|Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council|
Assumed office |
7 September 2010
|Born||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
|Political party||Greens New South Wales|
|Residence||Woollahra, New South Wales|
|Alma mater||University of Sydney|
|Occupation||Barrister/Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council|
David Martin Shoebridge is an Australian politician, environmental and social justice activist and former industrial law barrister. He has been a Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since September 2010.
Early life and career
Shoebridge was born in Sydney. He attended James Ruse Agricultural High School, before receiving a combined Bachelor of Arts (in 1993) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (in 1995) at the University of Sydney. Shoebridge was admitted as a lawyer in 1998, and was admitted to the NSW Bar in 2003. Whilst studying, he supported himself working a number of jobs — including working in a nursing home, and in the cattle yards and as a cellarman with the Royal Agricultural Society.
Shoebridge started his professional career as an associate to Justice Eric Baker of the Family Court of Australia (from March 1996 to March 1998).
Before entering parliament, Shoebridge worked as a lawyer for 13 years, the majority of this time as a barrister representing workers, unions and ordinary citizens, with a focus on employment, discrimination and tort law.
It was Shoebridge's friendship with the late Dr John Kaye that encouraged him to join the Greens. The two met at a time when Labor was tearing apart worker compensation and workplace safety laws, Shoebridge was working as a legal representative for unions and Kaye was a staffer to Senator Lee Rhiannon. Shoebridge has long considered himself a conservationist, and his commitment to social justice and his love of bushwalking/ hiking made him a natural fit for the Greens.
Kaye persuaded him to join and the two worked closely together as MPs.
Shoebridge was elected to Woollahra Municipal Council in 2004 and reelected in 2008. Of the over eight years as a councillor, he served one term as Deputy Mayor of Woollahra. He was an executive of the Local Government Association from 2008 to 2010 and an executive of the Holdsworth Community Centre in Woollahra from 2004 to 2008.
He was Convenor of the Greens NSW from August 2008 to August 2010. He was the Greens candidate for the state seat of Vaucluse in the 2007 state election, outpolling the Labor Party candidate in the seat held by the then Liberal party leader Peter Debnam.
He became a member of the Legislative Council in September 2010 after Sylvia Hale resigned from the Legislative Council. He was preselected to the first position on the Greens' upper house ticket for the 2011 state election, and was elected (at that election) as a member of the Legislative Council. In this election the Greens recorded its highest ever state vote with 3 MPs elected to the Upper House and the first ever Lower House breakthrough with Jamie Parker in Balmain.
Shoebridge is currently a member of NSW Parliament's Standing Committee on Law and Justice and the Legislation Review Committee, and deputy chair of the Portfolio Committee No. 4 – Legal Affairs.
As a Member of Parliament the focus of Shoebridge’s work has been injustice and using his position as an advocate for people in need. Shoebridge has also contributed to protecting local environments through extensive work on saving local councils and pursuing better planning laws.
Shoebridge has worked closely with victims of child sexual abuse to seek justice, redress and accountability. In September 2012 at a public meeting in Newcastle, David joined Gold Walkley Award winning journalist Joanne McCarthy and police whistleblower Peter Fox  to call for a Royal Commission into sexual abuse by the Catholic Church and other institutions. A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in January 2013. In August 2017, the Royal Commission released its Criminal Justice Report which detailed 85 recommendations, including 19 recommendations to improve police responses, 12 recommendations to improve special measures and courtroom experiences to help complainants and other witnesses in child sexual abuse prosecutions to give their best evidence, 11 recommendations to improve particular child sexual abuse offences and 8 recommendations to facilitate greater admissibility of tendency and coincidence evidence and more joint trials in child sexual abuse matters. Shoebridge has also introduced legislation in Parliament to overturn the Ellis defence, remove the statute of limitations and reform sentencing procedures related to child sex abuse.
On 2 June 2011, Shoebridge took the record for the longest speech in the NSW Legislative Council - while talking continuously for over five hours and 58 minutes against NSW government legislation that drastically affected public sector wages and conditions.
In 2012, Shoebridge advocated against proposed detrimental changes for workers' rights - as the NSW government made sweeping changes to the workers compensation system in NSW. Accompanied by the first general strike by fire-fighters since 1956, Shoebridge helped secure amendments to the legislation meaning that fire-fighters and paramedics retained the same cover as police officers.
Shoebridge campaigned successfully in July 2013 for the abolition of the Game Council NSW by the NSW government. This followed the findings and recommendations of the Dunn Report into the Game Council's governance, called after senior Game Council figures were suspended after allegations of illegal hunting.
In November 2013, Shoebridge successfully moved the motion to establish a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Bowraville murders. In November 2014 a unanimous report was handed down which made 15 recommendations including that the NSW Police Force reviews its processes, procedures and training programs that relate to Aboriginal people and that the NSW government reviews a relevant section of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. In May 2016, the then NSW Attorney-General sent an application for a retrial to the Court of Criminal Appeal. In November 2017 the Court of Criminal Appeal held four hearings into the case, with decision expected to be handed down in 2018.
Shoebridge worked closely with community groups such as the Better Planning Network to force the then O'Farrell government to withdraw its unpopular planning reforms in November 2013.
Starting in 2015 Shoebridge campaigned with community groups, residents and councillors across NSW against forced council amalgamations by the NSW Coalition government. Woollahra Council was a leader in the litigation against the NSW government - with the High Court granting it leave to appeal. In February 2017 the campaign had a major success with the Berejiklian government abandoning all pending forced amalgamations in the regions. In July 2017 the government backed down again abandoning all remaining council amalgamations in Sydney.
Shoebridge has campaigned heavily on police accountability, and consistently opposed increases to police powers and attacks on civil liberties in NSW. In 2014, as part of a broader campaign to curb the use of police drug dogs, Shoebridge launched Sniff Off. The page has grown to more than 35,000 likes with individuals reporting drug dog locations at train stations, festivals and other public places in NSW. Through freedom of information and questions in Parliament Shoebridge obtained data that indicates drug dogs get it wrong up to 80% of the time.
On 12 April 2018, Shoebridge successfully moved the motion in the NSW parliament to force the government to release its business case for the costly relocation of the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo. In so doing, Shoebridge secured the support of MPs from Labor and other parties, as well as one Liberal MP.
On 15 May 2018, Shoebridge spoke at a pro-Palestine peace rally, following the deaths of approximately 60 Palestinians in the bloodiest day of the 2018 Gaza border protests, the same day that US President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, were celebrating the controversial opening of the new US Embassy in Jerusalem.
Shoebridge is a keen and experienced bushwalker/ hiker. Whenever possible, Shoebridge spends his weekends hiking with his partner and their two daughters, or with the Greens Bushwalking Club (made up of members and supporters). Shoebridge founded the Greens Bushwalking Club (with the assistance of the National Parks Association).
Walks completed by the Greens Bushwalking Club (and led or co-led by Shoebridge) include the Manly Dam Circuit (7.3 km), the Sydney to Boronia Park part of the Great North Walk (6 km), the Little Bay to La Perouse Walk (10 km), the Boronia Park to North Ryde part of the Great North Walk (7.2 km), the Wollondilly Mermaid Pools Walk, the Bundeena Jibbon Track (6.8 km), the Albury/Wodonga Nail Can Hill Walk, the Grose Vale/ Vale of Avoca Lookout Walk (5 km), the Fairy Dell/ Sassafras Gully Walk in Springwood (10.5 km), the Narrabeen Lakes Catchment Traverse/ Moon Rock Walk, the Roseville to Macquarie Park part of the Great North Walk (8.9 km), the Wolli Creek Walk (5.5 km), the Karloo Walking Track in Heathcote (6 km), the Mount Guluga Walk (14.5 km), the Bouddi Coastal Walk (8.5 km), the Macquarie Park to Thornleigh part of the Great North Walk (11.5 km), the Malabar Headland walk, the Helensburg Temple to Coalcliff Walk (8 km), the Grand Canyon Circuit (6.3 km), the Mount Bushwalker Track (7 km) and the Spit Bridge to Manly Walk (9.1 km).
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