About Senator Chris Back
Dr Chris Back was voted by a joint sitting of the Western Australian Parliament to replace the Hon. Chris Ellison in March 2009, as a Liberal senator representing Western Australia. He commenced his new term in the Senate on 1st July 2011.
Before entering Parliament, his professional career spanned many industries in state, national and international jurisdictions.
Chris graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Queensland and worked predominantly in large animal practice in Western Australia, Victoria and the United States.
He worked in private practice and also lectured at Muresk Institute of Agriculture where he introduced the first equine management course in Australasia. Many of the graduates of this course have become key figures in both the commercial and recreation horse industries across the world.
Following his time at Muresk, Chris became chief executive officer of Rottnest Island where he focussed on developing the island’s failing infrastructure, building the Rottnest experience for visitors and driving an active environmental agenda which has now seen the revegetation of more than one million native plant species on the island.
In 1995 Chris was appointed chief executive officer of the Bush Fires Board of WA– an entity which is now part of FESA. In that role, Chris oversaw the introduction of water bombing aircraft and the upgrading of ageing equipment used by the volunteers, and received the Prime Minister's Gold Award for technological achievement recognising the work undertaken in using satellites to track wildfires in remote locations.
The oil and gas industries became his next challenge where he moved to Tasmania and purchased the retail and distribution businesses of a major oil company. Following this, he assumed a business executive role in SE Asia, India and the Middle East servicing oil majors and military clients and subsequently assisting in the establishment of a multi-national oil & gas services company.
As a senator, Chris is actively involved in two main committees and also as a participating member of several others.
He is currently Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislative committee.
He is the past chairman of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References committee, and actively contributes to the Rural Affairs and Transport committee.
He was a member of the Joint Parliamentary committee on gambling reform and involved in hearings including:
- Review of the Professional Services Review (PSR) Scheme,
- Animal welfare standards in Australia’s live export markets,
- Reform of the Australian Federation,
- The capacity of communication networks and emergency warning systems to deal with emergencies and natural disasters,
- Operational issues in export grain networks,
- Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Amendment (Fair Protection for Firefighters) Bill 2011,
- The shortage of engineering and related employment skills Inquiry , and
- All aspects of higher education and skills training to support future demand in agriculture and agribusiness in Australia.
He was Deputy Whip in the Senate when the Coalition was in opposition.
As a veterinarian Chris has a keen interest in animal welfare and production, is a committed federalist recognising the importance of the States as the foundations of the commonwealth and as the most important tier of government, and believes strongly in promoting free enterprise, individual freedom and support of the family as the cornerstone of our society.
Chris' vision guiding his role as a senator is:
"Towards an Australian community in which every member is safe, feels valued and contributes to a sustainable future."