Michelle Roberts Donnelly (b. May 19, 1962) was the leader of the United Islands Labour Party from January 2001 until March 2003, when she resigned as leader over claims she had not payed any federal income tax since 1997.
A teacher by profession, Donnelly was elected to the Georgeland House of Commons seat of Goldfield in 1994, replacing minister Brian McCall, who did not recontest his seat. She was second-youngest member of the House of Commons at the time of her election, second only to Campbell Rhodes, who was 13 months younger. Donnelly served on the back bench until the 1999 Labour split, which resulted in Labour losing power and the creation of Rhodes' Liberals. Donnelly, an active member of the Left faction, did not support Rhodes and remained with the Labour Party. She suffered a large swing against her at the second 1999 election but retained her seat.
After the election, Donnelly was made Labour's spokesman on Transport and Regional Services. With fewer MPs, Labour's internal trouble widened rather than narrowed, and the leadership of party leader Jim King was threatened, in part because of Donnelly's internal group, who opposed King on ideological grounds. Donnelly played an instrumental role in King's overthrow in 2000 by Iain Macphee, and became Deputy Leader and spokesman on Foreign Affairs.
In 2001, after Macphee's resignation on health grounds, Donnelly was elected Labour leader unopposed.
Donnelly's leadership was heavily criticised in some sectors for its lacklustre style, and Donnelly's image in the media was that of being slightly befuddled and out-of-her-depth. Her confused answers to questions put to her in TV interviews did little to assist her. At the 2002 election, Labour lost more seats, and brought their total number of MPs and Senators to less than twenty. Donnelly retained her leadership, but in March 2003 resigned after the Globe and Standard reported she had not payed income tax since 1997. Brian Tharpe replaced her and became Labour's last leader.
Donnelly was indicted for tax fraud in August 2003 and was released on bail pending a trial. In January 2004, it was reported that Donnelly had struck a bargain with the tax office, and had repaid more than $46,000 in back taxes and had agreed to forfeit 50% of her total income for three years. Taxation officials dropped the criminal charges against Donnelly on that basis.
Since May 2004, Donnelly has taught political theory and labour history at the University of Capitalia.
Donnelly was the first and only woman to lead the Labour Party.
On February 4, 2008, Donnelly joined Greg Downes, Janet Morris and others in calling for a united Left party, or a Red-Green Alliance.