Sonja Terpstra MP
State Labor Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region
I entered politics after being elected in the 2018 State election. I had not previously worked for an MP before my election. I have extensive experience in community campaigning and standing up for the rights of working people having worked in the union movement for most of my adult life.
I grew up in NSW and attended public schools in the southern Suburbs of Sydney. Deciding to leave school in Year 10, I studied at TAFE to ascertain skills that would help me find employment. Initially I learned to type by attending the local TAFE college at night whilst completing my year 10 studies, and further attained a range of skills that helped me gain employment in a clerical and secretarial capacity. TAFE opened so many doors for me and it is great privilege to have been Victoria’s TAFE Ambassador since August 2021.
Working for unions, initially in a secretarial role I then transitioned into representational roles within the union movement. I have worked as a union organiser, women’s officer, industrial officer, assistant and branch secretary. I have represented workers at the bargaining table, in Industrial tribunals and local magistrates courts. I completed an undergraduate degree in Law from the University of Technology Sydney graduating in 1997. When my children were young, I completed a Masters degree in Law and Conflict Resolution from La Trobe University.
A strident and strong advocate for equity of access in Public Education, I have prioritised visiting and serving the interests of public schools in my region. I am also keenly interested to see young school leavers connect with employment outcomes when they leave school and believes that VET, VCAL and vocational education and training provide excellent pathways to good employment outcomes for young school leavers, where many job opportunities exist today.
I am also the Chair of the Legislative Council’s Environment and Planning Committee, which is responsible for inquiring into and reporting on any proposal, matter or thing concerned with the arts, environment, and planning the development, protection and use of land. You can find out more about current inquiries here.