Jenny Macklin

Jennifer Louise Macklin (born 29 December 1953) is an Australian former politician who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1996 until 2019, representing the Division of Jagajaga for the Labor Party. She was a minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments from 2007 to 2013, having previously been her party's deputy leader from 2001 to 2006.

Jenny Macklin
Jenny Macklin (cropped).jpg
Macklin in 2013
Minister for Disability Reform
In office
14 December 2011 – 18 September 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byJane Prentice (2016)
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
In office
3 December 2007 – 18 September 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byMal Brough
Succeeded byKevin Andrews as Minister for Social Services
Nigel Scullion as Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
In office
22 November 2001 – 4 December 2006
LeaderSimon Crean
Mark Latham
Kim Beazley
Preceded bySimon Crean
Succeeded byJulia Gillard
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
22 November 2001 – 4 December 2006
LeaderSimon Crean
Mark Latham
Kim Beazley
Preceded bySimon Crean
Succeeded byJulia Gillard
Member of the Australian Parliament for Jagajaga
In office
2 March 1996 – 11 April 2019
Preceded byPeter Staples
Succeeded byKate Thwaites
Personal details
Jennifer Louise Macklin

(1953-12-29) 29 December 1953 (age 66)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLabor
Domestic partnerRoss Turner
ResidenceIvanhoe, Victoria, Australia

Early lifeEdit

Born in Brisbane, Queensland, she was raised in Cohuna and Wangaratta in regional Victoria. She spent time in Japan as a student before graduating from the University of Melbourne with an honours degree in economics.[citation needed]


Macklin early in her political career

Macklin was a researcher at the Australian National University in 1976–78, an economics research specialist with the Parliamentary Library in Canberra 1978–81, Research Coordinator at the Labour Resource Centre in Melbourne 1981–1985, an adviser to the Victorian Minister for Health 1985–88, director of the federal government's National Health Strategy 1990–93 and director of the Australian Urban and Regional Development Review 1993–1995. She was a member of a Canberra discussion group, the Red Fems, which presented a paper to the Women and Labour Conference in 1980.[1]

On her election to Parliament as a member of the Australian Labor Party, Macklin was immediately elected a member of the Opposition Shadow Cabinet, where she served in a number of roles, including Shadow Minister for Aged Care, Social Security and the Status of Women. After the 1998 election, Macklin became Shadow Minister for Health. She is a member of the Socialist Left faction of the Labor Party.[2]

Jenny Macklin (left) with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the apology for the "stolen generations"

After the ALP's defeat at the 2001 election, Macklin was elected unopposed as deputy leader to Simon Crean. She was the first woman to hold a leadership position in either Australian major party. She took on the position of Shadow Minister for Education. Macklin remained Deputy Leader after Crean's replacement as leader by Mark Latham in December 2003, and also under Kim Beazley following Latham's resignation in January 2005. Macklin became the first person to be deputy to three leaders of the ALP since Frank Forde.

On 1 December 2006, Macklin's position as deputy leader of the ALP came under threat after Kim Beazley called for a spill of all the leadership positions, in a bid to end growing speculation over the issue. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Kevin Rudd, and Shadow Minister for Health, Julia Gillard, announced their intentions to run against Beazley and Macklin as a team for the positions of leader and deputy leader respectively of the party. On the day of the ballot, Macklin effectively stepped down from the position, choosing not to contest the deputy leadership after Kevin Rudd was elected as the new party leader. Macklin was once again elected to the Shadow frontbench, and was appointed Shadow Minister for Families and Community Services and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation. She maintained these portfolios in government after Labor's victory in the 2007 election.

Minister In 2007, Macklin became the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. In this capacity she oversaw the passage and implementation of Australia's first national Paid Parental Leave Scheme, the Closing the Gap framework to address the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, a historic rise in the pensions and a number of other significant changes to social policy and family support payments.

In 2011, Macklin was given the additional responsibility of Minister for Disability Reform, overseeing the design and implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Macklin was also a member of the Government's Expenditure Review Committee and Chair of the Government's Social Policy Committee.

Indigenous Affairs Macklin was Minister for Indigenous Affairs throughout the Labor Government's two terms in office. Macklin was instrumental in the National Apology to the Stolen Generations, delivered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in February 2008 and the implementation of the Close the Gap Framework, the first comprehensive strategy for tackling Indigenous disadvantage in Australia's history. This strategy saw record investment in health, education, housing, early childhood development and remote Indigenous service provision.

She has said that one of her most important achievements was to take the politics out of Indigenous affairs and destroy the toxic division between "symbols" and "practical" change. On 23 November 2011, the Stronger Futures Policy legislation was introduced by Macklin to address key issues such as unemployment, school attendance, alcohol abuse, child protection, safety, housing and land reforms in the Northern Territory.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) On 10 August 2011, Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister Macklin announced the Labor Government's support for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) a major social policy reform designed to ensure that people with disability received the care and support they need.

The rollout of the NDIS commenced in 2013 at four launch sites around Australia, with full rollout to be completed in 2019. Macklin was instrumental in the success of negotiations with states and territories, which resulted in a nationwide agreement on the NDIS. When fully completed in 2019 the NDIS is expected to cover around 460,000 Australians with disability.

Paid Parental Leave Macklin was the Minister was responsible for the design and implementation of Australia's first national paid parental leave scheme. Prior to its launch on 1 January 2011, Australia was one of just two developed countries without a national paid parental leave scheme. The scheme provides primary care givers with 18 weeks' of paid parental leave paid at the national minimum wage. In the six years since the scheme was launched more than 700,000 Australian families have accessed paid parental leave.

An independent review of the scheme in 2014 found that more than 75 per cent of parents accessing paid parental leave were on incomes of less than $70,000 a year. In the 2015 Budget the Abbott Government announced a measure to end so called 'double dipping' of paid parental leave by restricting 80,000 new parents from accessing both employer and government paid parental leave schemes. The use of the term provoked widespread condemnation from women's groups and some employers. Macklin led Labor's opposition to the Liberal Government's cuts to paid parental leave, which have failed to pass the Parliament.

Dad and Partner Pay The introduction of Dad and Partner Pay (DAPP) on 1 January 2013, established two weeks paid leave to fathers and partners to help them take time off work to support new mothers in their caring role and be involved in the care of their newborn baby. This was another social policy reform that Macklin spearheaded during her time as Minister. An independent report conducted by the University of Queensland in 2014 found that DAPP reduced the barriers to fathers taking leave following a birth.

Apology to Forgotten Australians Macklin was also the steward for the National Apology to the Forgotten Australians and former Child Migrants, in her capacity as Families Minister. Former Prime Minister Rudd gave the Apology on 16 November 2009 on behalf of the Australian Government to over half a million children who were taken from their families and placed in institutions where they were often victims of abuse. Macklin said the apology demonstrated 'the shared resolve to make sure the abuse and neglect never happens again'.

Macklin announced her retirement from politics on 6 July 2018, revealing she would not stand as a candidate for the seat of Jagajaga at the 2019 federal election.[3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bevege, Margaret; James, Margaret; Shute (eds), Carmel (1982). Worth her Salt: Women at Work in Australia. Sydney: Hale & Iremonger. p. xii.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Topsfield, Jewel (5 December 2006). "Factions left behind in leadership vote". Age. Canberra: Fairfax. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  3. ^ "Veteran Labor MP Jenny Macklin announces retirement after 22-year career". ABC News. 6 July 2018.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by
Mal Brough
Minister for Families, Community
Services and Indigenous Affairs

Succeeded by
Kevin Andrews
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Peter Staples
Member for Jagajaga
Succeeded by
Kate Thwaites
Party political offices
Preceded by
Simon Crean
Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Julia Gillard