Born in Malaysia, Penny’s family moved to Australia when she was eight years old, settling in Adelaide.
Armed with a Law and Arts degree, from the University of Adelaide, Penny’s advocating spirit was instilled well before entering politics, serving as both a Union lawyer and then ministerial advisor within the NSW Labor Government.
In 2001, Penny was elected to the Senate and three years later, joined the Labor Shadow Ministry. Following the election in 2007, Penny stepped into her first governing role as Federal Minister for Climate Change and Water.
The years that followed have seen Penny accept various appointments including Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Leader of the Government in the Senate and Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
Penny is, proudly, the first woman to hold both highly-acclaimed leadership positions.
Previously holding the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs portfolio, now in government holding the same Ministry Portfolio, and an active member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence Security, Penny’s experience, insight and core beliefs are having a growing influence upon worker’s rights, climate protection and the LGBTQI community, globally.
Penny lives in Adelaide with her partner and two daughters, where she continues to fight for the state she calls home.