Ben Wyatt

Benjamin Sana Wyatt (born 1 April 1974) is an Australian politician who was the Labor Party member for the seat of Victoria Park in the Legislative Assembly of Western Australia from 2006 to 2021.


Ben Wyatt
Treasurer of Western Australia
Assumed office
17 March 2017
Preceded byMike Nahan
Member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly
for Victoria Park
In office
11 March 2006 – 29 January 2021
Preceded byGeoff Gallop
Personal details
Born
Benjamin Sana Wyatt

(1974-04-01) 1 April 1974 (age 46)
Wewak, Territory of Papua New Guinea
CitizenshipAustralian
Political partyLabor Party
Spouse(s)Vivianne Wyatt
RelationsCedric Wyatt (father), Ken Wyatt (cousin)
Children2
Alma materAquinas College, University of Western Australia, Royal Military College, London School of Economics
ProfessionLawyer

Born in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, to Australian parents, Wyatt moved to Western Australia at an early age, where he attended Aquinas College in Perth. He went on to receive a law degree from the University of Western Australia, later attending the London School of Economics on a scholarship. Wyatt returned to Australia in 2002, where he worked as a lawyer. He was elected to parliament in 2006, at the Victoria Park by-election, replacing Geoff Gallop, a former premier. Wyatt currently serves as Treasurer and Minister for Finance, Energy and Aboriginal Affairs. As the state's Aboriginal Affairs Minister, his federal counterpart the Indigenous Australians Minister, is his cousin Ken Wyatt.

BiographyEdit

Wyatt was born on 1 April 1974 in Wewak, a town on the northern coast of what was then the Territory of Papua New Guinea. His parents were both school-teachers on an exchange program—his father, Cedric Wyatt, was originally from the Pilbara, and his mother was originally from Newcastle, New South Wales.[1] Wyatt has Yamatji heritage through his father, and his cousin, Ken Wyatt, was the first member of the Australian House of Representatives of Aboriginal Australian descent.[2] His family returned to Perth, Western Australia, in 1976. Wyatt grew up in regional Western Australia, with his parents teaching in various locations in the Goldfields, including Laverton and Kalgoorlie. He returned to Perth to attend high school at Aquinas College, and later studied at the University of Western Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree.[1] He also attended the Royal Military College, Duntroon, graduating as an Australian Army Reserve officer in 1996, and later received the Australian Defence Medal. After working in law firms in Perth and Sydney, Wyatt received an Ambassadorial Scholarship in 2001 from the Rotary Foundation, allowing him to study comparative politics at the London School of Economics.[3]

After returning to Western Australia in 2002, Wyatt began working at MinterEllison, one of the "Big Six" law firms in Australia.[1] He also worked at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before running for parliament at the 2006 Victoria Park by-election, triggered by the resignation of Geoff Gallop, the Premier of Western Australia at the time. Wyatt won the seat with 49.38% of the direct vote and 61.18% of the two-party vote – a swing of 7.93 and 4.86 points, respectively, against the Labor Party, becoming the second-youngest sitting parliamentarian and the third Aboriginal Australian in parliament. After Labor's defeat in the 2008 state election, Wyatt was promoted to the role of treasurer in the new shadow cabinet as well as Shadow Minister for Federal–State Relations and Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts.[4] In January 2011, Wyatt intended to challenge Eric Ripper as Leader of the Opposition and of the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia, but withdrew after finding little support amongst caucus members.[5][6] Ripper resigned from the position in January 2012, but Wyatt did not contest the leadership, with Mark McGowan being elected unopposed as Leader of the Opposition.[7]

After the 2017 election, Ben Wyatt became the first indigenous treasurer for any Australian state or territory.

On 25 February 2020, Ben Wyatt announced his intention to retire from parliament at the next election. He would continue in his role as treasurer until then.[8] However, in March 2020, Wyatt reversed his decision to quit and announced he would stay on to assist the McGowan government in the state's economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.[9] In November 2020, he again announced his intention to retire at the March 2021 state election.[10]

Wyatt is a Roman Catholic and has two daughters.[11]

List of portfoliosEdit

Wyatt has held the following portfolios since his election in 2006:[4]

  • 26 September 2008 – 8 April 2009: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Federal–State Relations; Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts
  • 8 April 2009 – 27 January 2012: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Federal–State Relations
  • 27 January 2012 – 9 April 2013: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs; Shadow Minister for Native Title; Shadow Minister for Cost of Living
  • 9 April 2013 – 17 March 2017: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Shadow Minister for Native Title; Shadow Minister for Cost of Living; Shadow Minister for the Kimberley; Shadow Minister for the Pilbara
  • 17 March 2017 – 13 December 2018: Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Minister for Energy; Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
  • 13 December 2018 – present: Treasurer; Minister for Finance; Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Minister for Lands

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Ben Wyatt" – West Weekend magazine. p. 18. Published 21–22 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  2. ^ Cleary, Paul (2013). Meet Ben Wyatt, one of the most accomplished MPs you've never heard ofThe Australian. Published 9 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  3. ^ Wyatt’s First Speech in Parliament – Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b Mr Benjamin (Ben) Sana Wyatt MLA LLB, MSc – Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  5. ^ Jones, Lloyd (5 January 2011). "Wyatt to challenge for WA Labor leadership". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 5 January 2011.
  6. ^ "Wyatt to stay on the Opposition front bench". ABC News. 7 January 2011. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  7. ^ WA Opposition Leader Ripper resigns – Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Published 19 January 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.
  8. ^ Bell, Frances; Carmody, James (25 February 2020). "WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt to quit politics, announces he will not run in next election". ABC News. Retrieved 25 February 2020.
  9. ^ "Treasurer Ben Wyatt to stay on beyond the next election". Government of Western Australia - Media Statements. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 22 June 2020.
  10. ^ Bell, Frances (16 November 2020). "WA Treasurer Ben Wyatt makes 'difficult decision' to quit politics after all". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Members' biographical register: Mr Benjamin (Ben) Sana Wyatt". Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 28 November 2020.

External linksEdit

Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Geoff Gallop
Member for Victoria Park
2006–2021
Succeeded by
TBD
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Nahan
Treasurer of Western Australia
2017–present
Incumbent
Minister for Energy
2017–present
Preceded by
Sean L'Estrange
Minister for Finance
2017–present
Preceded by
Peter Collier
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
2017–present