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Jay Wilson Weatherill (born 3 April 1964)[1] is an Australian politician who was the 45th Premier of South Australia, serving from 21 October 2011 until 19 March 2018. Weatherill has represented the House of Assembly seat of Cheltenham as a member of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party since the 2002 election. He is the current Leader of the Opposition in South Australia since 19 March 2018.

The Honourable
Jay Weatherill
Jay Weatherill 2018.jpg
45th Premier of South Australia
In office
21 October 2011 – 19 March 2018
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Kevin Scarce
Hieu Van Le
Deputy John Rau
Preceded by Mike Rann
Succeeded by Steven Marshall
Treasurer of South Australia
In office
21 January 2012 – 26 March 2014
Preceded by Jack Snelling
Succeeded by Tom Koutsantonis
Leader of the Opposition in South Australia
Assumed office
19 March 2018
Premier Steven Marshall
Deputy John Rau
Preceded by Steven Marshall
Leader of the Australian Labor Party (SA)
Assumed office
21 October 2011
Preceded by Mike Rann
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Cheltenham
Assumed office
9 February 2002
Preceded by Murray De Laine
Personal details
Born Jay Wilson Weatherill
(1964-04-03) 3 April 1964 (age 53)
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party (SA)
Spouse(s) Melissa Bailey
  • Lucinda
  • Alice
Father George Weatherill
Alma mater University of Adelaide
Profession Lawyer

Labor was in government from 2002, with Weatherill leading the Labor government since a 2011 leadership change from Mike Rann. During 2013 it became the longest-serving state Labor government in South Australian history, and in addition went on to win a fourth four-year term at the 2014 election. The 16-year state Labor Government lost power at the 2018 election. On 18 March, the day after the election, Weatherill announced his decision to step down as Labor leader, but intends to remain in Parliament on the back-bench.


Early lifeEdit

Born in the western suburbs of Adelaide, he is the son of English-born former South Australian politician George Weatherill.[2][3]

Weatherill completed his secondary education at Henley High School. He later studied at the University of Adelaide, graduating with degrees in law and economics.[4][5] During his university days, he had a relationship with current Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong.[5]

Between 1987 and 1990, he worked for the Australian Workers' Union.[6] In the early 1990s, he worked at the law firm Duncan Hannon with Patrick Conlon and Isobel Redmond.[7] With fellow Adelaide lawyer Stephen Lieschke, he established industrial law firm Lieschke & Weatherill in 1995 where he practised law until his election to the House of Assembly seat of Cheltenham at the 2002 election when his party won government.[4]

Political careerEdit

Weatherill defeated the incumbent Labor member Murray De Laine for Labor preselection in the electorate of Cheltenham at the 2002 election and went on to retain the seat for Labor.[8] Weatherill is from the Labor Left faction.[9] Upon election he immediately entered the cabinet of the Rann Government as Minister for Local Government, Government Enterprise, Urban Development and Planning, and Administrative Services.[10] Later, Weatherill would hold portfolios such as Housing (2004-2008), Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation (2006-2010), Early Childhood and Development (2008-2011), Environment and Conservation (2008-2010) and Education (2010-2011).[4]

Following the 2010 election, Weatherill as a cabinet minister in the Mike Rann government, unsuccessfully challenged Kevin Foley for the position of Deputy Premier.[11] Weatherill said the election day backlash against Labor made it evident that a fresh approach was needed; however he lost along factional lines.[12]


In late July 2011, senior figures within Labor had indicated to Rann that both the left and right Labor factions had agreed to replace Rann with Weatherill as party leader.[13][14][15][16][17] In early August 2011 Weatherill's attempts at contacting Rann on his trade mission to India had been met with silence leaving the party leadership in limbo until Rann's return to Australia.[18] Weatherill refused to rule out challenging Rann in a caucus ballot if he did not stand down on his return to Australia.[18] Rann eventually resigned at the behest of factional bosses, with Caucus endorsing Weatherill as his successor.[19][20] Weatherill was then sworn in as the 45th Premier of South Australia on 21 October 2011.[21]

First termEdit

The 2012-2013 budget was Weatherill's first, with Jack Snelling as treasurer, and came with deep cuts aiming to achieve major savings. Some of this was though suspension of major works programs such as the electrification of the Gawler and Outer Harbor rail lines, and redevelopments of Modbury Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Notably, the AAA credit rating achieved under the Rann government was lost, downgraded to AA+ in October,[22] a move foreshadowed by Snelling[23]. Other actions during Weatherill's first 12 months included a deal to increase shopping hours on public holidays, supported by SDA secretary Peter Malinauskas and Business SA chief executive Peter Vaughan,[24] and Weatherill's support for a Greens-initiated gay marriage bill following the announcement of Tasmania's planned changes.[25]

Weatherill meets Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Konstantinos Tsiaras in a 2013 Australian visit.

Weatherill introduced a conscience vote for the 2013 South Australian Gay Marriage bill in August 2012.[25] However, the bill was frustrated by Labor's conservative Catholic right, as well as a lack of support by then Prime Minister Julia Gillard, and faced constitutional issues as expressed by the SA Liberal Party.[26] The bill ultimately failed the lower house in July 2013 following Weatherill's planned conscience vote.[27]

August 2012 also saw the announcement by BHP that the $20 billion Olympic Dam mine expansion would not go ahead, citing 'subdued commodity prices and higher capital costs'.[28] However, the mine remains operational, employing 2500 people.

On 21 January 2013, Weatherill became Treasurer of South Australia and took other various portfolios following a cabinet reshuffle triggered by the resignation of two members of his ministry.[29] The 2013-2014 budget saw revenue increase, in part due to the privatisation of SA Lotto to Tatts Group for $427 million,[30] and of forests in the State's south-east to international company The Campbell Group for $670 million.[31] However, Australia's surging dollar hit the manufacturing industry sector in SA, and growth in indicators such as retail sales and house prices fell.[32] Despite this, the government included funding for the Gawler railway line up to Dry Creek, a number of measures supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs, and promised a return to surplus by 2015-2016.[33]

2014 electionEdit

The 2014 State election resulted in a hung parliament with 23 seats for Labor, 22 for the Liberals, and the balance of power resting with the two independents, Bob Such and Geoff Brock. After Such went on medical leave for a brain tumour without indicating his support, political commentators indicated that Brock would likely back Labor by reason of 'political stability'[34]. Brock did back Labor, giving Labor 24 seats and as a result Weatherill formed a minority government − giving Labor a total four terms in government.[35]

Second termEdit

Weatherill joined with Liberal premiers proclaiming he would lead a national campaign against the then federal Abbott Government's 2014 federal budget.[36] Former Liberal Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith then defected, becoming an independent and entered the Weatherill cabinet. Hieu Van Le was announced on 26 June 2014 as the next Governor of South Australia to replace Kevin Scarce[37]. Following the death of Such, Labor won the 2014 Fisher by-election by five votes from a 7.3 percent two-party swing in a hotly contested three-cornered contest. Weatherill nonetheless kept Brock and Hamilton-Smith in cabinet, giving the government a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority.[38]

In 2015, Weatherill initiated the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission to investigate opportunities and risks associated with expanding the state's involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle. The Commission was headed by former Governor Kevin Scarce and delivered its final report and recommendation to the Government of South Australia in May 2016.

In 2016, Weatherill supported calls for increasing the GST to 15%[39]

In 2017, Weatherill announced a plan to reform South Australia's electricity supply,[40][41] as a response to a number of blackouts that affected large numbers of South Australian residents and businesses in 2016.[42] The most notable was the state-wide 2016 South Australian blackout. The plan included construction of a State Government-owned 250MW gas-fired power station, around 10 per cent of SA's peak demand, and grid connected utility scale battery storage (the Hornsdale Power Reserve) to support the grid during periods of peak demand.[43]

On 17 March 2018 Weatherill conceded defeat to the Premier-designate Steven Marshall.[44]

Personal lifeEdit

Weatherill is married to Melissa. They have two young daughters.[45] He is a supporter of the Port Adelaide Football Club.[46]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ McGuire, Michael (8 April 2013). "Forty-nine things the Premier could put on his birthday wish-list". AdelaideNow. 
  2. ^ "Cheltenham". The Poll Bludger. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Lainie (6 August 2011). "Jay Weatherill has never shirked a challenge". The Advertiser. Australia. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Profile: Hon Jay Weatherill". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Crabb, Annabel (8 December 2007). "Freakish powers of a formidable operator". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  6. ^ Mayne, Stephen (25 January 2006). "Tracking the unionists in parliament". Crikey. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Kelton, Greg (9 July 2009). "Isobel Redmond wins South Australia Liberals leadership". The Advertiser. 
  8. ^ Parker, Lachlan (15 August 2001). "Costly Labor factions in South Australia". ABC PM. 
  9. ^ "Hartley". The Poll Bludger. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  10. ^ "Profile: Hon Jay Weatherill". Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  11. ^ Kelton, Greg (21 March 2010). "Jay Weatherill to challenge Kevin Foley for job of Deputy Premier of South Australia". Adelaide Now. 
  12. ^ "Foley survives challenge to deputy's spot". ABC News. Australia. 23 March 2010. 
  13. ^ Hunt, Nigel (30 July 2011). "Premier Mike Rann told to stand down". Sunday Mail (SA). 
  14. ^ "SA premier facing a leadership coup". AAP. 30 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Owen, Michael (30 July 2011). "Mike Rann handed deadline to stand down as South Australian premier". The Australian. 
  16. ^ Johnson, Angelique (30 July 2011). "Rann to be ousted in leadership coup". ABC News. 
  17. ^ Anderson, Geoff (2 August 2011). "Factional coup may prove problematic for SA's new premier". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  18. ^ a b Martin, Sarah (5 August 2011). "Jay Weatherill may take on South Australia Premier Mike Rann". The Advertiser. 
  19. ^ "Time up for Rann after 17 years as leader". ABC News. 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  20. ^ "New faces as Weatherill takes reins in SA". ABC News. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  21. ^ "New faces as Weatherill takes reins in SA". ABC News. 24 October 2011. 
  22. ^ "Third ratings hit for state". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  23. ^ "SA Treasurer expects credit rating downgrade". ABC News. 2012-05-10. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  24. ^ "City shops open on public holidays". Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  25. ^ a b Crouch, Brad (14 August 2012). "Weatherill staunches Labor opposition to back gay marriage Bill". AdelaideNow. 
  26. ^ "Gay marriage 'divisive' for parties". Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  27. ^ "Same-sex marriage bill voted down in SA". ABC News. 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  28. ^ Spoehr, John. "Olympic Dam delay is not the end of the world for South Australia". The Conversation. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  29. ^ Martin, Sarah (21 January 2013). "SA Premier Jay Weatherill cites jobs growth as he assumes treasury portfolio". The Australian. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  30. ^ "Tatts buys SA Lotteries for $427m". ABC News. 2012-11-27. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  31. ^ "Forest harvest rights sold for $670m". ABC News. 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  32. ^ "Weatherill cautious with first Budget". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  33. ^
  34. ^ "Richardson: The silent threat that has Labor trembling - InDaily". InDaily. 2016-02-12. Retrieved 2018-01-04. 
  35. ^ "Re-elected SA Labor Government gets down to business". ABC News. Australia. 27 March 2014. 
  36. ^ "Weatherill to lead national revolt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "Hieu Van Le to be next SA Governor, from war-torn Vietnam to vice-regal post". ABC News. Australia. 26 June 2014. 
  38. ^ Fisher by-election win for Labor gives Weatherill Government majority in SA: ABC 13 December 2014
  39. ^
  40. ^ "$550m plan to take control of our power". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  41. ^ "SA to spend $500m to take control of state's energy market". ABC News. 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  42. ^ "SA takes its energy experiment back to the lab". Australian Energy Council. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  43. ^ "South Australia is taking charge of its energy future - Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  44. ^ SA election: Jay Weatherill to resign as Labor leader after loss to Liberals ABC News, 18 March 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2018.
  45. ^ Jay Weatherill biography: ALP website
  46. ^ "SA Premier backs troubled Power". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 6 August 2012. 

External linksEdit