Dr Sam McMahon: From veterinarian to Northern Territories Senator

24 Sep 2019

In her inaugural speech to Parliament, Dr Sam McMahon, highlighted the importance of the Australian Veterinarian Association (AVA) in her journey from young rural veterinarian to Northern Territory Senator.

“The Australian Veterinary Association had a big role to play in my being here today,” Senator McMahon told Parliament on September 18th. “It took me from being a young, raw, NT rural vet to being a leader in the profession, giving me confidence and self-belief along the way.”

The AVA is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.

In her speech, Dr McMahon encouraged everyone - particularly young people - to get involved in professional or community organisations like the AVA. “You will put in pebbles and sand and get back diamonds and pearls. Thank you to my local [AVA] branch, you believed in me and supported me all the way through,” she said.

Dr McMahon was elected to the North Territory Parliament in March after claiming retiring Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion's seat. The Country Liberals party member ran on a platform of sound economic and environmental management for the region.

It has been over 30-years since Dr McMahon opened her first veterinary practice in the North Territory, and she has since has owned and operated practices across the region, including in Katherine, Howard Springs, Nhulunbuy, Tennant Creek and Alice Springs.

Dr McMahon has received a number of awards and accolades for her business ventures, including winning both the Telstra Small Business and Telstra Business Women’s Awards for the North Territory, the Centenary Medal for business leadership, the Rural Women's Award, Alice Springs Customer Service Awards and the AVA’s own Meritorious Service Award.

As a leader in the veterinary profession, Dr McMahon served as a National Director of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) for five years and has also held the position of President for both the NT division of the AVA and the Australian Cattle Veterinarians and Policy Advisory Council.