Kristina Keneally

Kristina Keneally

Kristina Keneally is the third [] American-born member of the New South Wales Parliament. In 2003 she was an Australian Labor Party (ALP) candidate elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Heffron, succeeding Deirdre Grusovin. After being re-elected in 2007, she became the Minister for Ageing and Disability Services and was subsequently appointed Minister for Planning by incoming Premier Nathan Rees in September 2008. She held the position of the NSW Government's Spokesperson for World Youth Day in 2008.


Born Kristina Kerscher to an American father and an Australian mother, she was educated at the Notre Dame Academy (Toledo, Ohio), and at the Marianist Catholic University of Dayton (Ohio) where she received her baccalaureate in 1991 and her masters degree in 1994. She also studied at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and briefly at the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield, New South Wales.

Kristina Kerscher met her future husband, the Australian Ben Keneally, at World Youth Day 1991. She emigrated to Australia in 1994 and they married in 1996. [] She became a naturalised Australian in 2000, the same year she joined the ALP.

Political career

Kristina Keneally was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 2003, following a bitter preselection battle with Deirdre Grusovin, the sister of senior Labor politician Laurie Brereton. [ [ Young mum will fight dynasty all the way] "The Sydney Morning Herald", 29 September 2002] In her inaugural speech she talked about her commitment to social justice, equal opportunity for women and her Catholic faith. [ [ Inaugural Speech] , "Legislative Assembly Hansard", 20 May 2003]

She has faced several issues in her local electorate of Heffron since her election, including:

*Supported the removal of hexachlorobenzene (HCB) waste from the Orica chemical plant at Banksmeadow
*Supported plans to build ramps from Southern Cross Drive to Garderners Road at Eastlakes
*Criticised plans to build a shopping mall at Sydney Airport
*Supported the NSW government's proposal to expand Port Botany. [ ['create+Havoc' Mall Would 'create Havoc'] "Southern Courier", 7 November 2006]

Personal life

She and her husband have two sons, Daniel and Brendan. A daughter, Caroline, died at birth. Her husband is the nephew of famous Australian novelist Thomas Keneally.


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