The recurring theme in Michelle O’Byrne’s adult life has been that of helping working-class people and those less fortunate in the community.
Michelle began her working life as an organiser for the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union. She managed a job skills program for long-term unemployed people for three years and, in 1996, she began working as an electorate officer to Senator Kerry O’Brien.
In 1998, Michelle 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 closely with her portfolio areas of Aboriginal Affairs, Multicultural Affairs, Seniors Bureau, Youth Affairs, Disability Bureau and Women Tas on issues that are close to her. Michelle’s vision is for a Tasmania that embraces everybody, irrespective of their circumstances, background or culture. 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.
She lists former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and former Victorian Premier Joan Kirner as having profound influences on her social and political values.Michelle is married and has two children.