Christopher Pyne

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For other people named Christopher Pyne, see Christopher Pyne (disambiguation).
The Honourable
Christopher Pyne
Photo of the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Federal Member for Sturt in Parliament of Australia.jpg
Leader of the House
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Deputy Luke Hartsuyker
Preceded by Anthony Albanese
Minister for Education and Training
Assumed office
18 September 2013
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Preceded by Bill Shorten
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
In office
16 February 2009 – 18 September 2013
Deputy Luke Hartsuyker
Leader Malcolm Turnbull
Tony Abbott
Preceded by Joe Hockey
Succeeded by Tony Burke
Minister for Ageing
In office
21 March 2007 – 3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Santo Santoro
Succeeded by Justine Elliot
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Sturt
Assumed office
13 March 1993
Preceded by Ian Wilson
Personal details
Born (1967-08-13) 13 August 1967 (age 47)
Adelaide, South Australia
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Carolyn Pyne; 4 children
Alma mater University of Adelaide, University of South Australia
Profession Lawyer, politician
Religion Roman Catholicism

Christopher Maurice Pyne, MP (born 13 August 1967), Australian politician, has been a Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives since 13 March 1993, representing the Division of Sturt, South Australia.[1] Pyne has been the Minister for Education and the Leader of the House in the Abbott Government since 18 September 2013,[2] and Minister for Education and Training since December 2014.

Early years and education[edit]

Pyne was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1967, and was educated at Saint Ignatius' College, Adelaide and the University of Adelaide, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and was President of Adelaide University Liberal Club from 1987 to 1988.[3][4]


He was a research assistant to Senator Amanda Vanstone and later became President of the South Australian Young Liberals from 1988–1990. Pyne was selected as the Liberal candidate for the state seat of Ross Smith – a safe Labor seat – at the 1989 election, but was defeated by the sitting member and Premier of South Australia, John Bannon.[5] He earned a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the University of South Australia and began practising as a solicitor in 1991.

Political career[edit]

Pyne in 2006.

At the 1993 Australian federal election, aged 25, Pyne was elected to the Division of Sturt in the House of Representatives. He had earlier defeated Ian Wilson, who had held the seat for most of the time since 1966, in a pre-selection battle for the seat. Wilson was 35 years' Pyne's senior; indeed, he had won his first election a year before Pyne was born.[1]

Pyne is a republican[6] and established himself as a member of the moderate, "small-l liberal" faction of the Liberal Party, supporting then Deputy Leader Peter Costello. In 1994, after serving in the backbenches for a period, Pyne was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Social Security. He retained this position after John Howard was elected as leader, and up to the 1996 election.[4]

After the Coalition victory at the 1996 election, he remained in the backbench. In 2003, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services, where he remained until 2004, when named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing.[4] As Parliamentary Secretary, he defended the government's "War on drugs" and established his strong support of illicit drug prohibition, as opposed to harm minimisation.[7]

He is an advocate for mental health, founding the youth mental health initiative, Headspace during his time as Parliamentary Secretary.[8] He remained as Parliamentary Secretary until 30 January 2007 when he was appointed Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing. He held this portfolio until 21 March, when he was appointed Minister for Ageing, succeeding resigning Minister, Senator Santo Santoro.[1] Pyne chaired the Australia Israel Parliamentary group from 1996 to 2004.[5]

In Opposition[edit]

Pyne came close to losing Sturt at the 2007 federal election to Labor candidate Mia Handshin, after suffering a primary vote swing of 4.5 percent and a two-party swing of 5.9 percent, to finish with 50.9 percent of the two-party vote. Following the election in which the John Howard-led Coalition government was defeated by the Kevin Rudd-led Labor opposition, Pyne put himself forward as a candidate for Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. In a ballot of Liberal parliamentary members, Julie Bishop prevailed with 44 votes, ahead of Andrew Robb, who won 25 votes, and Pyne 18 votes.[9] Following the election of Brendan Nelson as party leader, Pyne was appointed Shadow Minister for Justice and Border Protection.[10]

Following Malcolm Turnbull's election as Liberal Party Leader in September 2008, Pyne was elevated to the position of Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training.[11] After Deputy Leader Julie Bishop stepped down from the portfolio of Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey took up the portfolio, with Pyne replacing Hockey as Manager of Opposition Business. Pyne was reappointed as Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training and Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives by Tony Abbott when he became Leader of the Opposition after deposing Malcolm Turnbull.[12]

On one occasion during Question Time, Pyne called Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard a "foxy moron" after Gillard called him a "poodle". A few days later, The Advertiser drew a political cartoon showing Pyne's head on the body of a poodle.[13]

Pyne was re-elected at the 2010 federal election, receiving a primary vote swing of 0.9 percent and a two-party swing of 2.5 percent, to finish with 53.4 percent of the two-party vote.[14] In September 2010 he was re-appointed to Abbott's Shadow Ministry as Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training and Manager of Opposition Business in the House of Representatives.[15]

Abbott Government[edit]

Pyne was re-elected at the 2013 federal election, receiving a primary vote swing of 6.3 percent and a two-party swing of 6.51 percent, to finish with 60.11 percent of the two-party vote. On 18 September 2013 he was sworn in as Minister for Education and Leader of the House in the Abbott Government. In December 2014, he became Minister for Education and Training.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Christopher Pyne and his wife Carolyn, have four children and reside in Adelaide.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Costello backer gets his reward". Melbourne: The Age. 19 March 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  2. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Member for Sturt (SA)". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Chris Pyne Online". Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  5. ^ a b "Christopher Pyne online biography". Retrieved 20 October 2009. 
  6. ^ Political debate on ABC between Pyne, Mark Latham and moderator Tony Jones
  7. ^ "Government defends drugs policy". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 28 September 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2007. 
  8. ^ "Pyne launches youth mental health initiative". Department of Health and Ageing. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  9. ^ "Nelson's victory puts Turnbull on deck". Sydney Morning Herald. 20 November 2007. 
  10. ^ "Brendan Nelson announces shadow ministry". The Courier Mail. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2008. 
  11. ^ "SA's Chris Pyne named Education Spokesman in new Coalition frontbench". The Advertiser. Retrieved 22 September 2008. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Shock result as Abbott wins Liberal leadership by one vote ... ETS dead". Sydney Morning Herald. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2012. 
  13. ^ Madigan, Michael (27 February 2009). "Barking, biting dog House". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  14. ^ Sturt results – 2010 federal election: AEC
  15. ^ Parliamentary Handbook excerpt,; accessed 26 December 2014.
  16. ^ Parliament House Canberra press conference,, 21 December 2014; accessed 26 December 2014.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ian Wilson
Member for Sturt
1993 – present
Political offices
Preceded by
Santo Santoro
Minister for Ageing
Succeeded by
Justine Elliot
Preceded by
Bill Shorten
Minister for Education