Deborah O'Neill

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Deborah O'Neill
Deborah O'Neill - Portrait.jpg
Senator for New South Wales
Assumed office
13 November 2013
Preceded by Bob Carr
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Robertson
In office
21 August 2010 – 7 September 2013
Preceded by Belinda Neal
Succeeded by Lucy Wicks
Vice President of the Labor Party
in New South Wales
Assumed office
9 December 2011
Serving with Mark Boyd
President Mark Lennon
Leader Kristina Keneally
John Robertson
Luke Foley
Preceded by Tara Moriarty
Personal details
Born Deborah Mary O'Neill
(1961-06-04) 4 June 1961 (age 57)
Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Labor Party
Spouse(s) Paul
Children 3
Education St Patrick's College
Alma mater University of Sydney
University of New England
Australian Catholic University
Deakin University
Occupation University lecturer
(University of Newcastle)
Profession Teacher

Deborah Mary O'Neill (born 4 June 1961) is an Australian politician who has been a Senator for New South Wales since 2013. She is a member of the Australian Labor Party and formerly represented the seat of Robertson as a member of the House of Representatives from 2010 to 2013.

Early years and background[edit]

O'Neill grew up in Western Sydney, the daughter of Irish Catholic immigrants; her mother was born in Thomastown and her father in Cork. She held Irish citizenship by descent until renouncing it prior to the 2010 election.[1] O'Neill moved to the Central Coast when she got married.[2] Before entering politics, she was a local teacher and a lecturer in the Faculty of Education and Arts at The University of Newcastle, Central Coast Campus.[3]

O'Neill attended the University of Sydney and the University of New England where she received a Bachelor of Arts. In addition, she has also completed a Master of Arts and a Diploma of Teaching from the Australian Catholic University as well as a Graduate Diploma in Literary Education from Deakin University.[4]

Political career[edit]

At the NSW state election in 2003, O'Neill challenged Chris Hartcher in the seat of Gosford and lost by only 272 votes.[5]

In 2007, O'Neill challenged Hartcher again in the state election for the newly created seat of Terrigal but was defeated.[6]

In 2010, O'Neill was endorsed as Labor candidate for Robertson gaining preselection over incumbent Labor member, Belinda Neal.[7][8]

At the 2010 federal election O'Neill was challenged by Liberal candidate Darren Jameson, but won the seat with an increased margin for Labor of 1%.[9] At the 2013 election, O'Neill suffered a 4% swing against her and was defeated by the Liberals' Lucy Wicks.[10]

Following the resignation of Bob Carr from the Australian Senate on 24 October 2013, O'Neill was selected by Labor to fill the casual vacancy, and was appointed by the NSW Parliament on 13 November 2013. In an unprecedented situation where Carr resigned both his current term and the following six-year term, the NSW Government sought legal advice regarding the tenure of O'Neill's appointment.[11]

To mitigate the cost of recalling both houses of the New South Wales parliament for a joint sitting (estimated at AUD $300,000), Premier Mike Baird convened a sitting on 2 July of two government members and two opposition members before the President of the Legislative Council to appoint O'Neill to the Senate for the term which began on 1 July.[12]

At the 2016 double dissolution election, O'Neill was elected to serve a six-year term. In September 2016, O'Neill was appointed as Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Shadow Assistant Minister for Innovation.[13]


  1. ^ Citizenship Register – 45th Parliament
  2. ^ Rodgers, Emma (2010). "Robertson: What legacy will Belinda Neal leave?". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  3. ^ "Deborah O'Neill profile". Labor People. Australian Labor Party. 2010. Archived from the original on 20 August 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  4. ^ "Deborah O'NEILL profile". Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  5. ^ "2003 Legislative Assembly Results - Gosford". Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "2007 Legislative Assembly Results - Terrigal". Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  7. ^ "Neal loses preselection challenge". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 6 March 2010. 
  8. ^ Morello, Vincent (7 March 2010). "Belinda Neal dumped from Central Coast seat in landslide pre-selection vote". News Limited. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  9. ^ Commission, Australian Electoral. "House of Representatives Division First Preferences". 
  10. ^ "2013 House of Representatives Results - Robertson". Retrieved 14 May 2017. 
  11. ^ Martin, Lisa (5 November 2013). "O'Neill to miss first week of Senate". Herald Sun. AAP. Retrieved 9 November 2013. 
  12. ^ Aston, Heath (19 June 2014). "Mike Baird finds a way to deal with Bob Carr Senate quirk". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 7 July 2014. 
  13. ^ "APPOINTMENT AS SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER". 13 September 2016. Retrieved 14 May 2017. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Belinda Neal
Member for Robertson
Succeeded by
Lucy Wicks
Preceded by
Bob Carr
Senator for New South Wales