Parke steps down after 10 years

With eight years at the United Nations and nine years as Fremantle’s MP under her belt, Ms Parke said this was the right time to step down, saying she was looking forward to more family time and less time flying around the country. The MP married prominent WA businessman Warwick Hemsley last month.

Growing up on a Donnybrook farm, she said even from a young age she was taught about social justice, environmental and animal welfare issues.

“As the solicitor-in-charge of the Bunbury Community Legal Service and through my time with the UN, primarily in conflict zones, I learnt the value of strong local advocacy and representation and the critical role that politics can play in improving the lives of people,” she said.

“Serving as the first minister in 25 years dedicated to our Aus-AID agency was a particular honour, as was seeing the establishment of the world’s biggest network of marine sanctuaries in Commonwealth waters and receiving the triennial Integrity Award as a parliamentarian from the Accountability Round Table.”

Elected in 2007, Ms Parke advocated for the area’s biggest issues, and was eventually named parliamentary secretary for mental health, homelessness and social housing.

“I have supported St Patrick’s Community Support Centre and through that experience came to know of the issues facing homeless people and homelessness providers in our community; I was also pleased to support the establishment of headspace Fremantle,” she said.

“The Fremantle electorate has gone through a period of growth and revitalisation from inner Freo and East Freo to Cockburn Central and the Coogee coast.

“I am proud to have helped deliver a number of key community projects to support that growth… but the next step has to be investment in transport infrastructure, especially public transport.

“I would have liked to see an end to live animal export, the establishment of an independent office of animal welfare and the repeal of our inhumane national asylum seeker laws and policies.”