Anne was born in Latrobe, and raised in nearby Ulverstone and Gawler. She has been married to Graham for over four decades and they have two children and four grandchildren.
Anne began her full time working life in the late 1970’s at Simplot, a vegetable processing factory in Ulverstone. She became a member of the Union movement in 1979 when she joined the Food Preservers Union, which later became the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. One of the first battles Anne faced as a Union Official was gaining credibility amongst a predominantly male workforce who were not used to rallying behind a woman.
In 2004, Anne was elected to the position of State Secretary of the AMWU, the first female State Secretary in Australia and relocated to Hobart fill the position. After 28 years of representing workers in the fight for fairer pay and conditions, Anne was sworn into the Senate on 1 July 2011 where she continues her stand against discrimination and inequality.
In October 2013 Anne was elected to the position of Deputy Opposition Whip in the Australian Senate. Following the double dissolution election in July 2016, at the commencement of the 45th Parliament in August 2016 Anne was elected to Chief Opposition Whip in the Australian Senate, and continued in this role for the 46th parliament.
Anne was re-elected to the Senate at the federal election in May 2022, and was subsequently elected in the 47th parliament to the position of Chief Government Whip in the Senate.
She is a current member of the Senate Standing Committee on Senators Interests, the Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs, the Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Senate Standing Committee of Privileges, the Senate Standing Committee on Procedure and the Senate Standing Committee for Selection of Bills.
Anne has previously been a member of the Environment & Communications References Committee which she chaired from 2013 to 2016 and was also a member of the Community Affairs References Committee. Prior to that she was a member of the Public Works committee, the NBN joint select committee, the National Disability Insurance Committee, the Select Committee on Wind Turbines and the Select Committee on Tobacco Harm reduction.