David Simmons (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
David Simmons
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Calare
In office
5 March 1983 – 29 January 1996
Preceded by Sandy Mackenzie
Succeeded by Peter Andren
Personal details
Born (1947-01-07) 7 January 1947 (age 68)
Broken Hill, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Kaye Scoble
Residence Newcastle, New South Wales
Alma mater University of New England
Occupation Teacher, government consultant

David William Simmons, OAM (born 7 November 1947), a former Australian politician, was a member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1983 to 1996, representing the seat of Calare for the Australian Labor Party. Simmons held several junior Ministerial positions in the Hawke and Keating Governments.

Early career[edit]

Simmons was born in Broken Hill, New South Wales and arrived in Bathurst, New South Wales in 1965 and commenced study for teacher training at Bathurst Teacher's College.[1]

After graduation, Simmons taught at Tullibigeal Central, Bletchington and Broken Hill North before changing to secondary teaching and transferring to Bathurst High School where he became Head Teacher of Social Science. He had also completed a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters of Education with honours from the University of New England.[2]

Simmons was an elected Alderman on Bathurst City Council from 1978 to 1983.

Federal political career[edit]

Simmons was elected to the Australian House of Representatives seat of Calare at the 1983 federal election, after two unsuccessful attempts,[2] representing the Australian Labor Party. Simmons was re-elected as Member for Calare at the 1984, 1987, 1990, and 1993 Australian federal elections.[3]

He was appointed Minister for Defence Science and Personnel in April 1989 in the third Hawke ministry. In April 1990, in the fourth Hawke ministry, Simmons became Minister for the Arts, Tourism and Territories. In December 1991, Simmons became Minister for Family Support from and Minister for Local Government in the first Keating ministry. Following the March 1993 Australian federal election, Simmons was not re-appointed to the second Keating ministry.[3]

During the National Tax Summit in 1985, Simmons initially raised the concept of a national identity card, later entitled as the Australia Card, as a measure to address community and government concern about tax evasion and tax avoidance; concerns over the extent of welfare fraud; fears over the extent of illegal immigration. Additionally, there was a belief expressed in some quarters that an identity card or national registration procedure might assist the government's administration processes.[4] Legislation was introduced into Parliament and finally rejected by the Australian Senate in 1987 after significant community concerns, including privacy.[5] Following his retirement from Parliament, Simmons conceded that he didn’t think the concept would ever be accepted by the public.[2]

During his Parliamentary career, Simmons was the Australian representative at the UN in New York for three months and delivered an address on the apartheid policy in South Africa.[2]

Simmons retired from Parliament ahead of the 1996 federal election[3] and moved to Newcastle.

Post political career[edit]

Since his retirement from politics, Simmons has served on a number of government and non-profit Boards, including:

  • Chief Executive Officer of Newcastle and Hunter Business Chamber (1997–2001)
  • General Manager of Newcastle Regional Chamber of Commerce (1997 -1998?)
  • Director of Tourism NSW (1997–2003)[6]
  • Chairman of the Hunter Medical Research Institute Foundation (2002–2003)
  • Director of the Regional Land Management Corporation (a subsidiary of the Hunter Water Corporation) (2003–2005)[7]
  • President of the New South Wales division of the National Heart Foundation of Australia (2006–2009).[8]

During 2006, Simmons was appointed by the NSW Minister for Local Government to undertake a formal public inquiry into Broken Hill City Council.[9]

Simmons' wife, Kaye, has also held positions in the New South Wales division of the Labor Party. In 2006, it was reported that she was on the ALP administrative committee and served as campaign manager for Jodi McKay, Labor candidate and subsequent Member for Newcastle.[10]


In 2001, Simmons was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to the Australian Parliament and the community of the Hunter Region.[11]


  1. ^ "Panorama". A Magazine for Alumni and Friends of Bathurst Teachers' College, Issue 16. Charles Sturt University. August 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Panorama". A Magazine for Alumni and Friends of Bathurst Teachers' College, Issue 16. Charles Sturt University. August 2009. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "Biography for Simmons, the Hon. David William". ParlInfo Web. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2000. 
  4. ^ "The Loose Cannon: An overview of campaigns of opposition to National Identity Card proposals". Australian Privacy Foundation. February 2004. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  5. ^ "Just Another Piece of Plastic for your Wallet: The 'Australia Card' Scheme (Addendum)". Computers and Society – Vol. 18, No. 3. July 1988. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "2004 Annual Report of the NSW Department of Tourism, Sport and Recreation". New South Wales Government. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "2003 Annual Report of the Hunter Water Corporation". Hunter Water Corporation. Retrieved 24 July 2010. [dead link]
  8. ^ "Heart Foundation (New South Wales) Board". National Heart Foundation of Australia. Retrieved 12 February 2000. [dead link]
  9. ^ "About the Broken Hill City Council Public Inquiry". New South Wales Government. Retrieved 30 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Murphy, Damien (11 November 2006). "Labor's broken heartland". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Australian Honours". Australian Government. 26 January 2001. Retrieved 24 July 2010. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Ros Kelly
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
Succeeded by
Gordon Bilney
Preceded by
Clyde Holding
Minister for the Arts, Tourism and Territories
Succeeded by
Wendy Fatin
New title Minister for Family Support
Succeeded by
Rosemary Crowley
Preceded by
Wendy Fatin
Minister for Local Government
Succeeded by
Brian Howe
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Sandy Mackenzie
Member for Calare
Succeeded by
Peter Andren