Kerryn Phelps

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Councillor Dr
Kerryn Phelps
Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney
In office
23 September 2016 – 18 September 2017
Preceded by Irene Doutney
Succeeded by Jess Miller
Councillor of the City of Sydney
Assumed office
10 September 2016
Personal details
Born (1957-12-14) 14 December 1957 (age 60)
Sydney, Australia
Political party
  • Michael Fronzek (div. ca. 1993)
  • Jackie Stricker-Phelps (m.1998)
Relations Peter Phelps (brother)
Children Jaime Fronzek
Carl Fronzek
Gabrielle Stricker-Phelps
Alma mater University of Sydney
Occupation Medical practitioner, academic
Known for
Work institutions

Kerryn Lyndel Phelps AM[3] (born 14 December 1957) is an Australian medical practitioner and politician. She was the first woman and first LGBT person to be elected president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA). In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to Health and Medicine. In 2011 she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for her service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the AMA, education and community health, and as a general practitioner.[3] She is a pioneer in the field of health communication and integrative medicine in Australia.[citation needed] and is a Conjoint Professor in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the Western Sydney University.

She was elected to the Council of the City of Sydney on 10 September 2016 as a member of the Clover Moore Independents Team, and then appointed as Deputy Lord Mayor of the Council;[4] but resigned as Deputy from 27 June 2017 and is now an independent politician.

On 16 September 2018, Phelps announced she would run as an independent candidate in the 2018 Wentworth By-election.[5]

Professional life[edit]

Phelps graduated from the University of Sydney in 1981 and completed postgraduate training at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, and at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. She started working in health communications in the mainstream media in 1985, bringing messages about healthy lifestyle to the attention of the general public. Her television credits include EveryBody, Good Morning Australia, the Today Show, a documentary on The Kokoda Campaign and Last Chance Surgery. She has been the subject of stories on 60 Minutes, Australian Story and This Is Your Life. Phelps has presented a variety of health and fitness programs on radio and has been a regular newspaper and magazine columnist. In 1992, she was a regular on the sex education program Sex on the Nine Network.

In 1999 Phelps was elected president of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA).

The following year she was elected Federal President of the AMA, where she served the maximum term of three years. Some of her more significant successes involved working with Australian State and Federal Governments on resolving an emerging medical indemnity crisis. The unresolved medical insurance issue threatened obstetrics and neurosurgery in particular, and was exacerbated by escalating medical malpractice claims. She was also instrumental in establishing an advisory committee on Indigenous health in Australia, and promoting debate on the importance of the public health system in response to the bioterrorism threat. Phelps' major areas of interest included integrative medicine, public health, and human rights issues. As AMA President, she convened an expert advisory committee and pioneered the AMA's first position statement on complementary medicine. She also raised awareness of issues such as Aboriginal health problems, the medical workforce shortage and environmental health.

Her time as AMA president was marked by a public clash with the federal Minister for Health Dr Michael Wooldridge.[6] He publicly claimed that she had no specialist medical qualifications.[7][dead link] In rebuttal, Phelps contended that general practice is itself a medical specialty. The minister later issued a public apology.

Between 2009 and 2012 Phelps was President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association. She is founder and principal clinician at Sydney Integrative Medicine and Cooper Street Clinic in Sydney, an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Sydney and Conjoint Professor in the National Institute of Complementary Medicine at the Western Sydney University. She is a regular speaker to health professionals and the general public on health and well-being, as well as leadership and strategy for professional organisations. She has been the health writer for The Australian Women's Weekly since 1991. She is a regular commentator on general practice, public health, medical politics and human rights issues.[citation needed]

Phelps is the co-author, with Craig Hassad, of the textbook General Practice: The Integrative Approach published in 2010; and has published on general wellness, cancer and on a range of other general health and health communication issues.[8]

Local government politics[edit]

Elected to the Council of the City of Sydney on 10 September 2016 as a member of the Clover Moore Independent Team, Phelps was elected Deputy Lord Mayor of the Council.[9] However, membership of the Clover Moore team was short-lived. Phelps resigned to sit as an independent from 27 June 2017, after being told by Moore that she would not support Phelps' bid to continue as deputy lord mayor.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Phelps was born at Manly Hospital on 14 December 1957 and grew up in the Pittwater region of Sydney. Her mother, Shirley, was a local government councillor and her father, George, a refrigeration mechanic.[2][11]

She is married to Jackie Stricker-Phelps,[12] a former primary school teacher. Phelps and Stricker-Phelps were united in a religious ceremony in New York on 4 January 1998.[13] They returned to New York City in 2011 for a legal marriage. From her first marriage with Michael Fronzek she has a daughter, Jaime Fronzek and a son, Carl Fronzek.[1] The couple have a younger daughter, Gabrielle Stricker-Phelps. Phelps has a younger brother, Australian TV actor Peter Phelps.[2]

In 2009, Phelps was named one of the 25 most influential lesbians in Australia by readers of the website[14][15] During the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey period, Phelps appeared in an advertisement for the "Yes" campaign,[16] and was "high profile" in the debate.[17]

Jackie Stricker-Phelps grew up in a liberal European Jewish household and Kerryn Phelps converted to Judaism.[18][19]


Phelps was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to Australian society and medicine.[20][21] On 13 June 2011, she was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the Australian Medical Association in education and community health, and as a general practitioner.[3]

In 2008 Phelps was awarded a Bent Spoon Award by the Australian Skeptics.[22]

Phelps and Stricker-Phelps have been ambassadors for Barnardos Australia's Mother of the Year Award since 2013.

In 2014 she was awarded a Doctor of Letters honoris causa by the University of Western Sydney.

Selected published works[edit]

  • Phelps, Kerryn (1993). Sex : confronting sexuality. Harper Collins Publishers. p. 192. ISBN 978-0-7322-4974-8. 
  • Phelps, Kerryn; Hassed, Craig, eds. (2011). General practice : the integrative approach. Chatswood: Elsevier Australia. p. 993. ISBN 978-0-7295-3804-6. 
  • Phelps, Kerryn (2013). Ultimate wellness : the 3-step plan. Sydney: Pan Macmillan. p. 322. ISBN 978-1-74261-192-1. 
  • Phelps, Kerryn (2015). The cancer recovery guide : getting your life back. South Melbourne: Macmillan Australia. ISBN 978-1-74353-862-3. 


  1. ^ a b Mitchell, Susan (2003). Kerryn & Jackie: The Shared Life of Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker. St. Leonards, NSW: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-138-9. 
  2. ^ a b c Sutton, Candace (13 October 2002). "Phelps's son speaks out". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c "Kerryn Phelps AM". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. 3 June 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Colman, Elizabeth; McNab, Heather (12 October 2016). "Kerryn Phelps says she'll call out BS when she sees it as Sydney's new deputy lord mayor". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  5. ^ "Wentworth by-election, Kerryn Phelps to run as Independent". ABC. 16 September 2018. Retrieved 16 September 2018. 
  6. ^ Phelps, Kerryn; Wooldridge, Michael (2 July 2001). "Wooldridge and Phelps bury the hatchet" (transcript). PM (Interview). Interviewed by Rachel Mealey. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2 July 2001. 
  7. ^ "transcript of ABC radio". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 2001. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2001. 
  8. ^ "General practice: The integrative approach". Trove. National Library of Australia. 2017. ISBN 9780729538046. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  9. ^ McNab, Heather (24 September 2016). "KERRYN PHELPS IS ELECTED DEPUTY SYDNEY LORD MAYOR TO MOORE". NewsLocal. Retrieved 19 September 2017. 
  10. ^ Visentin, Lisa (27 June 2017). "Parting shots as Clover Moore's deputy Kerryn Phelps quits team". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  11. ^ Mitchell, Susan (2002). Kerryn & Jackie: The Shared Life of Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker. Allen & Unwin. p. 1. ISBN 9781741141382. 
  12. ^ Riley, Benjamin (29 March 2015). "Closet case: Kerryn Phelps & Jackie Stricker-Phelps". Star Observer. Retrieved 31 July 2017. 
  13. ^ Queer city: gay and lesbian politics in Sydney (Pluto Press, 2001), p. 127.
  14. ^ "Samsame 25". Samesame. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  15. ^ Sonti, Chalpat (17 December 2009). "WA politician wins a 'Gaylie'". WAtoday. Fairfax. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 
  16. ^ "Same-sex marriage campaigners hit back with Yes advertisement". ABC News. 30 August 2017. Retrieved 18 September 2018. 
  17. ^ Davies, Anne (17 September 2018). "Kerryn Phelps: a liberal alternative or the voice of Wentworth voters' fury?". the Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2018. 
  18. ^ "Dr Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker". 60 Minutes. 13 October 2002. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015. Jackie grew up in a Jewish family and Kerryn converted to Judaism 
  19. ^ "Falling in, falling out". Sydney Morning Herald. 12 Oct 2002. 
  20. ^ "Kerryn Phelps". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  21. ^ "Kerryn Phelps Curriculum Vitae". Celebrity Speakers. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 
  22. ^ "The Bent Spoon Award, Nominations, Past Winners". Australian Skeptics. Retrieved 7 September 2017. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Mitchell, Susan (2003). Kerryn & Jackie : the shared life of Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker (Revised ed.). Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74114-138-2. 
Civic offices
Preceded by
Irene Doutney
Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney
2016 – 2017
Succeeded by
Jess Miller