Melissa Price (politician)

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Melissa Price
Melissa Price MP.jpg
Minister for Science and Technology
In office
8 October 2021 – 23 May 2022
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byChristian Porter
Succeeded byEd Husic
Minister for Defence Industry
In office
26 May 2019 – 23 May 2022
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
MinisterLinda Reynolds
Peter Dutton
Preceded byLinda Reynolds
Succeeded byPat Conroy
Minister for the Environment
In office
28 August 2018 – 26 May 2019
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byJosh Frydenberg (Environment and Energy)
Succeeded bySussan Ley
Assistant Minister for the Environment
In office
20 December 2017 (2017-12-20) – 27 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
MinisterJosh Frydenberg
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byOffice abolished
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Durack
Assumed office
7 September 2013
Preceded byBarry Haase
Personal details
Melissa Lee Dellar

(1963-12-12) 12 December 1963 (age 58)
Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Colyn Price (d. 2002)
Residence(s)Geraldton, Western Australia, Western Australia
Alma mater

Melissa Lee Price (née Dellar; born 12 December 1963) is an Australian politician who served as Minister for Defence Industry from 2019 to 2022 and as Minister for Science and Technology from 2021 to 2022 in the Morrison Government. She has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2013, representing the Division of Durack in Western Australia.[1] A member of the Liberal Party, she previously served as Minister for the Environment (2018–2019) and Assistant Minister for the Environment (2017–2018).

Early life[edit]

Price was born on 12 December 1963 in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.[2] She is the youngest of four children born to Lyn (née Blurton) and Ray Dellar, who worked in the mining industry. Her father campaigned for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) and her grandfather David Dellar and uncle Stan Dellar both represented the ALP in the Western Australian Legislative Council.[3]

Price was educated in Kalgoorlie at St Mary's Catholic Primary School and Prendiville Catholic Girls College. She left school at the age of 15. In her maiden speech to parliament, she stated that she "enjoyed working in the hospitality and insurance industries, and also in management in the fast food industry, the grains industry and the mining industry [...] I was even an aerobics instructor at one point in my history".[3] Price attended university as a mature-age student, graduating with the degree of Bachelor of Laws from London South Bank University and completing a graduate diploma in law at the University of Western Australia.[2]

Price was a solicitor in private practice from 1997 to 2002. She subsequently worked at grain cooperative CBH Group as general counsel and business development manager until 2008, and then at iron ore miner Crosslands Resources as vice-president of legal and business development until 2012. Price was also a non-executive director of the Cancer Council of Western Australia and the BrightSpark Foundation until 2016.[2]


Price unsuccessfully contested the state seat of Kalgoorlie at the March 2013 state election.[4] In July 2013 she won Liberal preselection for the federal seat of Durack, following the retirement of the incumbent MP Barry Haase.[5] She retained Durack for the Liberals at the September 2013 federal election, with the Nationals candidate Shane van Styn finishing second on the two-candidate-preferred count.[6]

Price served on the speaker's panel from 2015 to 2016 and was chair of the House of Representatives standing committee on indigenous affairs from 2016 to 2017.[2] She was re-elected at the 2016 federal election, despite being challenged for Liberal preselection by geologist and global warming denier David Archibald.[7]

Price is a member of the centre-right faction of the Liberal Party.[8]

Government minister[edit]

In December 2017, Price was appointed Assistant Minister for the Environment in the Turnbull Government, under environment minister Josh Frydenberg.[9] During the 2018 Liberal leadership spills, she reportedly voted for incumbent prime minister Malcolm Turnbull against Peter Dutton in the first vote.[10] She told the Australian Financial Review that "a change of leader would be political suicide".[11] Following Turnbull's withdrawal, she voted for Scott Morrison against Dutton in a second vote days later.[12] Price was subsequently appointed Minister for the Environment in the Morrison Government and elevated to cabinet.[2]

As environment minister, Price attended the 2018 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. The Australian reported that she had met with state environment ministers prior to the conference and proposed a strategy that "would put the onus on the states to lead environmental policy", but that she "failed to secure agreement on a national action plan on climate change yesterday after the states rejected the wording".[13] In March 2019, Price attributed bushfires in Western Australia and Victoria to climate change. In the lead-up to the 2019 federal election, she was "front and centre of Scott Morrison's push to highlight his government’s environmental records and policies including a $3.3bn Climate Solutions Fund and a commitment to Snowy Hydro 2.0".[14]

In April 2019, Price gave ministerial approval to an environmental management plan for the Adani Group's controversial Carmichael coal mine in Queensland.[15] Her final approval came several days after she was advised by her department to approve the plan, delayed in order to seek further detail about the mine's impact on groundwater. As a result "a delegation of Queensland MPs and the Prime Minister met over concerns that Ms Price was refusing to sign off on the plan in the face of intense lobbying by federal Liberal MPs in Victoria".[16] A few days later, Price gave ministerial approval to the Yeelirrie uranium mine in Western Australia. She had previously stated that she would wait for the outcome of a Supreme Court of Western Australia case on state government approval of the mine before granting her own approval.[17]

Following the Coalition's re-election at the 2019 federal election, Price was removed from cabinet but retained in the outer ministry as Minister for Defence Industry.[2] This was widely reported as a demotion,[18] with the Australian Financial Review stating that she had been "unable to comfortably answer media questions about her portfolio".[19] In her first speech in the portfolio, delivered to an Australian Industry Group meeting, she stated that she wanted to "maximise the involvement and success of Australian SMEs" in the defence industry.[20] In March 2021, Morrison reappointed Price to cabinet, seeking to increase the proportion of women in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations.[21] She was appointed to the Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise Governance Committee, a subcommittee of the National Security Committee.[22] Price served in these roles until May 2022, following the appointment of the Albanese ministry.


Price caused controversy in her role as Environment Minister by allegedly telling Anote Tong, the former president of Kiribati and climate change advocate, "I know why you're here. It is for the cash. For the Pacific it's always about the cash. I have my chequebook here. How much do you want?"[23]

Personal life[edit]

Price's husband Colyn died in 2002 of melanoma. The couple had one daughter, Rhiannon, who died in 2013 at the age of 18.[24][25] As of 2015 Price was in a relationship with Brad Bell, a quantity surveyor, who has two children from a prior marriage.[24]

As of 2019 Price lived in Geraldton, having "recently moved" after previously living outside of her electorate in the Perth suburb of Marmion.[26]


  1. ^ "Melissa Price". Liberal Party of Australia. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Hon Melissa Price MP". Senators and Members of the Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2021.
  3. ^ a b "First speech". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  4. ^ "The Liberal Party has pre selected Melissa Price as its candidate for the WA seat of Durack". ABC. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  5. ^ Cattle, Tyson (20 July 2013). "Lawyer gets Liberal nod". Farm Weekly. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  6. ^ Collins, Ben (9 September 2013). "Clash of the conservatives in Durack". ABC Local. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  7. ^ Neuweiler, Sebastian (1 April 2016). "Lib challenger courts controversy". The Geraldton Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  8. ^ Massola, James. "Who's who in the Liberals' left, right and centre factions?". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  9. ^ Turnbull, Malcolm (19 December 2017). "Ministerial Arrangements" (Press release). Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. Melissa Price joins the Ministry as Assistant Minister for the Environment. She will work closely with Minister for Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg and is tasked with developing and implementing the Government’s policies on issues as broad as climate change, Landcare and the protection of the Great Barrier Reef.
  10. ^ "Malcolm Turnbull v Peter Dutton: Who voted for whom? The full list". The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 August 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  11. ^ Patrick, Aaron (22 August 2018). "Malcolm Turnbull's leadership spill: Thirty minutes that shook the Liberal Party". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  12. ^ "How the party members voted in the Liberal leadership contest". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 August 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  13. ^ Ferguson, Richard (7 December 2018). "Environment Minister Melissa Price fails to get states' support on climate change action plan". The Australian. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  14. ^ Ferguson, Richard (5 March 2019). "Melissa Price links Victoria bushfires to climate change". The Australian. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  15. ^ Coorey, Phillip; Ludlow, Mark (9 April 2019). "Adani approved by Morrison government". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  16. ^ Ferguson, Richard; Kelly, Joe (5 April 2019). "Coalition divided over Adani mine approval". The Australian. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  17. ^ Evans, Nick (26 April 2019). "Coalition go-ahead for giant uranium mine". The Australian. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  18. ^ Scarr, Lanai (22 May 2019). "WA Liberal Melissa Price set to be demoted from Federal Cabinet". The West Australian. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  19. ^ Livingston, Angus. "Scott Morrison announces his cabinet". Australian Financial Reviewdate=26 May 2019. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  20. ^ Greene, Andrew (25 June 2019). "Melissa Price dubs herself the 'deliverer' as she takes over Christopher Pyne's defence portfolio". ABC News. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  21. ^ Worthington, Brett (29 March 2021). "Scott Morrison moves Christian Porter, Linda Reynolds and Peter Dutton in Cabinet reshuffle". ABC News. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  22. ^ Greene, Andrew (22 March 2021). "Shake-up of naval shipbuilding as concerns grow over future submarines, frigates". ABC News. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  23. ^ Crowe, David (17 October 2018). "'For the Pacific it's always about cash': Environment Minister in diplomatic incident over climate change". WAtoday. Retrieved 19 October 2018.
  24. ^ a b Kirkbright, Anita (3 July 2015). "Theatre of politics has a class act". The Geraldton Guardian. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  25. ^ Spagnolo, Joe (20 July 2013). "Melissa Price's emotional election mission in honour of her late daughter". PerthNow. Retrieved 19 April 2021.
  26. ^ Titelius, Regina (12 May 2019). "50 WA pollies contesting seats out of electorate". The West Australian. Retrieved 19 April 2021.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Science and Technology
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Defence Industry
Succeeded by
Preceded byas Minister for the Environment and Energy Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
New ministerial post Assistant Minister for the Environment
Succeeded by
as Minister for the Environment
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Durack