8 September 2023
Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Marise Payne will depart the Australian Senate having created history and made a powerful contribution of lasting benefit to Australia.
A Liberal Senator for New South Wales since 9 April 1997, Marise is the longest serving woman in the history of the Senate and the 21st longest serving senator in Australian history.
In September 2015 Marise became the first woman to be appointed as Australia’s Minister for Defence, prior to being appointed in August 2018 as the second woman to serve as Minister for Foreign Affairs.
The contribution made by Marise Payne stretches far beyond the significant offices she has held.
Through tumultuous times Marise led Australia’s international engagement, including the regional support necessitated by COVID-19, the coordinated international response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the repatriation of thousands from Afghanistan.
As foreign minister Marise also oversaw reform of Australia’s international sanctions regime via the adoption of Magnitsky-style sanctions, the opening of six new Australian missions as just one part of the Pacific Step-Up and the strengthening of our national security through the elevation of the Quad and establishment of AUKUS.
Marise successfully leveraged Australia’s international standing to further increase our global influence by running successful campaigns of Australian candidates for key international positions with the OECD, Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation.
While Minister for Defence Marise oversaw the finalisation of the 2016 Defence White Paper, elevation of the defence budget to two per cent of GDP, vast new investment in defence capability and the development of stronger counter-terrorism responsiveness across the Australian Defence Force.
A striking feature of Marise’s long connection to our defence force, both as minister and also through many years of Senate committee service, was the extraordinarily high regard that Marise was held in by service personnel across Australia. Just as she respected their service, they too respected her willingness to listen, care and engage with them.
As Minister for Women Marise worked to deliver new initiatives to counter family and domestic violence, address critical areas of women’s health and advance the leadership role of women in Australia.
Marise has, right from her days as the first ever woman to be elected as federal president of the Young Liberal Movement in 1989, shown a grit and determination to push through barriers while applying a sharp intellect but never losing a caring and considerate instinct for all around her.
Personally, I could not have asked for a better friend or more trustworthy confidante throughout my Senate career. Again and again Marise has shown her respect for the institution of the Senate, the primacy of the parliament and the unique role of each parliamentarian.
Against the realpolitik we all work within Marise has held true to her values and beliefs, fought tirelessly for the people of New South Wales, in particular western Sydney, and been a passionate Liberal, both philosophically and politically.
The high regard Marise enjoys internationally is exemplified in her recent nomination by the United States to act as ships sponsor for the USS Canberra, which was the first US Navy Ship ever commissioned overseas.
While we farewell Marise from the Australian Senate I look forward to her continued work for Australia, contribution to global peace and prosperity, along with a much-valued lifelong friendship.