Stephen Jones (Australian politician)

Stephen Patrick Jones (born 29 June 1965) is an Australian politician who represents the Division of Whitlam (formerly Throsby) for the Australian Labor Party. He was elected at the 2010 Australian federal election and is the current Shadow Assistant Treasurer and the Shadow Minister for Financial Services.[1]

Stephen Jones

Member of the Australian Parliament
for Whitlam
Assumed office
2 July 2016
Preceded byNew seat
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Throsby
In office
21 August 2010  2 July 2016
Preceded byJennie George
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Personal details
Born (1965-06-29) 29 June 1965
Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Alma materUniversity of Wollongong (BA, LLB)
ProfessionLawyer and union organiser

Early years and background

Stephen Jones is one of five children (Maree, Luke, Adam and Amanda) who grew up in Wollongong, New South Wales. His father Mark, was a teacher at TAFE and his mother Margaret, worked as a School Assistant.[2] Stephen is the father to two young children.

Jones attended St Brigid's Primary School in Gwynneville, New South Wales and Edmund Rice College in Wollongong, where he was School Captain and Dux. He holds a Bachelor of Arts (History and Politics) from the University of Wollongong and a Bachelor of Laws from Macquarie University.

His early career was spent as a youth advocate in Campbelltown, New South Wales. Working primarily with children who had developmental disabilities and later, with adults suffering spinal cord injury.[3]

Stephen Jones joined the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) in 1993. He worked in various roles, including NSW branch secretary and secretary of the Communications Division. He was seconded to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 2004, where he worked to secure compensation for victims of James Hardie asbestos-related disease. Stephen Jones was elected as national secretary of the CPSU[4] in 2005 and led the union's campaign against the Howard government's WorkChoices industrial laws in the lead up to the 2007 Australian federal election.

Political career

Stephen Jones gained preselection for the seat of Throsby in late 2009, following the resignation of former Member Jennie George. He was endorsed as the Labor candidate after the intervention of the Labor Party national executive[5][6] and he gained the seat at the 2010 federal election.[7]

Jones made his First Speech in the House of Representatives on 19 October 2010.[8]

In the 43rd Parliament, Jones served as a member of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics,[9] the Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications.[10] and the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform.[11]

Jones faced a contested pre-selection battle to retain Throsby in 2013. In the long lead up to the pre-selection, a number of potential candidates from the opposing right wing faction of the ALP were floated including Mark Hay, the son of State MP for Wollongong, Noreen Hay[12] and former State Member for Kiama, Matt Brown.[13] When nominations were called in May 2013, after months of delay,[14] the only challenger to contest the pre-selection was local nurse John Rumble, son of former State MP, Terry Rumble.[15][16] Jones decisively won the rank and file pre-selection ballot held on 15 June 2013 by 90 votes to 47.[17]

Stephen Jones was re-elected for a second term at the 2013 Australian federal election. On 18 October 2013, he was appointed shadow parliamentary secretary for Infrastructure and Regional Development. On 4 March 2014, Jones was promoted to Shadow Assistant Minister for Health after Melissa Parke MP stepped down due to personal and family reasons.

Jones was re-elected for a third term at the 2016 Australian federal election, after the Division of Throsby had been renamed the Division of Whitlam.[18]

Leadership on progressive political agenda

As a co-convenor of Labor's left faction in the federal parliamentary Labor Party, where as his electorate of Whitlam, is described as a socially conservative right wing seat,[19] while remaining economically aligned with the centre left views represented by the unions.[20] Jones has spoken in the House of Representatives on a number of issues of importance to the progressive political agenda including same-sex marriage, asylum seekers, introducing a carbon price and other environmental issues.

Jones gave a talk on "Politics in the Next Decade: A View from Generation X" at The Sydney Institute on 2 September 2013 in which he identified three areas where Labor needs to engage in the future:

First, our region – the Asia Pacific is where our economic, cultural and security will be built on enduring and reciprocal relationships which focus on long term mutual benefits, not short term opportunism.
Secondly, Labor’s relationship with small business which can and should transcend the campaign-driven transactional exchange of request and policy concession.
Labor was born of the aspiration of working people – our name reflects that. But our Party needs to recognise that the way we work has changed.
Thirdly, Labor should engage with progressive entrepreneurs – those who work in business who believe in generating social wealth, yet who are appalled by the intellectual paucity of Australia’s political debate;[21]

Same-sex marriage

On 15 November 2010, in response to a motion concerning same-sex marriage moved by Adam Bandt, Federal Member for Melbourne (Australian Greens) in the House of Representative, Jones moved, as an amendment:

That all the words after “That” be omitted with a view to substituting the following words: “this House calls on all parliamentarians, consistent with their duties as representatives, to gauge their constituents’ views on ways to achieve equal treatment for same sex couples including marriage”[22]

He articulated the political challenge:

If legislation is to be changed it will require consensus, which will require more votes than any single party can muster in this chamber. That will not be achieved by a heroic dash but by careful advocacy that respects different views, respectfully. On this issue there are different views. There are some who, on theological grounds, believe that to celebrate marriage of two men or two women is an affront to their religion. I have thought carefully about this objection, and I cannot help but draw the conclusion that the real objection here is not to the marriage but to the relationship.[23]

The amended motion was supported by Labor and passed in the House of Representatives,[24] the first such motion adopted in the lower house on same-sex marriage.

Following changes to the ALP National Platform in November 2011 to allow for marriage equality and a conscience vote for Labor MPs,[25] Stephen Jones agreed to put forward a Private Member's Bill to give effect to ALP policy in the Australian Parliament.[26] He introduced his bill to legalize same-sex marriage on 13 February 2012.[27] The Bill was defeated in the House of Representatives on 19 September 2012.[28]

Other issues

Jones has campaigned on a number of other issues as an MP, including restrictions on gambling ads during TV sports broadcasts, for local job seekers in the mining industry, the early rollout of the National Broadband Network to the region, Labor party reform and renewal and Prime Minister Rudd's asylum seeker agreement with Papua New Guinea.

  • Stephen Jones: Official website
  • ALP People: Stephen Jones
  • "Stephen Jones Member for Throsby". Parliament of Australia website.


  1. "Mr Stephen Jones MP". Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  2. Keenan, Anthony. "Meet Stephen". Archived from the original on 21 November 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  3. Stephen Jones MP, Member for Throsby (19 October 2010). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Commonwealth of Australia: House of Representatives. p. 725.
  4. "Financial Documents - year ended 30 June 2007 (FR2007/479) s253 Schedule 1 - Workplace Relations Act 1996 (RAO Schedule)". Retrieved 12 October 2020.
  5. Cox, Brett (20 November 2009). "Jennie George's retirement puts Stephen Jones in the hot seat". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  6. "Local Southern Highlands Labor Party has no love for Stephen Jones". Southern Highlands News. Fairfax Media. 12 March 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010.
  7. "House of Representatives: Members Elected". Australian Electoral Commission. 29 September 2010. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  9. Committee Secretary (29 October 2010). "Standing Committee on Economics: Committee Members – 43rd Parliament". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  10. Committee Secretary (28 October 2010). "Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications: Committee Members – 43rd Parliament". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  11. Senate Committees – Parliament of Australia,
  18. "Whitlam - Federal Election 2019 Electorate, Candidates, Results | Australia Votes - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
  19. Blumer, Clare. "Vote Compass: Australia's most left-leaning and right-leaning seats revealed". ABC. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  20. Sarah, Kaine. "How the major parties stack up on industrial relations policy". The Conversation. Retrieved 12 June 2019.
  22. Keenan, Anthony (15 November 2010). "Jones support for consultation on same-sex marriage". Retrieved 3 December 2010.
  24. Stephen Jones MP, Member for Throsby (18 November 2010).;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fvotes%2F2010-11-18%2F0008%22 |chapter-url= missing title (help). Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). Commonwealth of Australia: House of Representatives. p. 15.
  28. Cullen, Simon (19 September 2012). "Lower House votes down same-sex marriage bill". ABC News. Retrieved 19 September 2012.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Jennie George
Member for Throsby
New seat Member for Whitlam
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