Craig Kelly (politician)

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Craig Kelly
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Hughes
Assumed office
21 August 2010
Preceded by Danna Vale
Personal details
Born (1963-09-29) 29 September 1963 (age 54)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Vicki Kelly
Children 1 son & 1 daughter
Profession Business owner

Craig Kelly (born 29 September 1963), an Australian federal politician, is a member of the Australian House of Representatives. Since the 2010 federal election, he has represented the electorate of Hughes, in New South Wales, for the Liberal Party of Australia, succeeding Danna Vale.

Early years and background[edit]

Prior to his election, Kelly was a first grade rugby union player with Southern Districts, and a small business owner in the manufacturing and trade sector. He was the founder and president of the Southern Sydney Retailers Association,[1] and a well-known advocate for small business, including making recommendations to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.[2][3] In 2008, he was critical of the Rudd Government changes to the definition of market power.[4]


Kelly is considered to be part of the right wing faction inside the Liberal party.[5]

National Disability Insurance Scheme[edit]

In 2013 Kelly was nominated by then Opposition leader Tony Abbott as the representative of the Coalition on the bipartisan committee overseeing the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Kelly was the only sitting member of the House of Representatives with firsthand knowledge of raising a child with severe disabilities.[6]

Kelly issued the following statement on being nominated:

"Beginning the implementation of the scheme is arguably the most important action that will be undertaken by the 43rd parliament.

As the only member of the House of Representatives to have the first-hand experience of raising a child with a serious disability, and dealing on a day-to-day basis with the complex and inadequate patchwork of support, let me say this: I understand why this is needed and I know that it needs to be done right.“It is an honour to have been nominated by the Leader of the Opposition, and appointed by the parliament to serve on this important committee.

I understand I carry the weight of the hopes and needs of carers, families and people with disabilities right across the country. I pledge not to let them down.’’[6]

Defence travel leave entitlements 2012[edit]

Kelly and the President of the NSW Commandos Association, Barry Grant, fought Labor Government cuts in the 2012 budget to entitlements for defence personnel to travel home during holiday times. Kelly and Grant put together a petition in favour of reinstating the entitlements that was circulated Australia-wide, attracting well over 10,000 signatures. With Kelly's help a disallowance motion was moved in the House of Representatives that forced the Labor Government to reinstate the entitlements. This affected upwards of 22,000 service men and women.[7]

Carbon pricing[edit]

Kelly opposed carbon pricing in Australia and addressed a rally of about 2,000 people on the issue in Hyde Park, describing the reform as a "poisonous, toxic tax" and claiming the Federal Labor Government was destroying Australia's prosperity by undermining the country's competitive advantage. He also stated that "Every Coalition member will sign a blood oath to get rid of this tax."[8]

2013 proposed constitutional amendment on local government[edit]

Kelly was one of only three members of the House of Representatives to speak against the proposal to change the Australian Constitution to enable the Federal Government to place any terms and conditions on financial assistance given to local government councils.

During the debate in parliament Kelly said:

Our Australian Constitution is not just another piece of legislation; it is the document that is the heart of our very democracy. In drafting our Constitution, our forefathers well understood the dangers of centralisation of powers. They understood that decisions about how our nation is governed are best decided by those closest to the coalface. So our Constitution was designed with built-in checks and balances, to limit the power of politicians and government bureaucrats so that no particular person or group had total control. It has served our nation well for over 100 years. Therefore, we should not make any change to our Constitution lightly.[9]

Wind farms[edit]

Kelly has been a critic of federal subsidies for industrial wind farms. In a speech in parliament he criticised the use of federal funds to obtain wind power of "questionable reliability" in favour of spending on other critical social needs.[10] He attended a "wind power fraud rally" of 150 people in front of Parliament House, Canberra, which called for the abolition of the renewable energy target and a ban on new wind farms.[11]

Failure to disclose directorships[edit]

In 2012, Kelly was referred to the parliamentary privileges committee over a range of allegations, including a failure to declare on his register of interests his directorship of several companies.[12] The Leader of the House, Anthony Albanese, alleged Kelly failed to disclose his directorship of three entities which he had not officially relinquished until March 2011, eight months after the 2010 election.[13]

On the same day the accusations were made, Kelly defended himself on the floor of the House of Representatives stating:

Earlier today the Leader of the House made a number of assertions relating to me and my register of members' interests. His comments to the House were incorrect, and I would like to clarify the inaccuracies in those assertions. The Leader of the House asserted that I am a solicitor. I am not a solicitor, and I do not have a law degree. I have never held myself out to be a solicitor nor made any representation to that effect to any person. I have not derived any income or personal benefit from any matters relating to this allegation.

The Leader of the House also asserted that I failed to declare my directorship of several companies. I took steps to resign my directorships of all companies named in August 2010. I provided instructions to my accountant to this effect. My accountant today has confirmed that this is correct, but he did not act on my instructions until March 2011 due to ill-health and hospitalisation on his behalf. At the time I completed my register of members' interests I understood the instructions had been implemented, and I believed them to be correct.

I regret that the ASIC record did not reflect the circumstances that I believed to be correct at the time. The Leader of the House also asserted that I am a shadow director of a company, DV Kelly Pty Ltd. There is no substance whatsoever to this allegation. Further, I have not, nor have ever been, a shareholder or a director of this company.[14]

The Parliamentary Privileges Committee did not pursue the matter further. The press suggested the move was an attempt by the Labor government to divert attention from accusations against Craig Thomson.[15]


In the lead-up to the 2016 election, the moderate faction of the Liberal party planned to challenge Kelly in his seat.[16]

Chair of environment and energy committee[edit]

Kelly has been described as a "climate sceptic". He was appointed chair of the backbench environment and energy committee, giving advice to environment minister Josh Frydenberg. He has previously written that convict arrivals to Australia in the 18th century found the weather warmer than in recent years,[17] and has invited climate sceptics from the Institute of Public Affairs to present to the government prior to the Paris Agreement.[18] Kelly has criticised renewable energy, saying that it causes higher electricity bills. He has furthermore stated that this could kill people who are afraid to turn on their heaters.[19]

Tobacco tax[edit]

Kelly has stated that government taxes on tobacco are driving the creation of a black market.[20]

Marriage law reform[edit]

Kelly has stated his support for a plebiscite into same-sex marriage, and has stated that he believes the majority will go against it.[21] He has stated on his Facebook page that he will vote with his electorate in the marriage survey.[22]


  1. ^ "The toothless Trade Practices Act". Grants and Opportunities. Nett magazine. 23 October 2008. Archived from the original on 19 September 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Lib select Craig Kelly for Hughes seat". 9 News. ninemsn. 10 May 2010. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  3. ^ Rice, Margaret (22 August 2010). "Royal cheer for Hughes Liberal candidate Craig Kelly". Liverpool Leader. News Limited. Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 23 August 2010. 
  4. ^ Horrigan, Darren (19 August 2008). "Predatory pricing: who's crying wolf?". Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  5. ^ Robertson, James (4 January 2016). "Knives out for Hughes MP Craig Kelly after branch battles". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 July 2017. 
  6. ^ a b Kelly Keen to support carers on NDIS June 25, 2013
  7. ^ Battle lines drawn over travel cuts 16 July 2012
  8. ^ Lema Samandar (1 July 2012). "Sydney carbon tax protesters out in force". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Constitution Alteration (Local...: 5 Jun 2013: House debates". 5 June 2013. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  10. ^ Delingpole, James (25 June 2012). "Aussies drive another stake into the heart of the wind-farm vampire – Telegraph Blogs". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Lenore Taylor, political editor (18 June 2013). "Canberra windfarm protesters demand end to 'renewable energy scam'". Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  12. ^ Jessica Wright (20 August 2012). "'No grounds' to pursue Thomson: committee". Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  13. ^ "Court documents conflict with Liberal MP statement on company". Crikey. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  14. ^ Personal Explanations Hansard, 21 May 2012
  15. ^ Coorey, Phillip (21 May 2012). "Tit for tat as Liberal MP cops it as pay back". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  16. ^ Kelly, J. (2016, Feb 17). Challenge to PM's authority on Kelly. The Australian Retrieved from
  17. ^ Chan, Gabrielle (29 August 2016). "Climate sceptic MP appointed chair of environment and energy committee". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  18. ^ "Coalition committee tries to balance climate science briefings by inviting denialists from thinktank". The Guardian. 22 October 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2016. 
  19. ^ Slezak, Michael (12 July 2017). "Liberal MP says people will die of cold because renewable energy drives up fuel prices". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 July 2017. 
  20. ^ "Govt turbocharging illegal tobacco: Lib MP". News. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Craig Kelly". 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Danna Vale
Member for Hughes