Nicola Roxon

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The Honourable
Nicola Roxon
Attorney-General of Australia and Emergency Management Minister, Nicola Roxon and Deputy Mayor of Wagga Wagga, Councillor Yvonne Braid.jpg
Attorney-General of Australia
In office
14 December 2011 – 2 February 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Robert McClelland
Succeeded by Mark Dreyfus
Minister for Health and Ageing
In office
3 December 2007 – 14 December 2011
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Tony Abbott
Succeeded by Tanya Plibersek (Health)
Mark Butler (Mental Health and Ageing)
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Gellibrand
In office
3 October 1998 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Ralph Willis
Succeeded by Tim Watts
Personal details
Born (1967-04-01) 1 April 1967 (age 47)
Sydney, Australia
Political party Labor Party
Spouse(s) Michael Kerrisk
Children 1 daughter
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Website Official website

Nicola Louise Roxon (born 1 April 1967), an Australian politician, was a member of the Australian House of Representatives representing the seat of Gellibrand in Victoria for the Australian Labor Party from the 1998 federal election until her retirement in August 2013. Between 2011 and 2013, Roxon was the Attorney-General of Australia.

Early and personal life

Roxon was born in Sydney, New South Wales. She is the second of three daughters and the niece of the late Australian journalist and Sydney Push member Lillian Roxon.[1] Her paternal grandparents were Jewish and migrated from Poland to Australia in 1937. Anglicising the family name from Ropschitz to Roxon, her grandfather worked as a GP in Gympie and Brisbane, Queensland.[2] Her mother Lesley trained as a pharmacist, while her father Jack was a microbiologist. He was a strong influence in her life and she was devastated by his death from cancer when she was 10 years old.

Roxon was educated at the Methodist Ladies' College in the suburb of Kew in Melbourne, Victoria, and the University of Melbourne. She ultimately came to the view that "governments have got a role to make sure they can help people in circumstances they can't control—either through their health failing or an accident".[1] She has publicly stated that she is an atheist.[3]

Between 1992 and 1994, Roxon was employed as a judge's associate to High Court Justice Mary Gaudron.[1] She then became involved with the trade union movement, joining the National Union of Workers as an organiser. Roxon was also an industrial lawyer and senior associate with the law firm Maurice Blackburn and Co. from 1996 to 1998.[4]

Political career

Roxon in 2008

Roxon was elected to the comfortably safe Labor seat of Gellibrand in 1998, succeeding longtime member Ralph Willis.

She served on a number of committees, including the Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Resources and the Joint Select Committee on the Republic Referendum.

Roxon was promoted to the Shadow Ministry after Labor's loss in the 2001 election. Initially, she was appointed Shadow Minister for Child Care, Family Support and Youth. Roxon then had a brief stint as Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration later that year, when Julia Gillard moved from the Immigration portfolio to Health. In 2003, new leader Mark Latham appointed her shadow Attorney-General and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on the Status of Women. She remained as Shadow Attorney-General following Latham's election loss in the 2004 election, holding this position until 2006. Kevin Rudd appointed her to the position of Shadow Health Minister upon his elevation to the Labor leadership in December 2006, and she retained the portfolio when Labor won government, replacing Tony Abbott as Minister for Health and Ageing.

Roxon made headlines during the 2007 federal election campaign when, on 31 October 2007, then Health Minister Tony Abbott arrived half an hour late for a televised debate. After apologising on behalf of the absent party to the audience of media and health industry figures, Roxon had the debate to herself and made light of the situation by stating that her staff felt she did a good impersonation of Abbott and could play his part. When Abbott arrived, he apologised for being late, but swore at Roxon when she claimed he could have been on time if he had wanted to.[5][6]

Minister for Health

In February 2009, Roxon attempted to introduce legislation backing the alcopops tax increase into parliament.[7]

In 2010, Roxon aimed to introduce major health reform in Australia. She said the Government would hold a referendum on hospital reform even if the Senate rejected the idea.[8]

In 2012 Roxon was featured in the Australian Story television program in an episide entitled "Kicking The Habit", about her advocacy for plain cigarette packaging.[9]

Attorney-General

Prime Minister Julia Gillard implemented a major change to her Cabinet on 14 December 2011. Roxon was promoted from Health and Ageing to become Australia's first woman to serve as Attorney-General.[10][11] In a reshuffle announced on 2 March 2012, Roxon was given the additional portfolio of Emergency Management.[12] She was sworn into that portfolio on 5 March.

In May 2012, Attorney-General Roxon announced that the Australian Government would not seek a pardon for Harry "Breaker" Morant from the British Government, on the grounds that Morant and his two fellow officers did, in fact, kill unarmed prisoners and others during the Second Boer War.

Resignation

Roxon resigned as Attorney-General on 2 February 2013. She continued as a backbencher for the remainder of her term, and retired when the parliament was dissolved before the 2013 federal election.[13]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Stafford, Annabel (29 December 2007). "Going boldly into the minefield that is health". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 30 January 2008. 
  2. ^ "Passion for prevention". Australian Doctor. 17 January 2007. Retrieved 5 March 2008. 
  3. ^ Pollies in the no-God squad, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 March 2010
  4. ^ "Biography". nicolaroxonmp.com. 2007-12-03. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  5. ^ Robertson, Dana (31 October 2007). "Roxon, Abbott trade debate blows". ABC Lateline. Retrieved 1 August 2008. 
  6. ^ "Abbott ends tough day with 'bullshit' rebuke". 31 October 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2008. 
  7. ^ "Alcohol industry data slammed as 'shoddy'". The Age (Melbourne). 25 February 2009. 
  8. ^ "Nicola Roxon pushes referendum option on health". The Australian. 2010-03-07. Retrieved 2011-06-04. 
  9. ^ "Kicking The Habit". Australian Story. abc.net.au. 27 August 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Gillard's new team sworn in Retrieved 2011-12-14
  11. ^ Gillard unveils expanded Cabinet Retrieved 2011-12-12
  12. ^ retrieved 18 March 2012[dead link]
  13. ^ Kenny, Mark; Wright, Jessica (2 February 2013). "Gillard in turmoil". The Age. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 

External links

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ralph Willis
Member of Parliament
for Gellibrand

1998–2013
Succeeded by
Tim Watts
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Abbott
Minister for Health and Ageing
2007–2011
Succeeded by
Tanya Plibersek
as Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Mark Butler
as Minister for Mental Health and Ageing
Preceded by
Robert McClelland
Attorney-General of Australia
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Mark Dreyfus