction workers CBUS, and of Chifley Financial Services, an organisation providing advice, investments, superannuation, insurance and mortgage lending.

On May 6, 2013 Melhem announced he was resigning as AWU state secretary after 7 years, to enter the Victorian Legislative Council as the member for Western Metropolitan Region, succeeding Shadow Attorney General Martin Pakula, who resigned to contest the Legislative Assembly seat of Lyndhurst.[2] Melhem was appointed to the vacancy on 9 May.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Melhem married his wife Jane in 1997, who together have two children. The family is settled in the western suburbs of Melbourne, where Melhem has lived since his arrival in Australia in 1988. He is a staunch supporter of the Western Bulldogs FC.