Ben Wyatt

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For the fictional character, see Ben Wyatt (Parks and Recreation).
Ben Wyatt
MLA
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Victoria Park
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 March 2006
Preceded by Dr. Geoff Gallop
Personal details
Born (1974-04-01) 1 April 1974 (age 40)
Wewak, Territory of Papua New Guinea
Citizenship Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Vivianne Wyatt
Relations Cedric Wyatt (father), Ken Wyatt (cousin)
Alma mater University of Western Australia, Royal Military College, London School of Economics
Profession Lawyer

Benjamin Sana "Ben" Wyatt (born 1 April 1974) is an Australian politician who is the current Labor Party member for the seat of Victoria Park in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. Born in Wewak, Papua New Guinea, to Australian parents, Wyatt moved to Western Australia at an early age, where he attended Aquinas College in Perth. He went on to receive a law degree from the University of Western Australia, later attending the London School of Economics on a scholarship. Wyatt returned to Australia in 2002, where he worked as a lawyer. He was elected to parliament in 2006, at the Victoria Park by-election, replacing Geoff Gallop, a former premier. Wyatt currently serves as Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, amongst other portfolios.

Biography[edit]

Wyatt was born on 1 April 1974 in Wewak, a town on the northern coast of the-then Territory of Papua New Guinea. His parents were both school-teachers on an exchange program—his father, Cedric Wyatt, was originally from the Pilbara, and his mother was originally from Newcastle, New South Wales.[1] Wyatt has Yamatji heritage through his father, and his cousin, Ken Wyatt, was the first member of the Australian House of Representatives of Indigenous Australian descent.[2] His family returned to Perth, Western Australia, in 1976. Wyatt grew up in regional Western Australia, with his parents teaching in various locations in the Goldfields, including Laverton and Kalgoorlie. He returned to Perth to attend high school at Aquinas College, and later studied at the University of Western Australia, graduating with a Bachelor of Laws degree.[1] He also attended the Royal Military College, Duntroon, graduating as an officer in 1996, and later received the Australian Defence Medal. After working in law firms in Perth and Sydney, Wyatt received an Ambassadorial Scholarship in 2001 from the Rotary Foundation, allowing him to study comparative politics at the London School of Economics.[3]

After returning to Western Australia in 2002, Wyatt began working at Minter Ellison, one of the "Big Six" law firms in Australia.[1] He also worked at the Department of Public Prosecutions before running for parliament at the 2006 Victoria Park by-election, triggered by the resignation of Geoff Gallop, the Premier of Western Australia at the time. Wyatt won the seat with 49.38% of the vote and 61.18% of the two-party preferred vote, a swing of 7.93% and 4.86% away, respectively, from the Australian Labor Party, becoming the second-youngest sitting parliamentarian and the third Indigenous Australian in parliament. After Labor's defeat in the 2008 state election, Wyatt was promoted to the role of treasurer in the new shadow cabinet as well as Shadow Minister for Federal–State Relations and Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts.[4] In January 2011, Wyatt intended to challenge Eric Ripper as Leader of the Opposition and of the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia, but withdrew after finding little support amongst caucus members.[5][6] Ripper resigned from the position in January 2012, but Wyatt did not contest the leadership, with Mark McGowan was elected unopposed as Leader of the Opposition.[7]

List of portfolios[edit]

Wyatt has held the following portfolios since his election in 2006:[4]

  • 26 September 2008 – 8 April 2009: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Federal–State Relations; Shadow Minister for Culture and the Arts
  • 8 April 2009 – 27 January 2012: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Federal–State Relations
  • 27 January 2012 – 9 April 2013: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs; Shadow Minister for Native Title; Shadow Minister for Cost of Living
  • 9 April 2013 onwards: Shadow Treasurer; Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs; Shadow Minister for Native Title; Shadow Minister for Cost of Living; Shadow Minister for the Kimberley; Shadow Minister for the Pilbara

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Ben Wyatt" – West Weekend magazine. p. 18. Published 21–22 April 2012. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  2. ^ Cleary, Paul (2013). Meet Ben Wyatt, one of the most accomplished MPs you've never heard ofThe Australian. Published 9 March 2013. Retrieved 9 March 2013.
  3. ^ Wyatt’s First Speech in Parliament – Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 21 April 2012.
  4. ^ a b Mr Benjamin (Ben) Sana Wyatt MLA LLB, MSc – Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  5. ^ Jones, Lloyd (5 January 2011). "Wyatt to challenge for WA Labor leadership". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 5 January 2011. 
  6. ^ Wyatt withdraws leadership challenge: ABC News 7 January 2011
  7. ^ WA Opposition Leader Ripper resigns – Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Published 19 January 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012.

External links[edit]

Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Geoff Gallop
Member for Victoria Park
2006–present
Incumbent