David Gillespie (politician)

David Arthur Gillespie (born 20 December 1957) is an Australian politician and gastroenterologist. He has been a Nationals member of the House of Representatives since 2013, representing the Division of Lyne in New South Wales. He served as an assistant minister in the Turnbull Government from 2016 to 2018, serving as Assistant Minister for Rural Health (2016–2017), Assistant Minister for Health (2017) and Assistant Minister for Children and Families (2017–2018).[1]

Dr David Gillespie

Gillespie in 2017
Assistant Minister for Children and Families
In office
20 December 2017  28 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byNew ministerial post
Succeeded byMichelle Landry
Assistant Minister for Health
In office
24 January 2017  20 December 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byHimself
(as Assistant Minister for Rural Health)
Succeeded byBridget McKenzie (as the Minister for Rural Health)
Assistant Minister for Rural Health
In office
19 July 2016  24 January 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byFiona Nash
(as Minister for Rural Health)
Succeeded byHimself
(as Assistant Minister for Health)
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Lyne
Assumed office
7 September 2013
Preceded byRob Oakeshott
Personal details
David Arthur Gillespie

(1957-12-20) 20 December 1957
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Political partyThe Nationals
Spouse(s)Charlotte Gillespie
Alma materUniversity of Sydney
WebsiteOfficial website

Early life

Gillespie was born in Canberra and educated at Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview. He was a gastroenterologist for twenty years and, up until the 2013 election, was the director of physician training at Port Macquarie Base Hospital.[2]


Gillespie contested the seat of Lyne for the first time in 2010. While he lost to the incumbent, National-turned-independent Rob Oakeshott, the Nationals picked up an 11-point swing. Following Oakeshott's retirement at the 2013 federal election, Gillespie contested the seat again and won it resoundingly. During Oakeshott's tenure, Lyne remained a comfortably safe National seat in a traditional two-party matchup with Labor, so it had been expected that the seat would revert to the Nationals once Oakeshott retired.[3]

Turnbull Government

After the re-election of the Turnbull Government at the 2016 federal election, Gillespie was appointed Assistant Minister for Rural Health in the a ministerial reshuffle.[4] He was promoted to Assistant Minister for Health in a subsequent rearrangement of the ministry in January 2017.[5] Gillespie has argued for politicians who represent electorates larger than 10,000 square kilometres (such as his own) to receive additional expenses.[6]

In February 2018, Gillespie was briefly a candidate to replace Barnaby Joyce as National Party leader.[7] After finding a lack of support for his candidacy within the party room, he withdrew from the race and endorsed Michael McCormack, the only other announced candidate.[8]

Gillespie was not retained in the ministry when Scott Morrison replaced Turnbull as prime minister in August 2018. He said he was "disappointed but it is a very competitive space, and the reshuffle is a reflection of how much talent we have". He also stated that "the general electorate was pretty disgusted with all the factional wars that we saw played out in public".[9]

Morrison Government

Following the resignation of Bridget McKenzie, Gillespie stood unsuccessfully for the deputy leadership of the National Party in February 2020. He was defeated by David Littleproud, with Keith Pitt also running. In the lead-up to the vote, he criticised party leader Michael McCormack's lack of engagement with the national media. McCormack defeated Barnaby Joyce in a leadership ballot, and Gillespie subsequently stated that "the leader has our full support" and that another challenge to McCormack's leadership was unlikely.[10]

Parliamentary eligibility

Gillespie came under scrutiny after the High Court ruling in the Bob Day case. In April 2017, the High Court found that, under section 44(v) of the Australian Constitution, Senator Bob Day had not been eligible to hold public office because of an indirect pecuniary relationship with the Australian government. The Australian Labor Party (ALP) opposition and some community groups believe that Gillespie also has an indirect financial relationship with the federal government, in that he owns a suburban shopping complex in Port Macquarie which leases a premises to an Australia Post licensee.[11] In July 2017, the ALP launched a High Court challenge to Gillespie's eligibility as an MP. The case was formally brought by Peter Alley, the ALP candidate for Gillespie's seat of Lyne at the 2016 federal election.[11] Gillespie sold his interest in the shopping complex in early 2018, which would ensure his eligibility in a by-election if the court ruled that he was ineligible at the time of the 2016 election.[12] On 21 March 2018 the seven members of the High Court determined unanimously that it does not have the jurisdiction to hear the case, unless this matter is referred to it by parliament.[13]


Gillespie is married to Charlotte, and they have three children. The family lives at Sancrox, west of Port Macquarie.[9] He is a Roman Catholic[14][2]


  1. Turnbull, Malcolm (20 December 2017). "Ministerial Arrangements" (Press release). Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. In the new role of Assistant Minister for Children and Families, Dr David Gillespie will work with the Minister for Social Services, Dan Tehan, to ensure children get the best start in life and families get all the support they need.
  2. Green, Antony (15 September 2013). "Lyne Results: Federal Election 2013". ABC News. Australia. Archived from the original on 26 October 2018. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  3. "David Gillespie Candidate for Lyne". National Party of Australia. 2013. Archived from the original on 1 September 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2013.
  4. Anderson, Stephanie (20 July 2016). "Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull unveils ministry with Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt on the move". ABC News. Archived from the original on 24 August 2016. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  5. "New federal ministers officially sworn in". Sky News. Australia. AAP. 24 January 2017. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  6. "PM's Department tries to hide frontbencher's bid for extra perks". ABC News. Australia. 2 December 2017. Archived from the original on 1 December 2017. Retrieved 2 December 2017.
  7. "Dr David Gillespie confirms he will stand for leadership of the National Party if Barnaby Joyce resigns". Manning River Times. 23 February 2018. Archived from the original on 18 April 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2020.
  8. Joe Kelly (26 February 2018). "Michael McCormack to lead Nationals". The Australian. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  9. Fitzpatrick, Letitia (27 August 2018). "Lyne MP David Gillespie disappointed at losing ministry job". Port Macquarie News. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  10. Mascarenhas, Carla (4 February 2020). "Lyne MP David Gillespie falls short of becoming deputy leader of the National Party". Port Macquarie News. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
  11. Gartrell, Adam (7 July 2017). "Labor launches High Court action against Turnbull MP in bid to topple government". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 7 July 2017. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  12. Adam Gartrell (18 February 2018). "David Gillespie offloads post office amid constitutional challenge". Port Macquarie News. Archived from the original on 23 February 2018. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  13. Byrne, Elizabeth (21 March 2018). "High Court cannot hear challenge to David Gillespie's eligibility to sit in Parliament". ABC News. Archived from the original on 2 June 2018. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  14. Townsend, Samantha (7 September 2013). "Nationals candidate David Gillespie tipped to take Lyne". The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Rob Oakeshott
Member for Lyne
Political offices
New ministerial post Assistant Minister for Children and Families
Preceded by
as Assistant Minister for Rural Health
Assistant Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Bridget McKenzie
as Minister for Rural Health
Preceded by
Fiona Nash
as Minister for Rural Health
Assistant Minister for Rural Health
Succeeded by
as Assistant Minister for Health
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