Don Harwin

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The Honourable
Don Harwin
BEc (Hons) MLC
President of the New South Wales Legislative Council
Assumed office
3 May 2011
Deputy Fred Nile
Preceded by Amanda Fazio
Member of Legislative Council of New South Wales
Assumed office
27 March 1999
Opposition Whip in the Legislative Council
In office
3 April 2003 – 2 March 2007
In office
8 May 2007 – 4 March 2011
Personal details
Born (1964-07-05) 5 July 1964 (age 52)
Sydney, New South Wales
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Website Parliamentary webpage

Donald (Don) Thomas Harwin MLC (born 5 July 1964 in Sydney[1]), an Australian politician, is the President of the New South Wales Legislative Council since 2011. He is a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council representing the Liberal Party of Australia since 27 March 1999.[2]

Early years and background[edit]

Harwin was born to parents Don and Evelyn Harwin.[1] He joined the Liberal Party in Lugarno and the Young Liberals in Earlwood in 1983 and graduated from The University of Sydney in 1985 with a Bachelor of Economics (Honours). Whilst at university, Harwin was a member of the Sydney University Liberal Club and was subsequently conferred as a life member of that club.[2]

In 1987 Harwin commenced employment, working as an assistant on electoral matters in the office of Ron Phillips, the NSW Member for Miranda. Harwin worked for a number of ministers in the Greiner and Fahey Liberal governments between 1988 and 1990 and 1991 and 1995.[2] Between 1988 and 1990, Harwin was NSW President of the Young Liberal movement, becoming a member of the State Executive of the NSW branch of the Liberal Party during the same period. Harwin was again re-elected to the State Executive, serving between 1994 and 2000.[2] Appointed the Assistant Campaign Director of the NSW Liberal Party between 1990 and 1991, Harwin became a public affairs consultant between 1995 and 1999.[2]

He takes a strong interest in psephological matters as well as political history frequently providing strategic advice to the Liberal party on State and Federal redistribution processes.[3] He has also contributed two chapters to the book Social Justice: Fraud or Fair Go? edited by Dr Marlene Goldsmith. He also contributed "1971 State General Election" to The People's Choice (Volume III), edited by Hogan and Clune, "Sir Joseph Carruthers" to The Premiers of NSW (Volume II), edited by Clune and Turner, and "Women in the NSW Coalition Parties" (with Jenny Gardiner MLC) to No Fit Place for Women, edited by Brennan and Chappel.

Political career[edit]

Pre-selected[4] for the sixth position on the joint Liberal–National coalition election ticket for the 1999 NSW state election, Harwin was elected as a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council, receiving the thirteenth highest quota at that election.[5] Serving an eight-year term, Harwin was re-elected at the 2007 NSW state election, winning the seventh highest quota where he continued to serve as opposition whip in the Legislative Council.[6]

Don Harwin was elected Opposition Whip on 3 April 2003 following the retirement of [LINK] John Jobling AM MLC. Following his appointment as Opposition whip, he was appointed a Trustee of the Parliamentary Contributory Superannuation Fund.

In 2000, he raised the issue of unsafe railway tracks in the Illawarra region, claiming that trains could only run at twenty kilometres because of faulty maintenance.[7]

Following his re-election, Harwin served as Deputy Chair of the Procedure Committee and had successfully moved a motion in the Upper House to create a Select Committee on Electoral and Political Party Funding, of which he served as Deputy Chair. Following the election of the O'Farrell-Stoner Liberal/National coalition government, Harwin was elected President of the Legislative Council[2][8] and chair of the Procedure Committee.

In a submission to the Senate Standing Committees on Legal and Constitutional Affairs in regards to the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010, he expressed his strong support for legal equality for same-sex couples. In reference to calls for civil unions he stated "The establishment by government of a new and separate institution for same-sex couples only compounds rather than resolves this issue of inequality.[9]

On 19 June 2014, in his role as President of the Legislative Council, he controversially used the powers under Standing Order 192 to eject a Greens MP, Jeremy Buckingham, from the chamber until the end of the sitting after the MP accused him of "running interference" in defense of government members during Question Time.[10]

In a speech to the Legislative Council on 20 November 2014, Harwin publicly disclosed that he was gay.[11]


  1. ^ a b Who' Who Australia
  2. ^ a b c d e f "The Hon. (Don) Donald Thomas HARWIN, BEc(Hons) MLC". Members of the New South Wales Legislative Council. Parliament of New South Wales. 30 May 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  3. ^ Liberal Party NSW: Don Harwin
  4. ^ Morris, Rachel (30 November 1998). "MP squeaks back on ticket". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. 
  5. ^ "1999 Elected Members of the Legislative Council". 1999 Legislative Council Results. New South Wales Electoral Commission. 24 April 1999. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  6. ^ "Candidates in sequence of election" (pdf). 2007 Legislative Council Results. Electoral Commission of New South Wales. 12 April 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2011. 
  7. ^ Failes, Geoff (2 March 2000). "'Unsafe' South Coast Rail Lines Anger MP". Illawarra Mercury. Fairfax Media. 
  8. ^ "O'Farrell pledges loyalty to NSW". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2011. 
  9. ^ Harwin, Don. "Submission: Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010". Retrieved 24 November 2013. 
  10. ^ "Legislative Council Question Time 19 June 2014". 20 June 2014. 
  11. ^ "Liberal MP Don Harwin discloses he is gay". Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 2014.