Anne Webster

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Dr Anne Webster

Member of the Australian Parliament for Mallee
Assumed office
18 May 2019
Preceded byAndrew Broad
Personal details
Born
Anne Elizabeth Smithers[1]

(1959-05-19) 19 May 1959 (age 61)
Strathfield, New South Wales, Australia[2]
Political partyNational
Spouse(s)Philip Webster[1]
Alma materLa Trobe University
Australian National University
OccupationSocial worker

Anne Elizabeth Webster (née Smithers; born 19 May 1959)[3] is an Australian politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives since the 2019 federal election. She is a member of the National Party and represents the Division of Mallee in Victoria. She was a social worker and non-profit executive before entering parliament.

Career[edit]

Webster studied sociology and history at La Trobe University, followed by a Bachelor of Social Work with honours.[4] She also holds the diploma of Associate in Music, Australia, and taught music for a number of years, as well as working as a professional seamstress and image consultant.[2] In 2018, she completed a Ph.D. at the Australian National University (ANU) with a doctoral thesis on adoption.[5]

Before entering politics, Webster was a social worker in Mildura. She was elected to the board of the Mallee Accommodation and Support Program (MASP) in 2005, and served as chair for a period.[6] In 2011, Webster became the founding executive director of Zoe Support, an organisation assisting young mothers with education.[7] She was named "Citizen of the Year" by the Mildura Rural City Council in 2019 for her work with the organisation.[8]

Politics[edit]

In January 2019, Webster won National Party preselection for the Division of Mallee, replacing the retiring MP Andrew Broad. She defeated five other candidates over three rounds of voting. She had earlier stood for preselection in Mallee prior to the 2013 federal election, but lost to Broad.[7]

Webster retained Mallee for the Nationals at the 2019 federal election with a small negative swing on the two-party-preferred count. The party's primary vote halved from 56 percent to 28 percent, with large swings to the Liberal Party, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, and independents.[9]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2020, Webster was awarded $350,000 in damages following a defamation suit against Karen Brewer, a conspiracy theorist who alleged on social media that Webster and her husband were "participants in a secretive criminal network involved in child sexual abuse". Her husband and the non-profit organisation they co-founded were awarded similar amounts.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "First Speech: Dr Anne Webster MP". Parliament of Australia. 1 August 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Dr Anne Webster MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  3. ^ "Labour Candidate Carole Hart Says Nats May Not Claim Seat". 1089 3WM. Retrieved 13 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Anne Webster preselected as the Nationals candidate for Mallee". National Party of Australia. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Six Nationals candidates vie to replace Andrew Broad in Mallee seat". The Guardian Australia. 5 January 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Webster's Mallee bid: Latest federal candidate says she's an agent for change". Sunraysia Daily. 15 March 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Anne Webster wins Mallee preselection". The Australian. 19 January 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  8. ^ "Anne Webster Mildura Citizen of the Year". Mildura Independent. 27 January 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  9. ^ "Mallee". ABC News. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  10. ^ Testa, Christopher (22 September 2020). "Conspiracy theorist ordered to pay $875,000 for online posts about Nationals MP Anne Webster". ABC News. Retrieved 22 September 2020.