Scott Ryan (Australian politician)

Scott Michael Ryan (born 12 May 1973) is a former Australian politician who served as Senator for Victoria from 2008 to 2021, representing the Liberal Party. He has been the President of the Senate since 2017, having previously been a minister in the Turnbull Government from 2016 to 2017. In March 2020 he announced he would not seek re-election to the Senate at the next federal election.

Scott Ryan
Scott Ryan April 2018 01.jpg
Ryan in April 2018
25th President of the Australian Senate
In office
13 November 2017 – 13 October 2021
DeputySue Lines
Preceded byStephen Parry
Succeeded bySlade Brockman
Special Minister of State
In office
19 July 2016 – 13 November 2017
Preceded byMathias Cormann
Succeeded byMathias Cormann (acting)
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet
In office
24 January 2017 – 13 November 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byHimself (as Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary)
Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary
In office
15 September 2015 – 24 January 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded bynew title
Succeeded byHimself (as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet)
Minister for Vocational Education and Skills
In office
18 February 2016 – 19 July 2016
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byLuke Hartsuyker
Succeeded byKaren Andrews (as Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills)
Senator for Victoria
In office
1 July 2008 – 13 October 2021
Succeeded byGreg Mirabella
Personal details
Scott Michael Ryan

(1973-05-12) 12 May 1973 (age 48)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLiberal
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne

Early lifeEdit

Ryan was born on 12 May 1973, in Brisbane, Queensland.[1] He grew up in Essendon, Victoria. He was educated at St Kevin's College, Melbourne,[2] and graduated from the University of Melbourne, with a Bachelor of Arts.[2] While at university, he served as president of the Melbourne University Liberal Club and was a member of the Australian Liberal Students' Federation, where he is a life member.[3]

Ryan was a tutor in political science at the University of Melbourne from 1998 to 1999. He then worked as a speechwriter and staffer in the office of the Victorian opposition leader Denis Napthine.[1] From 2002 to 2007 he worked in corporate affairs for pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.[4][5] He was a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs from 2007 to 2008.[1]


Ryan was a member of the executive of the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party, holding the office of vice president.[2] He was elected to a six-year Senate term at the 2007 federal election, commencing on 1 July 2008.[2] He was preselected in the third position on the Coalition ticket in Victoria.[2] He was re-elected to a second six-year term at the 2013 election, which was cut short by a double dissolution.

Ryan was re-elected at the 2016 Australian federal election. The first sitting of the new Senate allocated which senators were elected for only three years and which received a full six-year term. As a consequence of which method was chosen to allocate the six-year and three-year term seats, Ryan was one of the two senators (the other being Deborah O'Neill) who received a six-year term instead of a three-year term.[6]

Government ministerEdit

Following the 2013 federal election that resulted in the formation of the Abbott Ministry, Ryan was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education;[7] later expanded as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education and Training.[8] Ryan served as the Minister for Vocational Education and Skills following a rearrangement in the First Turnbull Ministry, between February and July 2016.[9][10] In March 2016, he stated his opposition to a federal takeover of vocational education from the states.[11] Ryan was appointed the Special Minister for State in the first arrangement of the Second Turnbull ministry and gained additional responsibilities as the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet in a subsequent rearrangement.[12]

Ryan took extended leave for medical reasons in July 2017,[13] following an illness that required admission to intensive care.[14]

President of the SenateEdit

On 13 November 2017, Ryan was elected President of the Senate, winning by 53 votes to 11 for Senator Peter Whish-Wilson of the Greens. He resigned his ministerial posts to take up the position.[15] His predecessor Stephen Parry resigned from the Senate during the parliamentary eligibility crisis, after discovering he was a dual citizen of the United Kingdom.[15] Ryan is the first former government minister to become President of the Senate since Doug McClelland (1983–1987), and the first person to resign from the ministry to take up the position. He took office at the age of 44, surpassing Kerry Sibraa (who was 49) as the youngest person to assume the presidency.[16]

Ryan stated that he would continue to sit in the Liberal partyroom during his presidency but would not participate in debate.[17] Following the 2019 election, he was re-elected to the presidency on 2 July 2019.[18] According to the Guardian Australia, he was "well regarded on both sides of the chamber".[19] In August 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, he criticised the quarantine regimes of the state and territory governments as an infringement on the rights of parliamentarians.[20]

In March 2020 Ryan announced he would retire from federal parliament at the next federal election, citing his unwillingness to serve another six-year term and that "constant renewal is essential for every political party". He initially committed to remaining as president until the end of his Senate term in 2022,[21] but on 24 September 2021 announced his intention to resign from the Senate before parliament sat on 18 October 2021.[14] He officially resigned on 13 October 2021.[1]

Political positionsEdit

Ryan described himself in 2018 as "very liberal in my political outlook" but with a conservative disposition.[22] He was aligned with the faction in the Victorian Liberals associated with Peter Costello and Michael Kroger.[23] After the Liberal candidate Dave Sharma was defeated by Independent Kerryn Phelps at the 2018 Wentworth by-election, he called for the party to maintain its ideological diversity.[22]

Personal lifeEdit

Ryan has two sons with his wife Helen and lives in Melbourne.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d "Senator the Hon Scott Ryan". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Biography". Official website. Scott Ryan.[self-published source?]
  3. ^ "ALSF Life Members". Australian Liberal Students' Federation. Retrieved 19 September 2013.
  4. ^ Schubert, Misha (19 June 2006). "Costello's crew power ahead on road to Senate". The Age. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  5. ^ "Candidate for Victoria Mr Scott Ryan". Liberal Party of Australia, Victorian Division. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2008.
  6. ^ "Election 2016: Pauline Hanson secures six-year Senate term, Derryn Hinch has three years until re-election". ABC News. 12 August 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Abbott Ministry" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  8. ^ "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  9. ^ Massola, James (13 February 2016). "Cabinet reshuffle: Malcolm Turnbull announces new frontbench as Mal Brough resigns". The Age. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  10. ^ "Ministerial Swearing-in Ceremony". Events. Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  11. ^ Knott, Matthew (11 March 2016). "Vocational education minister Scott Ryan pours cold water on federal VET takeover". The Age. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  12. ^ "New federal ministers officially sworn in". Sky News. Australia. AAP. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  13. ^ "Health issues force minister to take leave". SBS News. 28 July 2017. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  14. ^ a b Harris, Rob (24 September 2021). "Senate President Scott Ryan's resignation leaves Liberals scrambling". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  15. ^ a b "Scott Ryan elected new president of Senate". News. Retrieved 13 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Scott Ryan resigns from Turnbull ministry to replace Stephen Parry as Senate president". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 November 2017. Retrieved 19 August 2018.
  17. ^ Murphy, Katharine (24 November 2017). "Scott Ryan on trust, partisanship and why he left Turnbull's frontbench". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Senate Daily Summary – 2 to 4 July 2019". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  19. ^ Murphy, Katharine (24 September 2021). "Senate president Scott Ryan to leave parliament next month". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  20. ^ Burgess, Katie (24 August 2020). "Parliamentarian coronavirus quarantine rules have dangerous consequences: Scott Ryan". Canberra Times. Retrieved 21 September 2021.
  21. ^ "Victorian Senator Scott Ryan announces he will leave federal parliament at the next election". Herald Sun. 8 March 2020. Retrieved 8 March 2020.
  22. ^ a b Grattan, Michelle (26 November 2018). "Senate president Scott Ryan launches grenade against the right". The Conversation. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  23. ^ Schubert, Misha (19 June 2006). "Costello's crew power ahead on road to Senate". The Age. Retrieved 24 September 2021.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Vocational Education and Skills
Succeeded byas Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills
Preceded by Special Minister of State
Succeeded by
Mathias Cormann (acting)
New title Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary
Succeeded by
as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet
Preceded by
as Minister Assisting the Cabinet Secretary
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cabinet
Position abolished
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by President of the Senate
Succeeded by