Martine Brunschwig Graf was born in Freiburg in 1950 and trained as a statistical economist. Since 1975, she has been editor of the Swiss Association of Bank Employees in Bern.

She joined the Society for the development of the Swiss economy in 1978 and became head at its base in French-speaking Switzerland in 1991. She chaired the Geneva liberal party from 1988 to 1990, and sat in the cantonal parliament from 1989 to 1993.

In 1993, she was elected to the Geneva local government, which she chaired in 1999 and 2005. Within the government college, she was responsible for the Department of Public Education and then the Department of Finance. In October 2003, she was elected to the Federal Parliament as National Councillor and joined the Science, Education and Culture Committee, then the Finance and External Affairs Committee.

As vice-president of the PLR group from 2007, she sat in the federal parliament until 2011. Since 2006, she has chaired the Office of the Amiable Compositeur and other associations and foundations, including the Association for the Prevention of Torture. She has been a member of the Board of Allianz Suisse since 2011.

She has chaired the Federal Commission against Racism since 2012.