|Member of the Australian Parliament
7 September 2013
|Preceded by||Simon Crean|
|Majority||7 percentage points|
12 September 1980 |
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Alma mater||Monash University
Clare Ellen O'Neil (born 12 September 1980) is an Australian politician. In 2013 she was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the Labor member for Hotham in Melbourne's south-east. Prior to entering Parliament, O'Neil worked at McKinsey & Company as a management consultant; and at 23 became Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong, making her the youngest female mayor in Australian history.
Early life and education
O'Neil was born in Melbourne in 1980, the daughter of prolific Australian publishers Anne O'Donovan and Lloyd O'Neil. She undertook her VCE at Loreto Mandeville Hall in Toorak, where she also served on the school council. She then undertook further education at Monash University, studying a Bachelor of Arts (History), and then a Bachelor of Laws, graduating with honours in both fields. In 2006, she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to undertake a Master of Public Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
O'Neil joined the Australian Labor Party at 16 and soon met Simon Crean, former party leader and her predecessor as the member for Hotham. In her maiden speech, O'Neil described Crean as one of her "Labor heroes" and "a person in whose footsteps I am honoured to walk".
In March 2003, O'Neil ran as a candidate for Springvale South Ward in the City of Greater Dandenong and was subsequently elected. After one year in the position, she was also elected as Mayor, becoming the youngest female mayor of a local government area in Australian history.
In 2007, while studying in the United States, O'Neil worked as an intern on the New York Stock Exchange; and in 2008 returned to Australia to serve briefly as an adviser to the Office of the Commonwealth Treasurer. In 2009 O'Neil began work for the global management consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.
O'Neil was endorsed as a late replacement candidate for the Australian Labor Party in Hotham at the 2013 Australian federal election, following the disendorsement of her friend Geoff Lake. She retained the seat for Labor and was quickly flagged by political commentators as a future Labor front bencher.
In a 2013 interview with Michelle Grattan, O'Neil nominated four areas as priorities for her in politics: economics, child welfare, women's issues, and the welfare of Indigenous Australians. She has also spoken passionately on issues such as human rights violations in Cambodia, primary, secondary, and higher education, asylum seeker policy, and ALP party reform.
In her maiden speech O'Neil placed an emphasis on the importance of a strong economy in effecting a fair society and stemming disadvantage. She stated that whilst she believed "government should not be building great tariff walls or controlling the big macroeconomic levers", it did in practice provide "the platform on which our businesses compete – and win – globally" and that political leaders must therefore play a role in providing "good policy and clear communication" on the topic. O'Neil cites her family's history, work at McKinsey & Company, and experiences in indigenous communities as influencial in shaping her views on the economy.
In 2011 O'Neil spent nine months living with her partner in North East Arnhem Land, one of the northernmost regions of the Northern Territory, fostering a child and assisting local women to establish small businesses. During her time in the region she witnessed crises in health, housing, and employment; and she has since spoken in Parliament on her desire to see action taken to resolve them: "For many decades politicians have said it is shameful. I want my generation to be the last to have to say it."
When asked to nominate those political figures she most admires, O'Neil has said that she draws inspiration from Julia Gillard, an "absolute political warrior"; Tanya Plibersek, the current deputy opposition leader; and Jenny Macklin. O'Neil said she admired their ability to "maintain a good sense of what it is to be a woman but also survive in a very masculine and antagonistic political environment" and that she would be observing Plibersek and Macklin in Parliament "to see how it's done".
O'Neil lives in Hotham's east with her partner Brendan, an anaesthetist, and their young son. Whilst living in the Northern Territory, O'Neil and her partner also cared for a child as foster parents.
- "Senators and Members: Ms Clare O'Neil MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- Monash University (2005). Two win Fulbright Scholarships. Retrieved 22 April 2006.
- "First Speech: Clare O'Neil MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 June 2014.
- George Negus Tonight (2006). Clare O'Neil. Retrieved 22 April 2006.
- Nguyen, Kenneth (18 March 2003). "At 23, Clare the Mayor makes Australian history". Melbourne: The Age. Archived from the original on 24 December 2010.
- "Former mayor selected to replace axed Labor candidate in Hotham". The Age (Melbourne).
- Peter Van Onselen (14 September 2013). "Only a competent team can spur Labor renewal". The Australian.
- "Clare O'Neil & Angus Taylor". Politics with Michelle Grattan. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Motion on Cambodia". YouTube: Clare O'Neil MP. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Education in Hotham". YouTube: Clare O'Neil MP. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Abbotts' Budget punishes the poorest students". YouTube: Clare O'Neil MP. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- "Asylum Seekers and Truth". YouTube: Clare O'Neil. Retrieved 10 June 2014.
- O'Neil, Clare (13 October 2013). "Labor must do more to free itself from factional chiefs". Melbourne: The Age.
|Parliament of Australia|
|Member for Hotham