Jenny Macklin

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The Honourable
Jenny Macklin
Minister for Disability Reform
In office
14 December 2011 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Office Established
Succeeded by Office Abolished
Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
In office
3 December 2007 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Mal Brough
Succeeded by Kevin Andrews as Minister for Social Services
Nigel Scullion as Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Deputy Leader of the Opposition
In office
11 November 2001 – 4 December 2006
Leader Simon Crean
Mark Latham
Kim Beazley
Preceded by Simon Crean
Succeeded by Julia Gillard
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
11 November 2001 – 4 December 2006
Leader Simon Crean
Mark Latham
Kim Beazley
Preceded by Simon Crean
Succeeded by Julia Gillard
Member of the Australian Parliament for Jagajaga
Assumed office
2 March 1996
Preceded by Peter Staples
Personal details
Born Jennifer Louise Macklin
(1953-12-29) 29 December 1953 (age 62)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Domestic partner Ross Turner
Children 3
Residence Ivanhoe, Victoria, Australia
Website [1]

Jennifer Louise "Jenny" Macklin (born 29 December 1953) is an Australian politician, the federal Shadow Minister for Disability Reform. She was Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from 3 December 2007 until 18 September 2013. She served in the Ministries of both Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. She was previously Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, serving from 2001 until 2006. She has been a member of the Australian House of Representatives since March 1996, representing the Division of Jagajaga, Victoria.

Early life[edit]

Born in Brisbane, Queensland, she was raised in Victoria. She spent time in Japan as a student before graduating from the University of Melbourne with an honours degree in economics.[citation needed]


Macklin early in her political career

Macklin was a researcher at the Australian National University in 1976–78, an economics research specialist with the Parliamentary Library in Canberra 1978–81, Research Coordinator at the Labour Resource Centre in Melbourne 1981–85, an adviser to the Victorian Minister for Health 1985–88, director of the federal government's National Health Strategy 1990–93 and director of the Australian Urban and Regional Development Review 1993–95.[citation needed]

On her election to Parliament as a member of the Australian Labor Party, Macklin was immediately elected a member of the Opposition Shadow Cabinet, where she served in a number of roles, including Shadow Minister for Aged Care, Social Security and the Status of Women. After the 1998 election, Macklin became Shadow Minister for Health. She is a member of the Socialist Left faction of the Labor Party.[1]

Jenny Macklin (left) with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the apology for the "stolen generations"

After the ALP's defeat at the 2001 election, Macklin was elected Deputy Leader to Simon Crean. She was the first woman to hold a leadership position in either Australian major party. She took on the position of Shadow Minister for Education. Macklin remained Deputy Leader after Crean's replacement as leader by Mark Latham in December 2003, and also under Kim Beazley following Latham's resignation in January 2005. Macklin became the first person to be deputy to three leaders of the ALP since Frank Forde.

On 1 December 2006, Macklin's position as deputy leader of the ALP came under threat after Kim Beazley called for a spill of all the leadership positions, in a bid to end growing speculation over the issue. Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Kevin Rudd, and Shadow Minister for Health, Julia Gillard, announced their intentions to run against Beazley and Macklin as a team for the positions of leader and deputy leader respectively of the party. On the day of the ballot, Macklin effectively stepped down from the position, choosing not to contest the deputy leadership after Kevin Rudd was elected as the new party leader. Macklin was once again elected to the Shadow frontbench, and was appointed Shadow Minister for Families and Community Services and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation. She maintained these portfolios in government after Labor's victory in the 2007 election, overseeing the formal apology to the "stolen generations" delivered by Kevin Rudd in February 2008.

On 23 November 2011, the Stronger Futures Policy legislation was introduced by Jenny Macklin to Parliament and was subsequently supported by Julia Gillard, the Prime Minister. The policy intends to address key issues that exist within Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory in areas such as unemployment, school attendance and enrollment, alcohol abuse, community safety and child protection, food security and housing and land reforms.[2]

During the 2016 election, Macklin's marginal Labor seat of Jagajaga was listed as being at risk due to the ongoing Country Fire Authority (CFA) dispute with Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews.[3]

Balgo visit[edit]

After visiting Balgo, Western Australia in February 2012, she reportedly stated, "I do not believe that specific issues regarding CDEP providers or job service providers failing to follow proper procedures and regulations were raised with me during my visit to Balgo," she said. "Now that these issues have been brought to my attention, they will be investigated by my department."[4] However, Traditional owner Olive Darkie said the community was hurting: "I told Jenny Macklin, I was waiting for the answer but got no answer. They haven't changed anything. It's got worse since they came in. People don't know where to go."[4]

Newstart controversy[edit]

While defending cuts to single parent benefits in January 2013, Macklin commented that she "could live on the dole". This comment was widely perceived as out-of-touch and offensive. The situation was exacerbated when the official transcripts of her comments were edited to read "inaudible,". After the incident, Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan described extra payments for low-income families as "generous," and Greens MP Adam Bandt challenged Ms Macklin to live with him on the dole for a week.[5][6][7][8][9]

Ten days later Macklin apologised for her comments, saying "I can understand that people are angry about what I've said. I have heard that message clearly over the last week or so. I acknowledge my remarks were insensitive, that I could've been clearer in the way that I expressed myself. I do understand that it is very hard to live on a very low income, including unemployment benefits."[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Topsfield, Jewel (5 December 2006). "Factions left behind in leadership vote". Age. Canberra: Fairfax. Retrieved 21 July 2010. 
  2. ^ "Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory". Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  3. ^ Victorian government dispute with the CFA spills into the Federal election campaign: 7.30 ABC 22 June 2016
  4. ^ a b Work-for-the-dole 'paid to prisoners', Australian, 25 February 2012
  5. ^ "Labor MPs agree it's tough to live on dole but dodge claims made by Jenny Macklin". News Corp Australia. 3 January 2013. 
  6. ^ "The great vanishing act: Macklin's dole comment disappears". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  7. ^ David Barbeler and Patrick Caruana (5 January 2013). "Newstart $35 a day incredibly tough: PM". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 
  8. ^ "Families Minister 'could' live on dole". 1 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Macklin says she could live on the dole". ABC News. 2 January 2013. 
  10. ^ Jonathon Swan (11 January 2013). "Macklin apologises for 'insensitive' Newstart comments". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Retrieved 25 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Mal Brough
Minister for Families, Community
Services and Indigenous Affairs

Succeeded by
Kevin Andrews
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Peter Staples
Member for Jagajaga
Party political offices
Preceded by
Simon Crean
Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Julia Gillard