Steering Committee

Responsibilities of the Members of the CWP Steering Committee are:

  • To act as a conduit of information on CPA/CWP matters from Chairperson/Secretariat to women in their Region.
  • To act as an information source for women MPs in their region on CPA/CWP matters, and to personally encourage women Parliamentarians to put their names forward as delegates and participants at CPA events.
  • To encourage consideration of women as Regional Representatives on the CPA Executive Committee when vacancies occur.
  • To brief the incoming Steering Committee Member.
  • To promote the formation of local Branches of the CWP in CPA Branches.
  • To meet before the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference and assess the progress made by the CWP across the Association and to put forward proposals for further action.
The Australia Region CWP Steering Committee also meets four times a year to progress their Action Agenda.

Hon. Michelle O’Byrne MP

Chair and Australian Region Steering Committee Representative

(03) 6324 2022


In 1998, Michelle O’Byrne was elected Federal Member for Bass, increasing her majority in 2001 and serving until 2004. Michelle served as Federal Labor’s Parliamentary Secretary for Communications and was also the national co convener of Emily’s List. Michelle was elected as the State Labor Member for Bass on 18 March, 2006. When first elected, Michelle served as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier. From October, 2006 until February, 2008, Michelle served as Minister for Community Development, Minister assisting the Premier on Local Government and Minister responsible for Sport and Recreation. Michelle’s role as Minister for Community Development enabled her to work in areas such as Aboriginal Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, Seniors Bureau, Youth Affairs and the Disability Bureau. In February, 2008, she was appointed Minister for the Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts and Minister for Sport and Recreation.In September 2008, Michelle was also appointed Minister for Tourism in the new Bartlett Government. Following the 2010 State election, Michelle was given the responsibility of the Health portfolio and after the 2014 State Election, Michelle was elected by her caucus colleagues to be Deputy Leader of the Opposition as well as Shadow Minister for Education, Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation as well as Labor Spokesperson for Workplace Relations.

Giulia Jones MLA

ACT Representative

(02) 6205 0234


Giulia Jones has been a Liberal Party member of the ACT Legislative Assembly since 20 October 2012 representing the electorate of Murrumbidgee. Currently, she is the Shadow Minister for Emergency Services, Corrections and Women, but has held a range of shadow portfolio responsibilities previously. Giulia is also a member of the Standing Committees on Justice and Community Safety; Education Training and Youth Affairs; and Scrutiny of Bills. Prior to her work in parliament, Giulia worked in a range of businesses and public sector organisations, in fields including policy advice, media advice and financial management. Giulia is a particularly passionate member of the community and wants to see better economic success for women and in particular for mothers. Giulia Jones was born in 1980. She is married with five children, and is a passionate member of the community.

Sonya Kilkenny MP

Victoria Representative

(03) 9773 2727


Sonya Kilkenny was first elected as the Member for Carrum in the of the Legislative Assmebly in November 2014. She represents the Australian Labor Party and is currently a member of the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee. Prior to commencing a career within Parliament, Sonya worked across Australia within the legal profession both within the private and public sectors. She is involved in a range of community activities and groups including Emily’s List Victoria, Hong Kong International School Alumni Association, UNSW Alumni Association, Melbourne University Alumni Association, Seaford Surf Lifesaving Club, Friends of Carrum Foreshore, Radio Carrum and Carrum/Patterson Lakes Football Netball club.

Lisa Baker MLA

Western Australia Representative

(08) 9370 3550


Lisa Baker was elected to serve the people of Maylands in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in 2008. Lisa held the portfolio of Opposition spokesperson on Community Mental Health Services. She is also committed to improving the care and protection of animals. Lisa is passionate about working to support the community sector and has worked in a number of social and economic development roles throughout her working life. Issues of concern to her include self-employment, micro financing and small business development, mental health, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and family violence. Lisa has served on many business and community-based organisations, including training, business, local government and the arts. Lisa was the founder of the Women’s Economic Development Organisation and currently sits on the Board of aged care service provider, Bayswater ECHO (Elderly Citizen’s Help Organisation).

Hon. Kezia Purick

Northern Territory Representative

(08) 8999 6556


The Honourable Kezia Purick, former Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Kezia was elected as Speaker unopposed on 23 October 2012 for the 12th Assembly. Kezia has lived in the Territory with her family since 1959 and been a resident of the rural area since 1966. Kezia has been the Member for Goyder since 2008 and has an extensive background in the resource industry. Schooled in Darwin, Kezia completed tertiary studies in Perth.

Sonia Hornery MP

New South Wales Representative

(02) 4950 0955


Sonia grew up in Housing Commission in Edgeworth and Windale, before moving into rented accommodation in Wallsend and West Wallsend. Starting work as a teenager, she’s been a long time member of her union and she studied teaching at the University of Newcastle, before teaching in Walgett, Kempsey and all around the Hunter. She also spent time in the Army Reserves. After leaving teaching, Sonia worked in a variety of positions related to the health field, including Hunter Brain Injury Respite Options. She earned a Bachelor of Arts, with Honours, in History. She was a Councillor on the Newcastle City Council from 2002 until 2008, was elected to represent Wallsend in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011. In 2013, Sonia was elevated to the NSW shadow cabinet as Shadow Minister for the Hunter and Science and Medical Research and has since added the Arts portfolio to her responsibilities. Sonia was again elected in 2015 to represent the Wallsend electorate.

Joan Pease MP

Queensland Representative

(07) 3915 1100


Joan Pease was elected to the Queensland Parliament as the Member for Lytton in January 2015. Joan is currently the Senior Government Whip and has been a member of the Public Works and Utilities Committee, Transportation and Utilities Committee, Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee, Infrastructure, Planning and Safety Committee, Education, Tourism and Small Business Committee and the Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee. Prior to entering parliament Joan built a career in Adult Education in both the corporate and community sector and also ran a small business in the heart of her electorate. She has always been a strong advocate for and volunteer in the community sector. She continues this work improving local health services, protecting the local environment and establishing support programs for victims of domestic violence. She is the patron of the Wynnum Manly Historical Association, the Wynnum Manly Yacht Club, Aid and Recreation for the Disabled, the Bayside Woodturners and Woodcrafters Club and the Bayside Eastern District Orchid Society. Joan is committed to growing a strong, caring, prosperous and healthy community.

Katrine Hildyard MLA

South Australia Representative

(08) 8382 0409


Katrine Hildyard was elected to the House of Assembly in March 2014. Growing up in a single parent family, in the south western suburbs of Adelaide, Katrine understands the values of being part of a caring community and supporting and working with others to make a difference. She is passionate about achieving fairness and opportunity for everyone and believes that sustainable communities are strong, fair and inclusive. Prior to entering parliament, Katrine was the Chief Executive Officer of Together SA – a community organisation that seeks to engage the community to collectively achieve solutions to complex social issues. Community engagement for Katrine includes being a member of the Christies Beach Surf Lifesaving Club and the Morphett Vale and Districts RSL, and volunteering with the Sammy D Foundation, Fred’s Van at Christie Downs and the YWCA. Katrine is also a Director of the Southern Football League and an Ambassador for Welcome to Australia. In recognition of her dedication, Katrine received the 2012 Australia Day Award Women Hold up Half the Sky. Katrine is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Flinders University of South Australia and a Fellow of the Governor’s Leadership Foundation programme.

Ruth Forrest MLC

Tasmania Representative

(03) 6430 8400


Ruth was elected to the Tasmanian Legislative Council in the Parliament of Tasmania in 2005. She has been re-elected in 2011 (un-opposed) and in 2017. In 2017 she was elected to the position of Deputy President and Chair of Committees and has sat on and chaired a number of Parliamentary Committees over these years. Ruth was born in Burnie in 1962. The second of four children of Margaret and Keith Emmerton, she was raised on a dairy, beef and potato growing farm at Riana and has lived on the North West Coast all her life. Ruth attended Riana Area School, Ulverstone High School and Hellyer College. Further details regarding her education history are below. Ruth has four wonderful children, Jane, Alan, Edward and Alyce and sons-in-law Kiran Forrest and Peter Forrest and daughter-in-law Clare Forrest. Ruth worked as a nurse and midwife since commencing her General Nurse training in 1979 in Burnie until elected to the Legislative Council in 2005. Ruth lives in Wynyard and spends a lot of time traveling with her supportive husband and partner Rob Woolley within her electorate, including Circular Head, the West Coast, Wynyard and King Island.

Sharon Claydon MP

Commonwealth of Australia Representative

(02) 4926 1555


Sharon Claydon is the Federal Member for Newcastle. She was first elected in September 2013, becoming just the sixth member for Newcastle since Federation in 1901. Sharon is Deputy Chair of the House of Representatives Social Policy and Legal Affairs Standing Committee and serves on the House Indigenous Affairs Committee and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. She is also Deputy Chair of the Joint Select Committee on the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse – Oversight of redress related recommendations, and serves as a member of the National Apology to Victims and Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse Reference Group. In March 2015, she became a Member of the Speaker’s Panel, deputising for the Speaker in the House of Representatives. As a member of the Federal Labor Caucus, Sharon is the Chair of the Status of Women Committee and the Chair of Labor’s Medicare Taskforce. She is also Co-Convenor of the Parliamentary Friends of Carers and the UN Parliamentary Group. Sharon is a fifth generation Novocastrian with strong connections to her local community. She is an Honours graduate in Anthropology and, before entering Parliament, worked in remote Aboriginal communities and the community-based disability services sector. Sharon also served in local government as a Newcastle City Councillor.