Marise Ann Payne (born 29 July 1964) is an Australian politician. She is a Liberal Party Senator for the state of New South Wales. Senator Payne was appointed to the Senate on 9 April 1997, and elected in 2001 for a full term, and again in 2007 and 2013. Payne was promoted to cabinet as Australia's first female Minister for Defence, in the Turnbull Government, on 21 September 2015.
Payne was born in Sydney. She attended MLC School, Burwood and then attended the University of New South Wales, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Laws. A member of the Liberal Party since 1982, Payne was the Young Liberal Movement's first female Federal President (from 1989 to 1991) and was NSW State President during 1987 and 1988. She also served for 10 years on the NSW Liberal State Executive. Payne is the partner of New South Wales state Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events, Stuart Ayres.
On 7 March 1997, Senator Bob Woods resigned from the Senate, having earlier cited the need to spend more time with his family. Payne was endorsed by the Liberal Party for the casual vacancy, and assumed office on 9 April 1997.
Payne has been a member of a range of legislative and policy committees in the Australian Parliament, including the Senate Privileges Committee and the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade.
In September 2010 Payne was appointed Shadow Minister for Indigenous Development and Employment, Shadow Minister for COAG and Shadow Minister for Housing by Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. She previously held the positions of Shadow Minister for COAG and Modernising the Federation, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Indigenous Affairs.
Payne was Minister for Human Services in the Abbott Government from 18 September 2013 until 20 September 2015.
After Malcolm Turnbull defeated Tony Abbott in a leadership spill, Payne was elevated to the cabinet and appointed Minister for Defence in the Turnbull Government from 21 September 2015. She is the first female to hold this position.
Minister Payne oversaw the final months of the long anticipated defence white paper, which was released in February 2016.
In April 2016, Payne and Prime Minister Turnbull announced that French firm DCNS had been awarded a $50 billion contract to build a new fleet of submarines for the Australian defence force. The submarine project will be undertaken in Adelaide, rather than in France, generating 2,800 jobs.