Jordon Steele-John

Jordon Alexander Steele-John (born 14 October 1994) is an Australian politician and disability rights advocate. He is a member of the Australian Senate as a representative of Western Australia, and is a member of the Australian Greens party.

Jordon Steele-John
Jordon-Steele-John-2019 (cropped).jpg
Steele-John in 2019
Senator for Western Australia
Assumed office
10 November 2017
Preceded byScott Ludlam
Personal details
Born
Jordon Alexander Steele-John

(1994-10-14) 14 October 1994 (age 28)
Northampton, England, United Kingdom
CitizenshipAustralian
British (1994–2013)
Political partyGreens
Alma materMacquarie University
OccupationPolitician, disability advocate
WebsiteOfficial website

Steele-John was born in Northampton, England, but emigrated to Perth as a child. He began his political career in 2013, and was elected by declaration to the Senate in 2017, at age 23, making him the youngest senator in Australia's history. Steele-John is an advocate and supporter of disability rights and LGBT rights who has campaigned extensively in the disability, health and peace spaces.

Early life and careerEdit

Born in the United Kingdom, Steele-John migrated as a child to Australia with his parents. He and his brother were home-educated.[1] Steele-John is a disability advocate who, as a student, stood for the Greens in both federal and state elections. He was an active member in the Brand federal electorate’s Greens group. Steele-John studied politics at Macquarie University by correspondence. However, his sudden unexpected appointment to the senate cut short his undergraduate studies. Steele-John uses a wheelchair due to cerebral palsy.[2] Steele-John renounced British citizenship at age eighteen in preparation for the 2013 federal election, and currently only holds only Australian citizenship.[3][4]

Political careerEdit

Prior to being listed as third senate candidate for the Greens in the 2016 federal election (behind Scott Ludlam and Rachel Siewert), Steele-John had been a candidate for the WA Greens three times. He was a candidate in the March 2013 state election in the electorate of Warnbro (receiving 8.8% primary vote), the September 2013 federal election in the electorate of Fremantle (receiving 11.9% primary vote) and in the April 2014 special half-senate election which followed the result of the 2013 election being voided by the Court of Disputed Returns (as the fourth candidate on the Greens' list).

Steele-John entered the Australian Senate after Western Australian senator Scott Ludlam was forced to resign when he was found to be a dual citizen and in contravention of section 44 of the Australian Constitution. On 27 October 2017, the High Court of Australia, sitting as the Court of Disputed Returns, ordered the Australian Electoral Commission to conduct a recount of senate ballots in Western Australia, and Steele-John was declared elected at age twenty-three, making him the youngest sitting member in the Australian parliament and youngest senator.[2]

Steele-John was re-elected to the Senate at the 2019 federal election, securing 11.8% of the state's vote, with a swing of 1.48% in his favour.[5]

As the youngest person in the Senate, Steele-John has been engaged in the youth climate movement since its inception. He is passionate about addressing the climate crisis.

Steele-John was named the McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year in March 2019 for his leadership as a disability advocate.[6][7] In 2021 he wrote an essay that appeared in the Growing Up Disabled in Australia anthology published by Black Inc Books.[8]

Political positionsEdit

Disability Rights and ServicesEdit

In February 2018, Steele-John called for a Royal Commission into disabled prisoner abuse.[9] In April 2018, Steele-John commented on Parliament House's need to become more wheelchair friendly.[10]

In 2019, Steele-John's campaigning successfully led to the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. After years of raising the alarm that the confidentiality provisions in the Disability Royal Commission are insufficient, in 2021 he helped secure amendments that protect people making confidential disclosures to the Royal Commission.

In 2020, Steele-John successfully campaigned for a compensation scheme for thalidomide survivors, and in 2021 pressured the government to abolish independent assessments in the NDIS.[11] He continues to campaign to increase the Disability Support Pension (DSP) and carers payment.

Health and Mental HealthEdit

In 2021, Steele-John took on the Australian Greens’ Health and Mental Health portfolio and announced the Greens’ policy to expand Medicare to cover mental health treatment.[12]

Climate ActionEdit

Steele-John is a strong proponent for urgent climate action. In 2018, he introduced a Senate motion to condemn the lifting of the Western Australian fracking moratorium, which was unsuccessful.

PeaceEdit

In 2020, Steele-John introduced the Defence Amendment (Parliamentary Approval of Overseas Service) Bill 2020, which seeks to ensure the decision to go to war is made by the Parliament, not the Prime Minister.[13]

An active anti-nuclear campaigner, Steele-John is a strong advocate for Australia's signing of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, and to rethink the AUKUS alliance.

Video gamesEdit

In February 2018, Steele-John expressed disappointment at the lack of government support for the Australian video game development industry.[14][15]

Voting ageEdit

In 2018, Steele-John introduced a bill to lower the voting age to sixteen.[16] He argued that age would be in line with Austria, Argentina, Brazil and Scotland. The bill was not passed by parliament.[17]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Hutchens, Gareth (11 November 2017). "Jordon Steele-John, the 'political nerd' who is ringing the changes". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 October 2021.
  2. ^ a b McCauley, Dana (19 July 2017). "Meet the 22-year-old university student in line to become an instant senator". news.com.au. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  3. ^ "'I want the job': 22-year-old Greens Jordon Steele-John to replace Scott Ludlam in Senate". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 22 August 2017.
  4. ^ Donovan, Samantha (21 July 2017). "Jordon Steele-John ready to take Scott Ludlam's Senate seat". ABC News. Retrieved 2 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Senate Results – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". ABC News. Retrieved 21 July 2019.
  6. ^ Koziol, Michael (20 March 2019). "'She's quite remarkable': Penny Wong awarded major prize for political leadership". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  7. ^ "Penny Wong and Jordon Steele-John celebrated for political leadership". University of Melbourne Newsroom. University of Melbourne. 20 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  8. ^ Growing up disabled in Australia. Carly Findlay. Carlton, Vic. 2021. ISBN 978-1-76064-143-6. OCLC 1143363308.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. ^ Butler, Josh (7 February 2018). "Disabled Australian Prisoners Raped, Abused, Kept In Solitary". HuffPost Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  10. ^ "Jordon Steele-John has the loneliest seat in the Senate, and it's locking him out of the parliamentary process". www.msn.com. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  11. ^ "The federal government has scrapped its controversial NDIS independent assessments plan". SBS News. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  12. ^ "Senator Jordon Steele-John Is Now The 1st Ever Health Spokesperson With A Physical Disability". Pedestrian TV. 20 September 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  13. ^ "'Sadness and frustration over Afghanistan': Greens push for bill to restrict PM's war powers". ABC News. 29 August 2021. Retrieved 14 October 2021.
  14. ^ Beech, Alexandra (5 February 2018). "Video game developers express frustration at Government inaction". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  15. ^ Sadler, Denham (7 February 2018). "Game devs will now look offshore". InnovationAus. Retrieved 12 February 2018.
  16. ^ "WA Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John pushes to drop voting age to 16". PerthNow. 23 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  17. ^ "Legal Voting Age by Country". WorldAtlas. 7 September 2017. Retrieved 21 July 2019.

External linksEdit