Patron of SPA from 2007
Carmen Mary Lawrence was born on 2 March 1948 at Northam in Western Australia. She spent her childhood in the wheatbelt town of Gutha and was educated at the Dominican Ladies College in Dongara and Marian Convent in Morawa before completing her high school education at Santa Maria College in Attadale.
After training as a research psychologist at the University of Western Australia and lecturing in a number of Australian universities, Dr Lawrence entered politics in 1986, serving at both State and Federal levels for 21 years. She was at various times W.A Minister for Education and Aboriginal affairs and was the first woman Premier and Treasurer of a State government. She shifted to Federal politics in 1994 when she was elected as the Member for Fremantle and was appointed Minister for Health and Human Services and Minister assisting the Prime Minister on the Status of Women. She has held various portfolios in Opposition, including Indigenous Affairs, Environment, Industry and Innovation and was elected national President of the Labor Party in 2004.
Dr Lawrence retired from politics in 2007. She is now a Professorial Fellow at the University of Western Australia where she is working to establish a centre to research the forces driving significant social change in key areas of contemporary challenge as well as exploring our reactions to that change.