Ms Parke was named Minister for International Development when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced new cabinet members.
She was among six women given a portfolio.
‘The merit-based appointment of the largest- ever contingent of women in both the cabinet and ministry reflects the quality serving in this Labor Government, and it reflects the capacity of women to make a contribution to all walks of life,’ she said.
‘Fair representation of women in all professions and at all levels is about ensuring the participation of the best mix of people.’
Ms Parke said her new role would be about contributing to helping fellow people in parts of the world affected by poverty, disease, war and civil unrest.
‘The role involves guiding the policy and programs that are designed to save lives, reduce poverty and to build social and economic capacity,’ she said. ‘That critical work ensures that Australia is doing its part in the shared global effort of reducing human suffering, providing peace-keeping resources and creating greater self-reliance.’