Defence Debate

Senator the Hon Marise Payne and Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Defence and Shadow Minister
Thursday, 16 June 2016
Arrive from 11.30am, lunch 12 noon, speaker 12.30 concludes 1.30pm

Registrations for this event are now closed. Please contact reception for further details.

Marise PayneAfter growing up in Sydney and the NSW Southern Highlands, Marise Payne went on to complete her education at MLC School, Burwood and her Bachelor of Arts and Laws at the University of NSW.

A member of the Liberal Party since 1982, Marise was the National Young Liberal Movement’s first female President. She also served on the NSW Liberal State Executive for 10 years and at branch and electorate levels.

Having served as a political adviser to some of the most significant figures in Liberal politics of their time, Marise went on to a career as a public affairs adviser in the finance industry.

In 1997 Marise filled a casual vacancy to represent the people of New South Wales in the Australian Senate, making her inaugural speech on 2 September 1997. She was then elected in 2001, 2007 and 2013.

Marise has served as Shadow Minister for Indigenous Development and Employment, Shadow Minister for COAG [Council of Australian Governments] and Shadow Minister for Housing. She plays an active role in the Senate and has been a member of both Joint and Senate committees, including as Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and as Chair of its Human Rights subcommittee.

In September 2013 Marise was appointed as Minister for Human Services in the newly elected Abbott Coaliton Government and on 21 September, 2015, she was promoted to Cabinet as Minister for Defence.

From its inception in 2003, Marise was co-convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Dementia (PFOD) group until February 2011 and is currently co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Rugby League group.

Based in western Sydney for over ten years, Marise has come to know the local community well and now works alongside local organisations and businesses to help the region develop its great potential.

Outside parliament, Marise continues to work in the community on issues as diverse as human rights, emerging technologies and the implications of our ageing population.

Away from politics, she is a committed fan of the St George/Illawarra NRL team and the Geelong Cats, an enthusiastic supporter of the arts in Australia, spends as much time as she can in the Southern Highlands and she cooks for therapy. Marise and her partner live in a newly built home in Mulgoa.

Stephen ConroyStephen was born into an Air Force family in Ely, United Kingdom. Stephen’s family moved to Canberra when he was 10, and he went on to graduate from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Economics.

Stephen joined the Labor Party in 1983, to turn his concerns about equality of opportunity and economic justice into action.

Stephen moved to Melbourne and worked at the Transport Workers’ Union and in 1993 he was elected to Footscray City Council, where he developed an interest in transport and communication issues.

Following the resignation of Gareth Evans, Stephen was appointed to the Senate and served as the Minister responsible for communications and the rollout of the National Broadband Network from 2007 to 2013.

Stephen has fought hard to establish a National Broadband Network so that the economic opportunities that technology brings can reach all Australians, wherever they live and whatever their background.

Stephen and his wife live in western Melbourne with their daughter. A sports nut, he was a national volleyball representative as a teenager and has been the President of Volleyball Victoria since 2004. Stephen barracks for Collingwood in the AFL and Melbourne Heart in the A-League, and he still pulls on the boots to play soccer when he has time.