Michelle Rowland

Michelle Anne Rowland (born 16 November 1971) is an Australian politician. She is a member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and has represented the Division of Greenway in the House of Representatives since 2010. She has been a member of the shadow ministry since 2013.

Michelle Rowland

Rowland in 2020
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Greenway
Assumed office
21 August 2010
Preceded byLouise Markus
Deputy Mayor of Blacktown
In office
September 2007  13 September 2008
MayorLeo Kelly
Preceded byEdmond Atalla
Succeeded byAlan Pendleton
Councillor of Blacktown City Council
for Second Ward
In office
23 March 2004  13 September 2008
Personal details
Born (1971-11-16) 16 November 1971
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party (NSW Branch)
Spouse(s)Michael Chaaya
Alma materUniversity of Sydney

Early years and background

Rowland was born in Blacktown, New South Wales.[1] Her mother is Fijian, but she does not hold dual citizenship as the Fijian constitution at the time did not allow for citizenship to pass through the maternal line.[2] She was raised in Seven Hills. She was educated at Our Lady of Mercy College, Parramatta and the University of Sydney. Rowland was a senior telecommunications lawyer with law firm Gilbert + Tobin in Sydney. She lives in the electorate at Glenwood. Rowland was a Director of the Western Sydney Area Health Service from 2000 to 2004 and is a former local councillor (Ward 2, 2004–2008) and deputy mayor of Blacktown (2007–2008).[1][3]

Federal politics

At the 2010 Australian federal election, Rowland won the Australian House of Representatives seat of Greenway for Labor, following the 2009 electoral distribution which had made Greenway notionally Labor, on a margin of 5.7%.[4][5] The seat was previously held by Liberal Louise Markus, who contested the more marginal seat of Macquarie at the 2010 federal election. Rowland was re-elected to the seat at the 2013 federal election with an increased majority, and was also subsequently appointed to the Labor opposition's frontbench as Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications as well as Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism. In October 2015, Rowland was elevated to Shadow Minister for Small Business as well as continuing as Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism.[6]

In the lead-up to the 2013 federal election, campaign opinion polls had shown that she would lose Greenway, but her subsequent victory was helped during the campaign by the blunder of her Liberal opponent Jaymes Diaz in not stating clearly the Coalition's policy on asylum seekers.

Shadow minister

Following the ALP's defeat at the 2013 election, Rowland was appointed to Bill Shorten's shadow ministry. She has held the portfolios of Shadow Assistant Minister for Communications (2013–2015), Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Multiculturalism (2013–2016), Shadow Minister for Small Business (2015–2016), and Shadow Minister for Communications (2016–2019). She was elevated to the shadow cabinet in 2016 and maintained her place following Anthony Albanese's election as party leader in 2019.[1]

Political positions

In 2012, Rowland was one of 98 MPs that voted against a bill for same-sex marriage, but supported its introduction from 2016.[7][8] Despite the 2017 Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey returning a 53.6% no vote for the electorate of Greenway, in line with her longstanding position and the overall success of the Yes vote, Rowland voted for the bill that enacted same-sex marriage in Australia, declaring: "Personally, a conversation I had with a mother in Seven Hills provided me with an important perspective. Her son is on active service in the Australian navy and he wants to marry his partner. This man is putting his life on the line in service to Australia. Who am I, and who is any person, to say that this man should not be entitled to marry the person he loves?".[9]


  1. "Ms Michelle Rowland MP". Biography. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  2. "Dual citizenship: Which politicians still have questions to answer in this constitutional mess?". ABC News. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 3 May 2020.
  3. "Councillors". Blacktown City Council. Archived from the original on 9 October 2007. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. "Greenway and Lindsay still anyone's". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 22 August 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  5. Green, Antony (22 August 2010). "Australia Votes 2010 – Greenway". ABC Elections. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 August 2010.
  6. Grattan, Michelle (13 October 2015). "Labor reshuffle boosts women in shadow cabinet". The Conversation. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  7. Cullen, Simon (19 September 2012). "Lower House votes down same-sex marriage bill". ABC News. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  8. Vesey, Harrison (14 October 2016). "Greenway MP Michelle Rowland supports marriage equality". Blacktown Sun. Archived from the original on 10 February 2017. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  9. McGowan, Michael (15 November 2017). "Dastyari: high number of no votes in Labor seats shows 'huge disconnect'". The Guardian Australia. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
Civic offices
Preceded by
Edmond Atalla
Deputy Mayor of Blacktown
Succeeded by
Alan Pendleton
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Louise Markus
Member for Greenway
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