Janelle Saffin is a lawyer, politician and educator. Janelle Saffin has previously lectured and published on constitutional law within Burma/Myanmar. She is the Honorary Adviser on Burma for the State of the Tropics project at James Cook University.
She is the Chair of the Australian Labor Party’s International Party Development Committee and a former chair of the Australia–Myanmar Parliamentary Group. She co-founded the website Gateway to Burma and has helped hundreds of Burmese refugees relocate worldwide. An active member of the Burma Lawyers Council, advisor to key organisations, including the United Nationalities Federal Council, she has extensive experience and expertise in legal and constitutional matters regarding Burma. Janelle founded and chaired the Australia-Myanmar Parliament Group, hosting events for Myanmar’s Parliament. She has worked with all Burmese organisations and notably the National League for Democracy (NLD) led by Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. She is patron of the newly formed Myanmar Constitutional Reform Project led by the University of Sydney and patron of the Australia-Myanmar Chamber of Commerce.
Working for United Nations Development Programme, she was Special Adviser in a critical period to H.E Mr. Sukehiro Hasegawa, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Timor-Leste. Between 2004 and 2007, she served as Principal Policy Advisor (Political and Legal) to President, Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs & Cooperation, and Minister for Defence H.E. Jose Ramos-Horta.
From November 2007 until September 2013, Janelle represented the federal electorate of Page for the Australian Labor Party, and previously served as a Labor member of the New South Wales Legislative Council from 1995 to 2003. In the Australian Federal Parliament, Janelle is a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and Chair of its Trade sub-committee. She has served for three years as Chair of the powerful Federal Parliament’s Joint Houses Public Works Committee and as a member of the Parliament’s House of Representatives Selection Committee. Janelle was a member of the Petitions Committee and has also served as Government Whip.
Janelle was made an Honorary Fellow of Southern Cross University in 2014 after 16 years serving on the University Council.