Dr Kerryn Phelps AM

Councillor, City of Sydney; former President, Australian Medical Association

2020 New South Wales Award Winner

Dr. Kerryn Phelps AM is a doctor, health communicator and public health and human rights advocate. Early in her career she was a pioneer in health communication. She has been the health columnist for the Australian Women’s Weekly for 25 years and has authored six health books including a textbook of general practice. 

As the first female President of the Australian Medical Association, she influenced health policy at State and Federal level, forging a solution to the medical indemnity crisis, enabling changes to medical workforce policy, encouraging the development of the first AMA Indigenous health report card and initiating the AMA’s first health policies on complementary medicine, and on sexuality and gender diversity.

Dr Phelps has been at the forefront of the struggle for LGBTQI equality for two decades, since she and her wife Jackie Stricker-Phelps began the Australian conversation on marriage equality back in 1998.  Marriage equality was finally achieved in December 2017.

In 2018 Dr Phelps won the by-election in the Federal seat of  Wentworth and entered the House of Representatives where she argued for children and their families to be released from Nauru, spearheaded the landmark Medevac Law to rescue critically ill refugees from Manus Island and Nauru, and advocated for action on climate change. Dr Phelps narrowly lost the seat in the Federal election in May 2019. 

Dr Phelps has been a City of Sydney Councillor since 2016 and was Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney from 2016-2017, showing leadership on issues of city governance, inclusiveness, social justice and community wellbeing.