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Melissa Parke (born 11 August 1966) is an Australian lawyer and politician who worked for the United Nations from 1999 to 2007. She is now a member of the Australian Parliament.

Education and employment

Parke grew up in the south-west of Western Australia on her parents' apple farm in Donnybrookmarker. She attended Bunbury Senior High School and later graduated from Curtin University of Technologymarker with a Bachelor of Business degree. She completed a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) at the University of New South Walesmarker and a Master of Laws (LLM) in Public International Law at Murdoch University.

Prior to joining the UN, Parke was a lecturer in the law school at Murdoch University, Western Australia. She also worked as the solicitor-in-charge of the Bunbury Community Legal Centre. Parke's community engagement and contributions have included being a Western Australian representative on the national council of the Australian Conservation Foundation, a spokesperson for the Communities for Coastal Conservation, and the President of Labor Lawyers (WA).

Parke began her employment with the UN in the Office of Legal Affairs, Pristina, Kosovo, and subsequently also worked in Gaza and Beirut. In January 2006, Parke was seconded from the Department of Management to establish the new UN Ethics Office, laying the foundations for a permanent unit within the UN that would eventually serve 29,000 personnel worldwide.

In the second half of 2006, Parke worked as the Deputy Chief of Staff in the UN Commission, Beirut, Lebanon, investigating the assassination of the former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, and 15 other terrorist attacks in Lebanon.

Parke's most recent UN role was as a senior lawyer in the Office of the Under-Secretary-General for Management in the UN headquarters, New Yorkmarker. In this role, in 2007, Parke was responsible for aspects of management reform and for the provision of advice and oversight in respect of the UN system of justice administration.

Political career

In the Western Australian State election of 1996, Parke unsuccessfully contested the rural seat of Mitchell for the Australian Labor Party.

In the federal election of November 2007, she was a candidate for the Australian Labor Party and was elected to represent the Division of Fremantle.She succeeded Carmen Lawrence, who retired at that election.

In May 2007, when Parke was pre-selected as the ALP's candidate for Fremantle, there was some initial disquiet; she was seen by some party members as an "outsider". She moved into a residence in the electorate and began campaigning. In September 2007, former Prime Minister Bob Hawke campaigned with Parke in Fremantle and said that she was "a lady of extreme talent and she's got the experience of dealing with practical situations which will stand her in very good stead in the Parliament".


External links

  • "Starting Operations, New UN Ethics Office Fields Staff Requests For Advice", Global Policy Forum,17 January 2006.
  • University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Alumni
  • Murdoch University Annual Report 1999: See "Rebuilding Kosovo"
  • 14 December 1996, WA State General Election for the District of Mitchell.
  • ELAW Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law. Articles by Melissa Parke
  • ABC News 25 September 2007 [457009]
  • 2007 Election Result for Fremantle
  • CV page for Parke at Curtin University's historical site for the Fremantle electoral division.
  • Official Website

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