Gabrielle Upton

Gabrielle Cecelia Upton (born 16 December 1964), an Australian politician, is the member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, representing the seat of Vaucluse for the Liberal Party since 2011.


Gabrielle Upton

Minister for the Environment
In office
30 January 2017 – 23 March 2019
PremierGladys Berejiklian
Preceded byMark Speakman
Succeeded byMatt Kean
Minister for Local Government
In office
30 January 2017 – 23 March 2019
PremierGladys Berejiklian
Preceded byPaul Toole
Succeeded byShelley Hancock
Minister for Heritage
In office
30 January 2017 – 23 March 2019
PremierGladys Berejiklian
Preceded byMark Speakman
Succeeded bypost abolished
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Vaucluse
Assumed office
26 March 2011
Preceded byPeter Debnam
Attorney General of New South Wales
In office
2 April 2015 – 30 January 2017
PremierMike Baird
Preceded byBrad Hazzard
Succeeded byMark Speakman
Minister for Sport and Recreation
In office
30 August 2013 – 23 April 2014
PremierBarry O'Farrell
Preceded byBrad Hazzard
Succeeded byStuart Ayres
Minister for Family and Community Services
In office
23 April 2014 – 2 April 2015
PremierMike Baird
Preceded byPru Goward
Succeeded byBrad Hazzard
Personal details
Born (1964-12-16) 16 December 1964 (age 55)
Sydney
Political partyLiberal Party
Alma mater
ProfessionLawyer

Upton is currently serving as the Parliamentary Secretary for the NSW Premier.[1] Upton previously served as the New South Wales Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Local Government, and the Minister for Heritage from January 2017 until March 2019 in the first Berejiklian ministry.[2][3] She also served as the NSW Attorney General between April 2015 and January 2017 in the second Baird government and was the first woman to be appointed as Attorney General.[4] Upton served as the New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services in the first Baird government during 2014 and 2015;[5] and the Minister for Sport and Recreation during 2013 and 2014.[6]

Background and early careerEdit

Upton was born and raised in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney where she attended Brigidine College in Randwick and the University of New South Wales, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws. Upton's career began as a banking and finance lawyer with legal firms Freehill, Hollingdale & Page and DLA Phillips Fox, after being admitted as a solicitor to the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the High Court of Australia in 1988.

Upton moved to live New York City in 1993 where she graduated with a Master of Business Administration (Finance and Management) from the Stern School of Business at New York University, New York.[citation needed] She then worked as a banker with Deutsche Bank and Toronto Dominion Bank in New York financing the energy sector.[citation needed] From 2000 until 2010, Upton was legal counsel at the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a member of CAMAC, the Australian federal government's principal advisory committee on corporations and securities law, between 2006 and 2011.[citation needed] Upton served as Deputy Chancellor at the University of New South Wales from 2006 until 2009, and on the University's Council from 2002 to 2010. From 2005 to 2011, Upton was the Deputy Chair of the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award – Australia and from 2009 to 2011 was Chair of The Friends of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award in Australia; and was also a board member of Neuroscience Research Australia from 2007 to 2011; and a Fellow of the Law Faculty at the University of New South Wales.[citation needed]

Neuroscience and mental health advocacyEdit

Upton has spoken out about the need to raise awareness about mental health and in March 2010 gave a speech to Sydney Rotary where she called for a "full gamut" approach to combating mental illness. This speech noted that every day in Australia six to seven people die by suicide, which was 40 per cent higher than deaths caused on the country's roads – a statistic she described as "completely unacceptable".[7] She has written about the prevalence of mental illness among young Australian lawyers and discussed moves by the legal profession to combat mental illness in the law firm workplace.[8]

Political careerEdit

Following the earlier announcement that the Liberal sitting member, Peter Debnam would not re-contest the next state election, on 26 September 2010 Gabrielle won Liberal Party pre-selection for Vaucluse.[9] At the 2011 state election, Gabrielle was elected with a swing of 9.9 points and won the seat with 81.4 per cent of the two-party vote.[10] Following the election, she was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Tertiary Education and Skills.[6] In August 2011 she was appointed Chair of the NSW Parliamentary friends of Israel.[11] On 21 August 2013, Upton was appointed as the Minister for Sport and Recreation.

Due to the resignation of Barry O'Farrell as premier in April 2014,[12] and the subsequent ministerial reshuffle by the new Liberal Leader, Mike Baird,[5] Upton was appointed as the Minister for Family and Community Services and lost the portfolio of Sport and Recreation.[6][13][14]

Following the 2015 state election, Baird announced that Upton would become Attorney General, becoming the first female Attorney General of New South Wales.[4][15] Following the resignation of Mike Baird as Premier,[16] Gladys Berejiklian was elected as Liberal leader and sworn in as Premier.[17][18] Upton became the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Local Government, and the Minister for Heritage in the Berejiklian ministry.[2]

In October 2017, as heritage minister, Upton refused to list the 1981 Sirius building in The Rocks on the New South Wales State Heritage Register, despite the unanimous recommendation that it be listed by the Heritage Council of New South Wales. She said: "while the Sirius building is distinctive, in my view, it is not a landmark worthy of state heritage protection".[19] In response, the Chair of the Save Our Sirius Foundation noted that her determination was "an ignorant decision made by an out-of-touch government [...] Upton's only argument and the only thing she cites in her decision is the opinion of a group of private companies the government hired to tell them what they want to hear."[20]

In September 2018, a number of concerns were made public over Upton's ability to perform as a minister. Allegations from former staff and other government sources included her "contempt for bureaucrats", suggestions that she was "paralysed by indecision", and claims that "Departmental briefs sat on her desk for months and months without her even looking at them".[21] The month before, Upton came under fire for allowing a significant delay in determining applications for new items to the New South Wales State Heritage Register, with the exception of Hadley Park in Castlereagh, the original home of the family of conservative radio commentator Ray Hadley, thereby fulfilling her obligations under the Heritage Act 1977 "almost entirely in the breach".[22]

Attention also focused on the "toxic environment" of her 12-staff office, with 16 staff members having left in the 18-month period up to September 2018, and one former staffer receiving compensation for severe stress.[21] Separate sources, including fellow government ministers, labelled her as "the weakest performer in the cabinet".[23]

Upton introduced the container deposit scheme called "Return and Earn" in NSW in December 2017.[24] It was the single largest initiative undertaken to reduce litter in NSW, and has been associated with a 28% drop in litter covered by the container deposit scheme in 2017–18, compared with 2016–17.[25][26] In May 2018, together with the Premier, Upton announced the $45 Million Koala Strategy, the largest commitment by any state government to increasing the koala population.[27] The package included additional natural habitat for koalas, funding to tackle diseases, improve research and address roadkill hotspots.[28]

When she was Attorney General, Upton introduced a pilot program using specialist judges to better deal with child sexual assault trials and experts called "children's champions" to help support child witnesses through the court trial process.[29] Upton did not seek reappointment to the sate ministry following the 2019 state election.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The Hon. Gabrielle Cecelia Upton MP". Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Refreshed NSW cabinet sworn in". Australia: Sky News. AAP. 30 January 2017. Retrieved 30 January 2017.
  3. ^ a b Sas, Nick (31 March 2019). "Gladys Berejiklian says Liberal Party has no women problem as re-elected NSW Premier shuffles Cabinet". Australia: ABC News. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b Hasham, Nicole (3 April 2015). "Premier Mike Baird's new NSW cabinet sworn in: Gladys Berejiklian and Gabrielle Upton first female Treasurer and Attorney-General". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
  5. ^ a b Nicholls, Sean (22 April 2014). "Mike Baird's cabinet reshuffle a preparation for next election". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 April 2014.
  6. ^ a b c "Ms Gabrielle Cecelia Upton, MBA, BA, LLB MP". Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  7. ^ Bennett, Jennifer (24 March 2010). "Suicide statistics completely unacceptable' says Upton". Wentworth Courier. p. 38. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  8. ^ Upton, Gabrielle (25 March 2010). "Suicide prevention is everyone's problem". The Punch. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  9. ^ Bennett, Jennifer (26 September 2010). "Gabrielle Upton wins Liberal preselection for Vaucluse". Wentworth Courier. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  10. ^ Green, Antony (5 April 2011). "Vaucluse". NSW Votes 2011. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 17 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 5 November 2013. Retrieved 8 January 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Barry O'Farrell quits as NSW Premier over memory fail". The Australian. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  13. ^ "Mike Baird's NSW cabinet". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  14. ^ "Baird Cabinet announced: Premier promotes Constance to Treasurer, makes way for five new MPs". Australia: ABC News. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2014.
  15. ^ "NSW premier Mike Baird announces new cabinet". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  16. ^ Jacques, Owen (19 January 2017). "Baird resigns: NSW Premier to quit top job and Parliament". The Satellite. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  17. ^ "Swearing-In of The Honourable Gladys Berejiklian MP, the 45th Premier of New South Wales, and The Honourable John Barilaro MP, Deputy Premier". Vice Regal Program. Governor of New South Wales. 23 January 2017. Archived from the original on 2 February 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  18. ^ Clennell, Andrew (26 January 2017). "Premier Gladys Berejiklian plans major reshuffle for cabinet". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  19. ^ Robertson, James (25 October 2017). "Sirius demolition one step closer as state government declines to grant heritage status". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  20. ^ Cheng, Linda (26 October 2017). "Sirius denied heritage protection, again". ArchitectureAU. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  21. ^ a b Smith, Alexandra (14 September 2018). "Senior adviser to Gabrielle Upton receives compensation for severe stress". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2018.
  22. ^ Saulwick, Jacob (11 August 2018). "'It's ludicrous': minister delays heritage decisions, except for Ray Hadley". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 August 2019.
  23. ^ Smith, Alexandra; Loussikian, Kylar (13 September 2018). "'Weakest performer in cabinet': NSW Environment Minister under threat". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  24. ^ EPA, NSW. "Return and Earn: A billion reasons to celebrate". NSW Environment Protection Authority. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  25. ^ "National Report 2017 ‐ 2018 National Litter Index" (PDF). Keep Australia Beautiful National Association. p. 33. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Return and Earn Archives". Waste Management Review. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  27. ^ "Koala strategy will save Australia's national treasure". NSW Government. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  28. ^ Khalik, Jennine; Kennedy, Jean (6 May 2018). "New parks set aside to save declining koala population in NSW". ABC News. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
  29. ^ Community Relations Division, freecall 1800 685 449; Justice, NSW Department of. "Law paves way for children's champions". justice.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 11 September 2019.
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Peter Debnam
Member for Vaucluse
2011–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Speakman
Minister for the Environment
2017–2019
Succeeded by
Matt Kean
as Minister for Energy and Environment
Preceded by
Paul Toole
Minister for Local Government
2017–2019
Succeeded by
Shelley Hancock
Preceded by
Mark Speakman
Minister for Heritage
2017–2019
Succeeded by
portfolio abolished
Preceded by
Graham Annesley
Minister for Sport and Recreation
2013–2014
Succeeded by
Stuart Ayres
Preceded by
Pru Goward
Minister for Family and Community Services
2014–2015
Succeeded by
Brad Hazzard
Preceded by
Brad Hazzard
Attorney General of New South Wales
2015–2017
Succeeded by
Mark Speakman