Fremantle MP shares life as a UN lawyer at Notre Dame

Professor Doug Hodgson, Melissa Parke MP
and Dr Lara Pratt at the Eminent Speakers Series

10 August 2015

The Federal Member for Fremantle, Melissa Parke MP, shared her experiences working in war-ravaged Kosovo and the Middle East during her time as a United Nations lawyer to guests at the Eminent Speakers Series, hosted by The University of Notre Dame Australia's School of Law, Fremantle.

Speaking to a capacity crowd in the Michael Keating Room, Ms Parke took the Notre Dame community on a journey from university education to her appointment as a lawyer for the UN and how she ended up as a Member of the House of Representatives in Federal Parliament.

She recalled working with intermittent electricity in Kosovo and having her days punctuated by the sound of bombs exploding on nearby streets in Lebanon. Ms Parke's experience in Gaza was equally as harrowing.

With a core focus on social justice and supporting those who became displaced due to war, Ms Parke said that she was proud to have made a difference to the lives of those in most need. In doing so, she called for a more humane treatment of asylum seekers and refugees not only in Australia, but across the world.

At the conclusion of her speech, Ms Parke left students in the audience with a few life pointers. She encouraged students to continually acquire knowledge in order for them to contribute meaningfully to their vocations, as well as seeking volunteer opportunities.

"The School of Law was delighted to have Melissa Parke share the significant moments in her life as a lawyer and politician at its Eminent Speakers Series. She provided a wonderful overview for the qualities all lawyers should possess, and those which we hope to develop in our Law students," Professor Doug Hodgson, Dean of the School of Law, Fremantle, said.

The Eminent Speakers Series features lectures by recognised experts speaking on contemporary legal and professional matters. The Series' aim is to enhance intellectual engagement and provide networking opportunities for students with leading members of the legal profession.

The Honourable Chief Justice Wayne Martin AC spoke at the inaugural event in 2015, and since then speakers have included The Honourable Mathias Cormann, Judge Denis Reynolds, The Honourable Justice Janine Pritchard, The Honourable Justice Robert Mitchell, Ros Fogliani and Notre Dame alumnus, Matthew Keogh.

For more information about courses or events at Notre Dame's School of Law, Fremantle, please visit

Leigh Dawson: Tel (08) 9433 0569; Mob 0405 441 093;