Lisa Singh

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Senator The Honourable
Lisa Singh
Senator for Tasmania
Assumed office
1 July 2011
Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection
of Tasmania
In office
26 November 2008 – 13 April 2010
Premier David Bartlett
Preceded by David Llewellyn
Succeeded by Nick McKim
Minister for Workplace Relations
of Tasmania
In office
26 November 2008 – 13 April 2010
Preceded by Allison Ritchie
Succeeded by David O'Byrne
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
for Denison
In office
18 March 2006 – 13 April 2010
Personal details
Born Lisa Maria Singh
(1972-02-20) 20 February 1972 (age 45)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Domestic partner Colin Grubb
Relations Raman Pratap Singh (uncle), Ram Jati Singh (grandfather)
Children 2
Alma mater University of Tasmania

Lisa Maria Singh (born 20 February 1972) is an Australian politician who is a Labor Party member of the Australian Senate for Tasmania. She was previously a member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly, representing the division of Denison from 2006 to 2010. The granddaughter of an Indo-Fijian member of the Parliament of Fiji, Singh is Australia's first federal parliamentarian of Indo-Fijian ancestry.[1]

Early life[edit]

Singh was born 20 February 1972 in Hobart, Tasmania to a Fijian-Indian father and an English Australian mother.[2] Her father arrived in Australia as an international student in 1963.[3] Singh attended St Mary's College and Elizabeth College before leaving Tasmania to live and work in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. She later returned to Tasmania to study at the University of Tasmania, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Social Geography, and also holds a Master of International Relations from Macquarie University. Singh became a mother to two sons whilst at university.[4]

Singh is the granddaughter of Ram Jati Singh, who was a member of the Fijian Legislative Council (the precursor to the present day Fijian Parliament) in the 1960s. Her uncle, Raman Pratap Singh, is a Fijian politician who is a past President of the National Federation Party and was a Member of Parliament from 1994 to 1999.[5] He made an unsuccessful attempt to regain his seat in 2014.

In her maiden speech in the Senate, Singh claimed descent from the Rajputs.[6]


Following university, Singh worked in public relations and for the Australian Education Union as an industrial organiser.[citation needed] After joining the Australian Labor Party, Singh served on the Tasmanian ALP’s State Administrative Committee, as President of the New Town branch and as a delegate at state and national conferences.

From 1999–2001 Singh was as an adviser to Sue Mackay. Singh then became the Director of the Working Women's Centre in Tasmania where she campaigned for paid parental leave and equal pay. Singh is a member of Emily's List, serving on the National Executive of the organisation in Australia.[citation needed]

Singh became Hobart Citizen of the Year in 2004 for her work in the peace movement surrounding the Iraq war, especially in highlighting the plight of women and children in war.[7]

Singh has also served as the President of the YWCA Tasmania, the President of the United Nations Association Tasmania and as a member of the Tasmania Women's Council. Singh was also Convenor of the Australian Republican Movement from 2004–2007. She subsequently managed the Tasmanian Government arts unit, arts@work, before being pre-selected for the Australian Labor Party.

Election to Tasmanian Parliament[edit]

Singh was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly as one of the five Members of the division of Denison in the March 2006 state election. Singh gave her inaugural speech on 18 March 2006.[8] In August 2007, Singh abstained in a vote on a controversial Bill supporting Gunns' Bell Bay Pulp Mill supported by all fellow Labor MPs, after having failed in an appeal to then-Premier Paul Lennon for a conscience vote on the matter.[9]

Singh became a Parliamentary Secretary in early 2008. On 25 November 2008, then-Premier David Bartlett announced that Singh would enter Cabinet as Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection, Minister for Workplace Relations and Minister Assisting the Premier on Climate Change. She was sworn in at a ceremony at Government House on 26 November 2008.[10] As minister, Singh introduced legislative reforms in workers compensation, corrections and asbestos management.

Singh was defeated at the March 2010 state election. After her defeat, Singh co-founded the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation, an advocacy group to highlight the dangers of asbestos and support sufferers of asbestos-related disease and became its first CEO.[citation needed]

Election to Australian Parliament[edit]

Singh was elected to the Australian Senate in the 2010 federal election, making her the first person of South Asian descent to be elected to the Australian Parliament. She began her term in the Senate on 1 July 2011. On 18 October 2013 she was promoted to the shadow ministry as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Attorney-General. Shorten promoted her to Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Water on 24 June 2014.

She serves on a number of Parliamentary committees, including:

  • Senate Environment and Communications References Committee
  • Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee
  • Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
  • Joint Statutory Committee on Law Enforcement

Singh is the chair of the cross-party Parliamentary Group on Asbestos Related Disease (PGARD) and the former co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of UNICEF. Lisa is also the co-chair of the Parliamentary Group on HIV/AIDS bloodborne viruses. Within the Labor Government caucus, Singh has served as Caucus Liaison on the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper and Convenor of Labor Friends of Tourism; and currently serves as Parliamentary co-Convenor of the national policy action caucus, Labor For an Australian Republic (LFAR).

In 2014, she was awarded one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, for her exceptional and meritorious public service as a person of Indian heritage in fostering friendly relations between India and Australia.

In 2015, the Labor Party's pre-selection ballot for the 2016 federal election relegated Singh to the fourth position on the Tasmanian Senate ticket in favour of John Short, state secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. At the time, it was considered very unlikely that the Labor Party will win more than three Senate seats in Tasmania, which would be required for Singh to remain in the Senate.[11]

In 2016, Singh was demoted to an unwinnable sixth position on the ticket.[12] A quota in Tasmania was 26,090 votes and Singh received 20,741 below-the-line votes, which was enough to overturn the party's ticket order and she was elected before Catryna Bilyk as the 10th elected senator for Tasmania, with John Short missing out.[13]

In late 2016, Singh attended the United Nations General Assembly as one of two Parliamentary Delegates with the Australian Mission to the United Nations.[14]

Policy Positions[edit]

Refugee advocacy[edit]

Singh has been a vocal opponent of Australia’s offshore detention of asylum seekers. She broke with the Labor Party’s official position to call for an end to indefinite offshore detention on the tv program Q&A,[15] as well as successfully moving a motion in the senate to call for greater transparency in offshore detention centres.[16]

Other causes[edit]

As well as her work on asbestos, Singh has also advocated for a number of international causes including: Tibet, Palestine, East Timor, and West Papua. She has also had an active interest in supporting women’s rights, the abolition of capital punishment, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, Same-sex marriage, land mines, arts and culture, and the environment.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ The Fiji Times - Monday, February 28, 1994
  6. ^ Senator Singh: First Speech – Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 24 October 2014.
  7. ^ Migrants 'pledge allegiance' in Hobart, ABC News, 26 January 2004.
  8. ^ Inaugural speech, Parliament of Tasmania.
  9. ^ Backbencher not to vote on mill, ABC News, 20 August 2007.
  10. ^ Singh quiet on mill after swearing-in, ABC News, 27 November 2008.
  11. ^ Shannon, Lucy (27 June 2015). "Tasmanian senator Lisa Singh blames factional deal for fourth place on Senate ticket". ABC News. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "Labor unveils Senate candidates with Lisa Singh relegated to unwinnable spot". ABC News. 12 May 2016. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 
  13. ^ Carr, Adam. "2016 Senate election: Tasmania". Psephos: Adam Carr's Election Archive. 
  14. ^ "Singh heads to United Nations General Assembly=The Mercury". 10 September 2016. 
  15. ^ "Q&A: Labor frontbencher Lisa Singh calls for end to 'inhumane' indefinite offshore detention=ABC News Online". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 October 2015. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  16. ^ "Motions - Immigration Detention – Speech". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Commonwealth of Australia: Senate. 1 September 2016. 

External links[edit]

Tasmanian House of Assembly
Preceded by
David Bartlett
Michael Hodgman
Judy Jackson
Peg Putt
Graeme Sturges
Member for Denison
Served alongside: David Bartlett, Graeme Sturges, Michael Hodgman, Peg Putt
Succeeded by
Cassy O'Connor
David Bartlett
Matthew Groom
Scott Bacon
Elise Archer
Political offices
Preceded by
David Llewellyn
Minister for Corrections and Consumer Protection (Tasmania)
Succeeded by
Nick McKim
Preceded by
Allison Ritchie
Minister for Workplace Relations (Tasmania)
Succeeded by
David O'Byrne