Sussan Ley

Sussan Penelope Ley (born Susan Penelope Braybrooks, 14 December 1961) is an Australian Liberal Party politician serving as Minister for the Environment since 2019, and has served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Farrer since 2001.

Sussan Ley

Sussan Ley in 2011
Minister for the Environment
Assumed office
29 May 2019
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byMelissa Price
Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories
In office
26 August 2018[1]  26 May 2019
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byNola Marino
Minister for Health
In office
23 December 2014  13 January 2017
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byPeter Dutton
Succeeded byGreg Hunt
Minister for Sport
In office
23 December 2014  13 January 2017
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byPeter Dutton
Succeeded byGreg Hunt
Minister for Aged Care
In office
30 September 2015  13 January 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byChristian Porter
Succeeded byKen Wyatt
(as Assistant Minister for Health and Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care)
Assistant Minister for Education
In office
18 September 2013  23 December 2014
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Preceded byKate Ellis
Succeeded bySimon Birmingham
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Farrer
Assumed office
10 November 2001
Preceded byTim Fischer
Personal details
Susan Penelope Braybrooks

(1961-12-14) 14 December 1961
Kano, Kano State, Nigeria
Political partyLiberal Party
Spouse(s)John Ley (m. 1987–2004)
Domestic partnerGraham Johnston
ResidenceAlbury, New South Wales
Alma materLa Trobe University
University of New South Wales
Charles Sturt University
OccupationAircraft pilot, taxation officer

Ley served as Assistant Minister for Education in the Abbott Government from 18 September 2013[2] until 23 December 2014, when she entered the Cabinet and was appointed Minister for Health and Minister for Sport. She retained the portfolios in the Turnbull Government, and on 30 September Aged Care was added to her position.[3][4][5][6][7][8] In January 2017, she resigned from the frontbench in the midst of an investigation into her travel expenses and entitlements.

Early years and background

Ley was born in Kano, Kano State, Nigeria to English parents. When she was one year old, her family moved to the United Arab Emirates, where her father worked as a British intelligence officer. Ley attended boarding school in England until she was 13, when her family migrated to Australia.[9] Her parents bought a hobby farm in Toowoomba, but quickly sold it due to a crash in beef prices. They then moved to Canberra, where her father worked for the Australian Federal Police. She was educated at Campbell High School, Dickson College,[10] La Trobe University, the University of New South Wales and Charles Sturt University, and has master's degrees in taxation and accountancy. She changed her name from Susan to Sussan due to a belief in numerology.[11]

When Ley was 19 she enrolled in flight school and gained her commercial pilot's licence when she was 20. She has been a waitress, cleaner, and trained, but did not complete training, as an air traffic controller. But she was a commercial pilot, and later a farmer and shearer's cook. She met John Ley while aerial stock-mustering in south-west Queensland. They married in 1987, settled on her husband's family farm in north-east Victoria, and had three children before their 2004 divorce.[12] Ley was Director of Technical Training at the Australian Taxation Office in Albury from 1995 to 2001 before entering politics.[13]


Government (2001–2007)

Ley was elected to parliament at the 2001 general election. She was appointed Parliamentary Secretary (Children and Youth Affairs) in October 2004 and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in January 2006.[14]

Opposition (2007–2013)

Ley in 2009 at the opening of a library in Jerilderie, New South Wales

Following the 2007 election, Ley was appointed Shadow Minister for Housing and Shadow Minister for Status of Women by Opposition Leader, Dr Brendan Nelson,[15] moving to Shadow Minister for Customs and Justice when Malcolm Turnbull became Opposition Leader in September 2008.[16]

When Tony Abbott became Opposition Leader in December 2009 she was given the portfolio of Shadow Assistant Treasurer[17] and was moved to Shadow Minister for Employment Participation and Shadow Minister for Childcare and Early Childhood Learning after the 2010 election.[18]

Government (2013–present)

On 16 September 2013, Ley was appointed Assistant Minister for Education in the Abbott Government, with responsibility for childcare.[19]

As part of a ministerial reshuffle, on 23 December 2014 Ley was promoted to cabinet, to become the Minister for Health. She also became Minister for Sport.[3][4][5][6]

New prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull added the Aged Care portfolio to her responsibilities in September 2015.[8]

In January 2017, an examination of Ley's expenditure claims and travel entitlements revealed she had purchased an apartment on the Gold Coast, close to the business premises of her partner, for $795,000 while on official business in Queensland. Ley defended the purchase, saying her work in the Gold Coast was legitimate, that all travel had been within the rules for entitlements, and that the purchase of the apartment "was not planned nor anticipated"[20] (a claim which was widely derided).[21] On 8 January, Ley released a statement acknowledging that the purchase had changed the context of her travel, and undertaking to repay the government for the cost of the trip in question as well as three others.[22] The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Ley had made 27 taxpayer-funded trips to the Gold Coast in recent years.[23]

On 9 January 2017, Ley announced that she would stand aside from her ministerial portfolios until an investigation into her travel expenses was completed by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. She announced that she would not be making her diaries public.[24] On 13 January 2017, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Ley had resigned from the ministry.[25] Greg Hunt was appointed as Ley's replacement as the Minister for Health and Sport, and Ken Wyatt was appointed Assistant Minister for Health and Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care,[26] both with effect from 24 January 2017.[27]

In May 2018 Ley introduced a private member's bill to ban the live export of sheep.[28][29]

During the second Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill of 2018, Ley signed the petition requesting to hold a party meeting to determine the leadership of the Liberal party.[30]

On 26 August 2018, Ley was appointed Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories[31] in the Morrison Government.

On 26 May 2019, Ley was announced as Minister for the Environment,[32] to replace Melissa Price.

On the 27th of October 2020, Ley approved the destruction of 52 hectares of critical koala habitat for the brandy hill quarry expansion. A decision drawing widespread criticism after the deaths of a third of the New South Wales’ koala population and an estimated loss of 24% of habitat in the 2020 bushfire disaster.


  1. "Current Ministry List: The 45th Parliament". Parliament of Australia.
  2. "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  3. "Cabinet reshuffle: Tony Abbott promotes Sussan Ley to Health, David Johnston axed". 21 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  4. Chung, Frank (21 December 2014). "The shape of things to come: New Health Minister Sussan Ley's 'slush fund' speech shows she has fight". Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  5. Taylor, Lenore (21 December 2014). "Tony Abbott cabinet reshuffle moves Scott Morrison out of immigration". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  6. "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  7. Coch, Lukas (23 December 2014). "Sussan Ley sworn in". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  8. Sydney Morning Herald, "Aged care: Health Minister Sussan Ley picks up extra portfolio", 30 September 2015. Retrieved 1 October 2015
  9. "Sussan Ley – NSW Migration Heritage Centre". Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  10. "Sussan Ley (nee Braybrooks)". NSW Migration Heritage Centre. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 21 September 2013. when I was at Dixon College
  11. Legge, Kate (21 February 2015). "Sussan Ley's next big challenge". The Australian.
  12. Hutchens, Garth (22 December 2014). "Sussan Ley: From punk rocker to health minister". The Age. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  13. "About Sussan Ley".
  14. "The Hon Sussan Ley MP". Australian Parliament House.
  15. "The 42nd Parliament – Shadow Ministry 6 December 2007 – 22 September 2008". Archived from the original on 24 November 2011.
  16. "The 42nd Parliament – Shadow Ministry 22 September 2008 – 23 January 2009". Archived from the original on 2 June 2011.
  17. "The 42nd Parliament – Shadow Ministry 8 December 2009 – 25 March 2010". Archived from the original on 24 November 2011.
  18. "The 43rd Parliament – Shadow Ministry 3 March 2011 -". Archived from the original on 7 December 2011.
  19. "First Abbott ministry announced". Australian Politics. 16 September 2013.
  20. "Sussan Ley defends purchase of $800k unit on taxpayer-funded trip to Gold Coast". ABC News. 6 January 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  21. "An expenses scandal claims an Australian minister". 19 January 2017 via The Economist.
  22. "Sussan Ley agrees to partly pay back cost of trips to Gold Coast after apartment purchase". ABC News. 8 January 2017. Retrieved 8 January 2017.
  23. Knott, Matthew (9 January 2017). "Health Minister Sussan Ley stands aside pending probe over taxpayer-funded Gold Coast trips". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  24. "Sussan Ley stands aside pending travel expenses investigation". ABC News. 9 January 2017. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
  25. "Health Minister Sussan Ley resigns over expenses scandal". ABC News. 13 January 2017. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
  26. "Greg Hunt announced as new Health Minister". ABC News. 18 January 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  27. "New federal ministers officially sworn in". Australia: Sky News. AAP. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  28. "Sussan Ley builds support to ban 'terminal' live sheep trade". Financial Review. 21 May 2018. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  29. Karp, Paul (21 May 2018). "Coalition MPs introduce bill for ban on live exports, saying industry is not viable". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 10 September 2018.
  30. "Malcolm Turnbull asked to see who wanted him out – here are the Liberal MPs that signed on". 24 August 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  31. "Hon Sussan Ley MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
  32. Belot, political reporters Henry; Conifer, Dan (26 May 2019). "Scott Morrison stamps authority on Coalition with reshuffled Cabinet". ABC News.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Tim Fischer
Member for Farrer
Political offices
Preceded by
Kate Ellis
as Minister for Early Childhood, Childcare and Youth
Assistant Minister for Education
Succeeded by
Simon Birmingham
as Assistant Minister for Education and Training
Preceded by
Peter Dutton
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Greg Hunt
Minister for Sport
Preceded by
Christian Porter
as Minister for Social Services
Minister for Aged Care
Succeeded by
Ken Wyatt
as Assistant Minister for Health and
Minister for Indigenous Health and Aged Care
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