Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

Skip to content


  • Putting Skirts on the Sacred Benches: Women Candidates for the New South Wales Parliament
  • The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia

Use Trove to find more resources by/about this Woman

  • Trove

Keneally, Kristina Kerscher (1968 - )

19 December 1968
Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Premier, Social worker, Teacher and Politician


Active in student, religious and union affairs since 1990, Kristina Keneally was the first American born member of the N.S.W. Parliament. In 2003 she was an ALP candidate elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Heffron.

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 2008.

On 3 December 2009 the Australian Labor Party caucus elected Keneally to replace Nathan Rees as leader of the parliamentary party. She was sworn in as Premier on 4 December, 2010. She led the Labor Government to defeat at the 2011 election and was replaced as Leader of the ALP by John Robertson in March 2011. She resigned from the Parliament on 29 June 2012.


Kristina Keneally was born and educated in USA, at Notre Dame Academy, Toledo, Ohio, the University of Dayton, Ohio (B.A.(Hons) 1991; M.A. (Hons) 1995), and Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She also studied at Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, N.S.W. Kristina Keneally emigrated to Australia 1994, and became a naturalised Australian in 2000, when she also joined the ALP.

She was a member of the Teamsters Union, and the Australian Services Union and was President of National Association of Students at Catholic Colleges and Universities 1990-91.

She married Ben Keneally in 1996, and they have two sons, and a daughter (deceased).

Sources used to compile this entry: Snow, Deborah and Davies, Anne, 'Brawler who never played like a girl', Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax, December 4, 2009,; (accessed 11 November 2004); (accessed 11 November 2004); (accessed 11 November 2004); Information from Kristina Keneally, M.P., dated December 2004.

Annette Alafaci

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

© Copyright in The Australian Women's Register is owned by the Australian Women's Archives Project
and vested in each of the authors in respect of their contributions from 2000

The Australian Women's Register is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License

The Australian Women's Register is published quarterly by the Australian Women's Archives Project
ISSN 2207-3124