Peter Malinauskas

Peter Bryden Malinauskas (born 14 August 1980[1][2]) is an Australian politician, serving as leader of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition following the 2018 state election.

Peter Malinauskas

Peter Malinauskas.jpg
Leader of the Opposition in South Australia
Assumed office
9 April 2018
PremierSteven Marshall
DeputySusan Close
Preceded bySteven Marshall
Leader of the South Australian Labor Party
Assumed office
9 April 2018
DeputySusan Close
Preceded byJay Weatherill
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Croydon
Assumed office
17 March 2018
Preceded byMichael Atkinson
Member of the South Australian Legislative Council
In office
1 December 2015 – 17 March 2018
Preceded byBernard Finnigan
Personal details
Born (1980-08-14) 14 August 1980 (age 39)[1][2]
South Australia, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party (SA)
Spouse(s)Annabel West[1]
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide

First entering state parliament as a member of the South Australian Legislative Council from 2015, he held Cabinet portfolios in the Weatherill Ministry from 2016, before moving to the South Australian House of Assembly seat of Croydon in 2018.

Early lifeEdit

Malinauskas was born in South Australia to Kathryn (Kate) née May and Peter Malinauskas.[3] Malinauskas' paternal Hungarian grandmother Eta survived World War II and escaped the post-war communist Hungarian state when she emigrated to Bathurst in New South Wales.[1] She married Peter Malinauskas Sr, a Lithuanian refugee, and the couple moved to Adelaide, later opening a fish and chip shop.[1][4] Malinauskas' mother's forebears were middle-class Irish.[1]

In his school years, Malinauskas' family resided in Colonel Light Gardens.[1] Being from a Catholic family, Malinauskas was sent to Mercedes College where he displayed leadership potential in football and cricket, as well as excelling in his studies.[1] He was a member of the student representative council and was school captain in year 12.[1] Mercedes College principal Peter Daw recalled Malinauskas as being "a future leader".[1] Additionally, Daw recalled Malinauskas as being "one of those kids involved in lots of things" and a "popular lad" with a "magnetic personality that appealed to teachers and students alike".[1]

Union figureEdit

Malinauskas worked for Woolworths for seven years from age 15, first as a trolley boy and later a checkout operator and nightfiller.[5] He formed an early and enduring political relationship with Don Farrell through Woolworths workers' unionism. During his time at Woolworths, Malinauskas obtained a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Adelaide. He became an influential union official who served from 2008 to 2015 as Secretary of the South Australian/Northern Territory branch of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association (SDA),[1] the major player in the dominant Labor Right faction of the South Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party.[6] In August 2011, some media outlets claimed Malinauskas was the sole "faceless man" who informed Mike Rann he had lost the support of his party and to step down as Premier of South Australia in favour of Jay Weatherill.[7] Malinauskas was elected in July 2015 to Labor's National Executive at the party's National Conference.[8]

Political viewsEdit

Asked about progressive political issues in 2011 such as same sex marriage, stem-cell research, euthanasia and abortion, Malinauskas said his personal views would be "considered socially conservative" and went on to state "I didn't get involved in the Australian labour movement because of any of these issues. I believe in the fair go but I get frustrated with left-wing ideology that focuses more on imposing equality than providing for equality of opportunity. This is why I'm passionate about Australian educationuniversal access to quality schooling gives everyone the chance to succeed".[1]

Asked about nuclear power in South Australia, Malinauskas in 2014 said he was pro-nuclear despite Labor at the time remaining opposed to the establishment of a new nuclear waste repository or nuclear power plant in South Australia. Malinauskas stated "I believe climate change is a real challenge we need to face up to, and nuclear energy can be a safe source of base load power, with zero carbon emissions" and "we should have a mature debate based on science and economics to determine if a nuclear industry is viable in South Australia". In March 2015 Labor initiated a Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission,[9] and in 2016 launched a "Get to know nuclear" campaign to further explore the Commission's findings. In October 2016 at the South Australian Labor party conference, Malinauskas spoke of the protesters who had gathered outside in opposition to the establishment of new nuclear waste storage facilities. He told delegates: "The difference between us and them, of course, is that we take very seriously our obligation to make sure that our ideology is underpinned by evidence."[10]


Following the parliamentary resignation of Bernard Finnigan on 12 November 2015, Malinauskas filled the Legislative Council casual vacancy in a joint sitting of the Parliament of South Australia on 1 December.[11]

Premier Jay Weatherill indicated that Malinauskas could enter the Cabinet of South Australia in an early 2016 ministerial reshuffle,[12][13][14] with reports of media speculation and internal party talk suggesting Malinauskas could potentially become the next Labor Premier of South Australia, entering the House of Assembly through preselection as the next Labor candidate in Labor's safest lower house seat of Croydon with claims that incumbent Michael Atkinson "has long been willing to vacate his seat to Malinauskas if he ever wanted it".[15][16] Atkinson announced in February 2017 that he would be retiring from parliament as of the 2018 election.[17] Malinauskas confirmed he would be nominating for preselection.[18]

Malinauskas served in the Cabinet of South Australia in the Weatherill Ministry between January 2016 and March 2018, holding, at various times, ministerial portfolios with responsibility for police (2016−2017), correctional services (2016−2017), emergency services (2016−2017), road safety (2016−2017), health (2017−2018), and mental health and substance abuse (2017−2018).[19][20][21]

Malinauskas won the seat of Croydon at the 2018 election.[22]

Labor leadershipEdit

Following the resignation of Jay Weatherill after the 2018 election, a caucus meeting on 9 April 2018 elected Malinauskas as Labor Leader. He consequently became Leader of the Opposition, with Susan Close as deputy.[23][24][25]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Crouch, Brad (20 August 2011). "Meet Peter Malinauskas: South Australia's political wishmaker". Sunday Mail. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b Great photo and Happy Birthday to Labor Leader Peter Malinauskas:
  3. ^ "Family Notices Births - MALINAUSKAS–MAY", The Advertiser, 1980, Peter Bryden [...] to Peter & Kathryn [...]
  4. ^ "Outcomes, not ideology, says Labor's rising star". 3 December 2015. Labor's rising star Peter Malinauskas has paid tribute to his refugee grandparents during his maiden speech in South Australia's parliament. [...] His Hungarian grandmother Eta and Lithuanian grandfather Peter fled to SA after World War II, eventually opening a fish and chips shop. [...]
  5. ^ Peter Malinauskas biography: Working Life
  6. ^ "Shops union maybe the king maker in Labor's leadership struggle". The Advertiser. 1 August 2011.
  7. ^ "The audacious king makers in Labor's power struggle". The Advertiser. 3 August 2011.
  8. ^ "Labor National Executive".
  9. ^ Kemp, Miles (21 February 2014). "Nuclear debate 'a must' for South Australia, says union boss". The Advertiser. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  10. ^ "SA Premier heckled as Labor delays decision on nuclear dump". ABC News. 29 October 2016. Retrieved 30 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Union boss endorsed by SA Labor to fill Finnigan's Upper House seat". ABC News. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  12. ^ "Union leader Peter Malinauskas nominates for Bernard Finnigan's seat in South Australian Parliament". ABC News.
  13. ^ "Malinauskas to join State Parliament". NewsComAu. 17 November 2015.
  14. ^ "Peter Malinauskas formally fills Legislative Council vacancy in South Australian Parliament". ABC News.
  15. ^ "Labor power plays as Jay keeps faction in check: InDaily". 19 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Peter Malinauskas, the man who would be Premier". The Advertiser. 1 December 2015.
  17. ^ "State Labor MPs Michael Atkinson, Jennifer Rankine and Steph Key quitting politics at next election". The Advertiser. 3 February 2017.
  18. ^ "ALP rising star Peter Malinauskas to nominate for safe Labor seat of Croydon". The Advertiser. 6 February 2017.
  19. ^ Cabinet of South Australia: Archived 21 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Peter Malinauskas, Leesa Vlahos confirmed as new members of SA Labor ministry". ABC News. Australia. 18 January 2016.
  21. ^ "Reshuffle, Peter Malinauskas and Leesa Vlahos join Jay Weatherill's Cabinet". The Advertiser. 18 January 2016.
  22. ^ Croydon - 2018 election: ABC
  23. ^ "Peter Malinauskas sets the tone for SA Labor Opposition after meteoric rise". 9 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Malinauskas takes charge: 'We need to listen to SA'". 9 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Ex union boss Peter Malinauskas elected SA's opposition leader, with Susan Close as deputy". 9 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.

External linksEdit

Parliament of South Australia
Preceded by
Bernard Finnigan
Member of the South Australian Legislative Council
Served alongside: Multiple Members
Succeeded by
Multiple Members
Preceded by
Michael Atkinson
Member for Croydon
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Piccolo
Minister for Police
Succeeded by
Chris Picton
Minister for Correctional Services
Minister for Emergency Services
Minister for Road Safety
Preceded by
Jack Snelling
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Stephen Wade
as Minister for Health and Wellbeing
Preceded by
Leesa Vlahos
Minister for Mental Health & Substance Abuse
Preceded by
Steven Marshall
Leader of the Opposition
in South Australia

Party political offices
Preceded by
Jay Weatherill
Leader of the Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)