Andrew Barr

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Andrew Barr
Andrew Barr 2016.JPG
7th Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Elections: 2016
Assumed office
11 December 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Deputy Simon Corbell
Yvette Berry
Preceded by Katy Gallagher
11th Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
In office
16 May 2011 – 11 December 2014
Preceded by Katy Gallagher
Succeeded by Simon Corbell
Member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly for Kurrajong
Assumed office
15 October 2016
Member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly for Molonglo
In office
5 April 2006 – 15 October 2016
Personal details
Born Andrew James Barr[1]
1973 (age 43–44)
Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch)
Domestic partner Anthony Toms
Alma mater Australian National University

Andrew James Barr (born 1973) is an Australian politician and Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory. He has been an Australian Labor Party member for the seat of Molonglo in the ACT Legislative Assembly since 5 April 2006, after being elected on a countback to replace former Treasurer Ted Quinlan, who resigned mid-term. Barr was immediately promoted to Cabinet upon his election. As one of only five Ministers in the Territory government, he held a number of portfolios: Treasurer, Economic Development, Community Services, Tourism, Sport and Recreation, and Tourism and Events.[2] On 11 December 2014 he was elected as Chief Minister after his predecessor, Katy Gallagher, resigned and announced her intention to run for the Senate.[3]

Barr was the first openly-LGBTI head of government in Australia from 2014, and was the first openly-LGBTI member as well as government cabinet minister in the ACT Legislative Assembly from 2006.[3][4]


Barr was born in Lismore, New South Wales, and was raised in Canberra, attending Holt Pre-School, the AME School, Turner Primary School, Lyneham High School and Lake Ginninderra College.[5] He studied political science, economics and economic history at the Australian National University, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Policy Studies).[6] Barr became involved in student politics, serving as Treasurer of the Australian National University Students' Association and as a director on the board of the Australian National University Union. After graduating in 1995, he worked for the Federal parliamentarian Annette Ellis and later the then ACT Opposition Leader Jon Stanhope, before embarking on a career change to the private sector in 1999 as a media analyst and account manager.

During the 1990s Barr became a leading influence within the right faction of ACT Labor (Centre Coalition) and was involved in the successful election of the first non-left faction ACT party secretary, Michael Kerrisk. In 2006, Barr said, "When I came out in the late '90s I had already been in the party for some eight years, so people were already used to me.... But it was at this time though that I decided to step back from front-line politics. It was a big change in my life and it was at this time that I met my partner Anthony, so I just needed time to adjust."[7]

He returned to political life in 2002 as a senior adviser to John Hargreaves, the Government Whip. Following Hargreaves' election to the ministry in November 2004, Barr was appointed his chief of staff – a position he held until his election to the Assembly in April 2006.

Political career[edit]

Barr in 2015

In early 2004, Barr won pre-selection for the Labor ticket in the seven-member Molonglo electorate, which includes Barr's suburb of Dickson and that of his previous residence in Braddon. He campaigned largely on financial management, housing affordability and urban infrastructure issues, such as balanced territory budgets, tax concessions for first home buyers, inner city parking permits and footpath and street lighting upgrades, while also expressing support for gay law reform, the reproductive rights of women, multiculturalism and refugees. Barr polled strongly in inner city booths and ultimately found himself in contention for the seventh and final Molonglo seat, along with Liberals Jacqui Burke, Zed Seselja and fellow Labor candidate Mike Hettinger, but narrowly missed out, coming in tenth.

Barr continued working for Hargreaves after the election, but received a second chance at entering the Assembly when the Treasurer, Ted Quinlan, a close political ally, resigned in March 2006. The resulting countback saw the redistribution of Quinlan's primary vote and, as the two had campaigned together, Barr was the favourite to take the seat from the beginning. He ultimately finished with 5,318 votes, a majority of 1,089 over his nearest rival, Kim Sattler. He has been a vocal supporter of the territory's affordable housing action plan and same-sex civil union/partnerships bill.

Quinlan's resignation from the Assembly sparked a ministerial reshuffle, and Barr was heavily tipped to take Quinlan's place in the ministry. He duly nominated for the position, easily outpolling fellow MLAs Karin MacDonald and Mary Porter. As a result, he immediately entered the ministry upon taking his seat, and was assigned the Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Sport and Tourism portfolios. Barr dedicated most of his maiden speech to economic management, housing affordability and progressive social reform[8]

Barr contested the seat of Molonglo for the 2008 ACT poll and received 5,495 primary votes or 0.51 of a quota. He was elected in fourth position in the seven member Molonglo electorate behind Liberal Leader Zed Seselja, then-Deputy Chief Minister Katy Gallagher and the Greens lead candidate Shane Rattenbury.

Following the resignation of Jon Stanhope in May 2011, Barr was appointed Deputy Chief Minister in the cabinet of new Chief Minister Katy Gallagher.[9] Following Gallagher's resignation to run for the Senate, Barr was elected as Chief Minister on 11 December 2014. As leader, Barr lead ACT Labor to a fifth consecutive general election win in October 2016.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2012/2013 Annual Returns, Elections ACT, 29 August 2013.
  2. ^ Australian Capital Territory Ministerial Directory
  3. ^ a b "Andrew Barr elected ACT Chief Minister, seventh in history". ABC News. Australia. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  4. ^ Gardner, Jorian (15–21 October 2009). "Andrew pops the question". CityNews. 15 (40) (Canberra ed.). p. 3. Openly gay Minister Andrew Barr will enter into a civil union with partner Anthony Toms next month, just as the ACT Legislative assembly attempts another run at putting forward same-sex partnerships legislation similar to that recently passed in Tasmania. 
  5. ^ "Celebrating the Achievements of our Past Students", Education Directorate, ACT Government, archived from the original on 30 January 2017, retrieved 30 January 2017 
  6. ^ "Andrew Barr". Members for Molongolo. Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly. 2011. 
  7. ^ Gardner, Jorian (January 2004). "Barr Interview 2006". Canberra City News. Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  8. ^ Barr: Swearing In and Inaugural Speech, ACT Legislative Assembly Hansard, 2006 Week 4 Hansard (2 May), accessed 7 November 2009
  9. ^ Australian Capital Territory (Self Government) Ministerial Appointment 2011 (No 1) (ACT) sch 1
  10. ^ "Labor claim historic victory in ACT election". Sky News. 16 October 2016. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Katy Gallagher
Deputy Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Succeeded by
Simon Corbell
Preceded by
Katy Gallagher
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory