Jay Weatherill

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The Honourable
Jay Weatherill
Jay Weatherill crop.jpg
45th Premier of South Australia
Elections: 2014
Assumed office
21 October 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Deputy John Rau
Preceded by Mike Rann
19th Leader of the Labor Party in South Australia
Assumed office
August 2011
Preceded by Mike Rann
Treasurer of South Australia
In office
21 January 2012 – 26 March 2014
Preceded by Jack Snelling
Succeeded by Tom Koutsantonis
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Cheltenham
Assumed office
9 February 2002
Preceded by Murray De Laine
Personal details
Born Jay Wilson Weatherill
(1964-04-03) 3 April 1964 (age 53)[1]
Adelaide, South Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party (SA)
Spouse(s) Melissa
Relations George Weatherill (father)
Profession Lawyer

Jay Wilson Weatherill (born 3 April 1964) is an Australian politician who is the 45th and current Premier of South Australia, serving since 21 October 2011. Weatherill has represented the House of Assembly seat of Cheltenham as a member of the South Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party since the 2002 election.

Labor has been in government since 2002, with Weatherill leading the Labor government since a 2011 leadership change from Mike Rann. During 2013 it became the longest-serving state Labor government in South Australian history, and in addition went on to win a fourth four-year term at the 2014 election.

Early life[edit]

Born in the western suburbs of Adelaide, he is the son of English-born former South Australian politician George Weatherill.[2][3]

Weatherill completed his secondary education at Henley High School. He later studied at the University of Adelaide, graduating with degrees in law and economics.[4][5] During his university days, he had a relationship with current Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Penny Wong.[5]

Between 1987 and 1990, he worked for the Australian Workers' Union.[6] In the early 1990s, he worked at the law firm Duncan Hannon with Patrick Conlon and Isobel Redmond.[7] With fellow Adelaide lawyer Stephen Lieschke, he established industrial law firm Lieschke & Weatherill in 1995 where he practised law until his election to the House of Assembly seat of Cheltenham at the 2002 election when his party won government.[4]

Political career[edit]

Weatherill defeated the incumbent Labor member Murray De Laine for Labor preselection in the electorate of Cheltenham at the 2002 election and went on to retain the seat for Labor.[8] Weatherill is from the Labor Left faction.[9] Upon election he immediately entered the cabinet of the Rann Government, handling various ministerial portfolios over the following two terms, including Environment and Conservation (2008-2010) and Education (2010-2011).[4]

Following the 2010 election, Weatherill as a cabinet minister in the Mike Rann government, unsuccessfully challenged Kevin Foley for the position of Deputy Premier.[10] Weatherill said the election day backlash against Labor made it evident that a fresh approach was needed; however he lost along factional lines.[11]


In late July 2011, senior figures within Labor had indicated to Rann that both the left and right Labor factions had agreed to replace Rann with Weatherill as party leader.[12][13][14][15][16] In early August 2011 Weatherill's attempts at contacting Rann on his trade mission to India had been met with silence leaving the party leadership in limbo until Rann's return to Australia.[17] Weatherill refused to rule out challenging Rann in a caucus ballot if he did not stand down on his return to Australia.[17] Weatherill was sworn in as the 45th Premier of South Australia on 21 October 2011.[18]

First term[edit]

Weatherill meets Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece Konstantinos Tsiaras in a 2013 Australian visit.

Weatherill introduced a conscience vote for a Greens-initiated gay marriage bill in August 2012, following the announcement of Tasmania's planned changes.[19] On 21 January 2013, Weatherill became Treasurer of South Australia and took other various portfolios following a cabinet reshuffle triggered by the resignation of two members of his ministry.[20]

2014 election[edit]

Resulting from the 2014 election, Weatherill Labor formed a minority government − giving Labor a record 16 years in government.[21] The election resulted in a hung parliament with 23 seats for Labor and 22 for the Liberals. The balance of power rested with the two crossbench independents, Bob Such and Geoff Brock. Such did not indicate who he would support in a minority government before he went on medical leave for a brain tumour, diagnosed one week after the election. University of Adelaide Professor and Political Commentator Clem McIntyre said the absence of Such virtually guaranteed that Brock would back Labor – with 24 seats required to govern, Brock duly provided support to the incumbent Labor government, allowing Weatherill to continue in office as head of a minority government. The Liberals were reduced to 21 seats in May 2014 when Martin Hamilton-Smith became an independent and entered cabinet with Brock. Both Hamilton-Smith and Brock agreed to support the Labor government on confidence and supply while retaining the right to otherwise vote on conscience. It is Labor's longest-serving South Australian government and the second longest-serving South Australian government behind by the Playmander-assisted Thomas Playford IV. Aside from Playford, it is the second time that any party has won four consecutive state elections in South Australia, the first occurred when Don Dunstan led Labor to four consecutive victories between 1970 and 1977. Recent hung parliaments occurred when Labor came to government at the 2002 election and prior to that at the 1997 election which saw the South Australian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia, created in 1974, win re-election for the first time. Following the 2014 election, Labor went from minority to majority government when Nat Cook won the 2014 Fisher by-election by five votes from a 7.3 percent two-party swing which was triggered by the death of Such. Despite this, the Jay Weatherill Labor government kept Brock and Hamilton-Smith in cabinet, giving the government a 26 to 21 parliamentary majority.[22]

Second term[edit]

Weatherill joined with Liberal premiers proclaiming he would lead a national campaign against the then federal Abbott Government's 2014 federal budget.[23] Hieu Van Le was announced on 26 June 2014 as the next Governor of South Australia to replace Kevin Scarce.[24] The July to September 2014 Newspoll saw Labor begin to lead the Liberals on the two-party-preferred vote for the first time since 2009.[25]

In 2015, Weatherill initiated the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission to investigate opportunities and risks associated with expanding the state's involvement in the nuclear fuel cycle. The Commission was headed by former Governor Kevin Scarce and delivered its final report and recommendation to the Government of South Australia in May 2016.

In 2017, Weatherill announced a plan to reform South Australia's electricity supply, [26][27] as a response to a number of blackouts [28] that affected large numbers of South Australian residents and businesses in 2016. The most notable was the state-wide 2016 South Australian blackout. The plan included construction of a State Government-owned 250MW gas-fired power station, around 10 per cent of SA's peak demand, and grid connected utility scale battery storage to support the grid during periods of peak demand.[29]

Personal life[edit]

Weatherill is married to Melissa. They have two young daughters.[30] He is a supporter of the Port Adelaide Football Club.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ McGuire, Michael (8 April 2013). "Forty-nine things the Premier could put on his birthday wish-list". AdelaideNow. 
  2. ^ "Cheltenham". The Poll Bludger. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  3. ^ Anderson, Lainie (6 August 2011). "Jay Weatherill has never shirked a challenge". The Advertiser. Australia. Retrieved 17 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c "Profile: Hon Jay Weatherill". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 31 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Crabb, Annabel (8 December 2007). "Freakish powers of a formidable operator". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  6. ^ Mayne, Stephen (25 January 2006). "Tracking the unionists in parliament". Crikey. Retrieved 28 April 2014. 
  7. ^ Kelton, Greg (9 July 2009). "Isobel Redmond wins South Australia Liberals leadership". The Advertiser. 
  8. ^ Parker, Lachlan (15 August 2001). "Costly Labor factions in South Australia". ABC PM. 
  9. ^ "Hartley". The Poll Bludger. Archived from the original on 10 April 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Kelton, Greg (21 March 2010). "Jay Weatherill to challenge Kevin Foley for job of Deputy Premier of South Australia". Adelaide Now. 
  11. ^ "Foley survives challenge to deputy's spot". ABC News. Australia. 23 March 2010. 
  12. ^ Hunt, Nigel (30 July 2011). "Premier Mike Rann told to stand down". Sunday Mail (SA). 
  13. ^ "SA premier facing a leadership coup". AAP. 30 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Owen, Michael (30 July 2011). "Mike Rann handed deadline to stand down as South Australian premier". The Australian. 
  15. ^ Johnson, Angelique (30 July 2011). "Rann to be ousted in leadership coup". ABC News. 
  16. ^ Anderson, Geoff (2 August 2011). "Factional coup may prove problematic for SA's new premier". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  17. ^ a b Martin, Sarah (5 August 2011). "Jay Weatherill may take on South Australia Premier Mike Rann". The Advertiser. 
  18. ^ "New faces as Weatherill takes reins in SA". ABC News. 24 October 2011. 
  19. ^ Crouch, Brad (14 August 2012). "Weatherill staunches Labor opposition to back gay marriage Bill". AdelaideNow. 
  20. ^ Martin, Sarah (21 January 2013). "SA Premier Jay Weatherill cites jobs growth as he assumes treasury portfolio". The Australian. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "Re-elected SA Labor Government gets down to business". ABC News. Australia. 27 March 2014. 
  22. ^ Fisher by-election win for Labor gives Weatherill Government majority in SA: ABC 13 December 2014
  23. ^ "Weatherill to lead national revolt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 May 2014. 
  24. ^ "Hieu Van Le to be next SA Governor, from war-torn Vietnam to vice-regal post". ABC News. Australia. 26 June 2014. 
  25. ^ "Newspoll: 51–49 to Labor in South Australia". Crikey. 29 September 2014. 
  26. ^ "$550m plan to take control of our power". Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  27. ^ "SA to spend $500m to take control of state's energy market". ABC News. 2017-03-14. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  28. ^ "SA takes its energy experiment back to the lab". Australian Energy Council. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  29. ^ "South Australia is taking charge of its energy future - Jay Weatherill, Premier of South Australia". www.premier.sa.gov.au. Retrieved 2017-03-17. 
  30. ^ Jay Weatherill biography: ALP website
  31. ^ "SA Premier backs troubled Power". The Daily Telegraph. Australia. 6 August 2012. 

External links[edit]

South Australian House of Assembly
New district Member for Cheltenham
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mike Rann
Leader of the Australian Labor Party (South Australian Branch)
Political offices
Preceded by
Mike Rann
Premier of South Australia
Preceded by
Jack Snelling
Minister for the Arts
Preceded by
Jack Snelling
Treasurer of South Australia
Succeeded by
Tom Koutsantonis