Kevin Andrews (politician)

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The Honourable
Kevin Andrews
Kevin Andrews Feb 2014.jpg
Andrews in February 2014
Father of the Australian House of Representatives
Assumed office
10 May 2016
Preceded by Philip Ruddock
Minister for Defence
In office
23 December 2014 – 21 September 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by David Johnston
Succeeded by Marise Payne
Minister for Social Services
In office
18 September 2013 – 23 December 2014
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Preceded by Jenny Macklin
Succeeded by Scott Morrison
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
In office
30 January 2007 – 3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Amanda Vanstone
Succeeded by Chris Evans
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
In office
7 October 2003 – 30 January 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Tony Abbott
Succeeded by Joe Hockey
Minister for Ageing
In office
26 November 2001 – 7 October 2003
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Bronwyn Bishop
Succeeded by Julie Bishop
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Menzies
Assumed office
11 May 1991
Preceded by Neil Brown
Personal details
Born Kevin James Andrews
(1955-11-09) 9 November 1955 (age 60)
Sale, Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Margaret Ryan
Children 5
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Monash University
Religion Roman Catholicism
Website Official website

Kevin James Andrews (born 9 November 1955) is an Australian politician and member of the Liberal Party of Australia, first elected to the House of Representatives seat of Menzies at the 1991 by-election.

In the Howard Government, Andrews served in cabinet as Minister for Ageing from 26 November 2001 and then Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations from 7 October 2003. During his time in the second portfolio he implemented controversial WorkChoices labour market reforms. From 23 January 2007 he served as Minister for Immigration and Citizenship until the 2007 election where his party lost government.

On the backbench for the next two years, following the 2009 Liberal leadership ballot Andrews served in the Shadow Cabinet of Tony Abbott as shadow minister for Families, Housing and Human Services until the 2013 election where his party won government.[1]

Andrews returned to cabinet as Minister for Social Services in the Abbott Government from 18 September 2013. After a cabinet reshuffle on 23 December 2014, he would serve less than a year as Minister for Defence.[2]

Andrews unsuccessfully contested Julie Bishop for the Liberal deputy leadership at the September 2015 Liberal leadership ballot while supporting Tony Abbott against Malcolm Turnbull as Liberal leader. Andrews was dropped from the new Turnbull Ministry upon the ascension of the Turnbull Government and again moved to the backbench.[3]

With the retirement of Philip Ruddock at the 2016 federal election, Andrews became the Father of the House.[4]

Early life[edit]

Andrews was born on 9 November 1955 in Sale, Victoria. He was educated at St Patrick's College, Sale and the University of Melbourne, where he lived at Newman College and graduated with a Bachelor of Laws in 1979 and a Bachelor of Arts in 1980. At university, he was President of the Newman College Students' Club and the National Association of Australian University Colleges. He later completed a Master of Laws degree at Monash University in 1986.

After graduation, he worked for the Law Institute of Victoria from 1980 to 1983, as a research solicitor and co-ordinator of Continuing Legal Education. From 1983 to 1985, he served as associate to Sir James Gobbo, Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He then practised as a barrister from 1985 until his election to Parliament in 1991.[5]

While practising law he was involved with the St Vincent's Bioethics Centre, the Mercy Hospital for Women, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and the Lincoln School of Health Sciences.[6] He was also a board member of Caritas Christi Hospice.[6]

Political career[edit]

Andrews was elected to the House of Representatives for the Liberal Party of Australia at the 1991 Menzies by-election in Victoria.

Andrews at an earlier time in his political career.

Andrews does not live in his electorate but in neighbouring Jagajaga.[7]

As a backbencher, Andrews authored the Euthanasia Laws Bill 1996 to overrule Northern Territory legislation that legalised euthanasia (the Rights of the Terminally Ill Act 1995). It is one of only fifteen Private Member's Bills passed into law in Australian parliamentary history.

Andrews called for an end to trials of the RU-486 drug and voted against a bill that took away the Health Minister's power to veto applications to allow the drug to be used.[8]

In taking a stance against stem cell research in 2002, he stated that it was the "first time" that "human beings can be treated as a commodity".[9] He also took a stance against stem cell research during a debate in 2006, which resulted in the overturning of a previous ban on the research.[10]

After the Coalition's third victory in 2001, Andrews was brought into the outer ministry as Minister for Ageing, a portfolio in which he served from 26 November 2001 to 7 October 2003. He was subsequently appointed to Cabinet as the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and was responsible for introducing the Howard Government's major changes to industrial relations law in 2005, commonly known as WorkChoices. In a reshuffle in early 2007, Andrews was made Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, a position which he held until the swearing-in of the First Rudd Ministry on 3 December 2007, following the defeat of the Howard Government in the 2007 election.

During 2008 and 2009 he served as Chairman of the Coalition's Policy Review Committee, reviewing and developing the Opposition's policies, until he was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet (to the position of Shadow Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services) in December 2009 by the newly elected Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott. He was also appointed Deputy Chairman of the Coalition Policy Development Committee.

Andrews is a member of the Lyons Forum, a socially conservative Christian faction within the Coalition. He has served as the Forum Secretary and is credited with suggesting the name for the faction.[11][12]

In the 2010 federal election, Andrews was re-elected to the seat of Menzies with a 2.70% swing against the Labor Party.[13]

Haneef affair[edit]

Main article: Mohamed Haneef

As Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Andrews attracted controversy after he revoked on character grounds the visa of Dr Mohamed Haneef, who had been granted bail on charges of aiding terrorists.[14][15] This was criticised as a move to keep Haneef in detention; upon posting bail, Haneef would have been transferred from Brisbane's Wolston Correctional Centre to Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre.[16] Andrews defended his actions as being in accordance with the Migration Act and Haneef's lawyers challenged his interpretation of the Act in the Federal Court.[16][17]

Following the Director of Public Prosecutions dropping all charges against Haneef, Andrews refused calls to reinstate Haneef's visa, stating that his personal evidence was still valid.[14][18] Andrews' refusal resulted in calls for a public inquiry into the incident by then Queensland Premier Peter Beattie.[19][20][21]

Andrews' justification of his decision, on the basis that he had a reasonable suspicion that Haneef had associated with suspected terrorists and therefore failed the test of good character that a person must pass to keep a visa, was rejected in the Federal Court, and the revocation of Haneef's visa was overturned.[22] However, in November, e-mails released under the Freedom of Information Act appeared to indicate that Andrews' office had a plan to revoke the visa before the case went to court, in the case that bail was granted.[23]

On 23 December 2008, the government-ordered inquiry report was released. Mr Clarke, the head of the judicial inquiry, determined Mr Andrews did not act for an improper motive.[2]

Publications record[edit]

Following Andrews' criticism of irregularities discovered in the CV of an Indian doctor working on the Gold Coast,[24] various media organisations carried reports disputing Andrews' claim on parliamentary and ministerial websites to have co-authored three books, having contributed only a chapter to each.[25] Andrews argued in his own defence that

"In common, everyday parlance, as one of the authors (of a chapter) I presumed you called yourself a co-author – that's all I've simply done. I wasn't aware, to be frank, of some publishing convention that someone's referred to (that suggests otherwise). If that offends people's sensibilities well so be it, basically."[25]

2007 African immigration controversy[edit]

In October 2007, Kevin Andrews again came under fire over his handling of his immigration portfolio.

Andrews' decision to cut Australia's refugee intake from African nations was branded by some critics as racist and a use of the race card to appeal to "racist" voters[26] before the 2007 Australian federal election.[27] Andrews defended the decision, saying: "Some groups don't seem to be settling and adjusting into the Australian way of life as quickly as we would hope."[28] Andrews accused Sudanese refugees of fighting in bars and congregating in parks to drink alcoholic beverages, but did not provide statistics to back up his claims.[26]

The Queensland Labor Premier, Anna Bligh, described Andrews' criticism of Sudanese as "disturbing". She said: "It has been a long time since I have heard such a pure form of racism out of the mouth of any Australian politician."[26] Labor politician Tony Burke branded Andrews' decision as "incompetent".[29] However, Andrews' actions were applauded by the former One Nation politician, Pauline Hanson. However, despite having praise from Hanson, many viewed Andrews as responsible for creating a racial tension leading to anti-African sentiment in the community and racially based attacks on Sudanese migrants in Australia.[3] Andrews stated in 2011 he did not regret raising the African migration matter.[4][26][30][31][32]

Leadership challenge against Malcolm Turnbull[edit]

In November 2009, Andrews declared his candidacy against Malcolm Turnbull in a vote for a leadership spill, in opposition to Turnbull's support for the government's emissions trading scheme. He had declared himself a climate change sceptic, saying that 'the jury is still out' on human contributions to global warming.[33] The party room however, voted down having a leadership spill 41 votes to 35 and the Andrews' challenge did not eventuate.[34] After continued leadership speculation, a second party room meeting was held, at which point the leadership was declared vacant. Tony Abbott, Joe Hockey, and Malcolm Turnbull all stood for the leadership, and Tony Abbott was ultimately successful. Following his election as Leader, Abbott promoted Andrews to the Shadow Cabinet as Minister for Families, Housing and Human Services.

Deputy Leadership challenge against Julie Bishop[edit]

On 14 September 2015, after Deputy Leader Julie Bishop announced she would support Malcolm Turnbull in his surreptitiously plotted coup against Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Liberal Party, Andrews announced he supported Abbott and would stand for deputy leadership against Bishop. Julie Bishop retained the position of Deputy Leader with 70 votes to Andrews' 30.[3]


Andrews in 2005.

A member of the Catholic Pontifical Council for the Laity, Andrews is an Adjunct Lecturer in Politics and in Marriage Education in the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne.[6]

Andrews is an advisor to the Board of Life Decisions International (LDI),[35] a (non-denominational) Christian[36] pro-life group that is primarily concerned with opposing the agenda of the Planned Parenthood organisation. LDI promotes chastity,[37] boycotts corporations that fund Planned Parenthood, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Time Warner and Disney,[38] and names individual celebrities[39] who support abortion, euthanasia or embryonic stem cell experimentation.[40]

Andrews has described his role as "honorary patronage". He was criticised by the Sydney Morning Herald for failing to declare his wife's membership of Life Decisions International's Board of Advisors on his entry in the Parliamentary Register of Pecuniary Interests.[41] In the article criticizing Andrews, the "Sidney Morning Herald" called Life Decisions International "radical" and alleged a call for comment was not returned. Life Decisions International president Douglas R. Scott, Jr., fired back. He said the newspaper borders on "tabloid" ethics and writing style. Scott accused the "Sydney Morning Herald" of having no regard for truth and of embracing "yellow journalism," which he said is proven by the flagrant demonstration of great bias.[42]

Andrews made a speech to the Endeavour Forum on 9 April 2003[43] a group focusing on women's issues, opposing abortion, equal opportunity and affirmative action.[44]

He has also spoken at the Family Council of Victoria,[45] an organisation which regards homosexuality as the manifestation of a psychiatric disorder.[46] The Family Council of Victoria also opposes sex-education and anti-homophobia policies in public schools, which it claims is "pro-homosexual indoctrination" of students.[47]

Andrews supports immigration as a way to slow population ageing in Australia.[48] During an address to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia, he said that "The level of net overseas migration is important as net inflows of migrants to Australia reduce the rate of population ageing because migrants are younger on average than the resident population. Just under 70% of the migrant intake are in the 15–44 age cohort, compared to 43% of the Australian population as a whole. Just 10% of the migrant intake are 45 or over, compared with 38% of the Australian population."[48]

In 2011, as a Liberal Shadow Cabinet frontbencher, Andrews published a critique of the Greens' policy agenda for Quadrant Magazine in which he wrote that the Australian Greens' "objective involves a radical transformation of the culture that underpins Western civilisation" and that their agenda would threaten the "Judeo-Christian/Enlightenment synthesis that upholds the individual" as well as "the economic system that has resulted in the creation of wealth and prosperity for the most people in human history."[49]

Andrews supported the move to make Australia a republic at the Australian Constitutional Convention 1998.[50]


  1. ^ "Hon Kevin Andrews MP". Senators and Members. Parliament of Australia. 2015. Retrieved 14 March 2015. 
  2. ^ Susan McDonald. "Cabinet reshuffle: Scott Morrison moves to Social Services; Sussan Ley promoted as second woman in Cabinet; David Johnston leaves". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. After months of pressure, David Johnston has been dumped as Defence Minister and replaced by Kevin Andrews, whom the Prime Minister said was a "safe pair of hands". 
  3. ^ a b "Australian PM Tony Abbott confirms evening leadership ballot after Malcolm Turnbull's challenge – politics live | Australia news". The Guardian. 14 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-09-14. 
  4. ^ Green, Antony (10 February 2016). "Who will be the Father of the House when Philip Ruddock Retires?". Retrieved 5 July 2016. 
  5. ^ "Hon Kevin Andrews MP". Parliament of Australia Senators and Members. Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c "Hon Kevin Andrews MP". Adjunct Lecturers. John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family. Archived from the original on 8 September 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  7. ^ "How local is local? The 12 MPs who don't live in the seats they're trying to win". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-05-17. 
  8. ^ "For the biggest loser it's just bad memories". Sydney Morning Herald. 18 February 2006. Retrieved 3 October 2007. 
  9. ^ "Politicians prepare to vote on stem cell issue". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 August 2002. Retrieved 31 August 2007. 
  10. ^ "Stem cell cloning ban overturned". 6 December 2006. Retrieved 31 August 2007. [dead link]
  11. ^ "The Lyons Forum". Censorship and Free Speech. Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. 1998. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  12. ^ Bradford, John. "Autobiography". John Bradford, former Liberal MP representing Division of McPherson. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  13. ^ "Australian Electoral Commission summary of Menzies, Federal Election 2010.". Australian Electoral Commission. 25 August 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  14. ^ a b "Dr Haneef" (Press release). Kevin Andrews MP, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship. 30 July 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  15. ^ Viellaris, Renee; Gregory, Jason; Lill, Jasmin (18 July 2007). "Haneef moved to prison". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  16. ^ a b Roberts, Kathryn (18 July 2007). "Lawyers launch campaign to restore Haneef's visa". ABC News and Current Affairs#ABC Radio programs – PM. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  17. ^ Coorey, Phillip; Gibson, Joel; Skehan, Craig (18 July 2007). "India raises concern over detention". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  18. ^ "Haneef decision due today". The Australian. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  19. ^ "Beattie wants Andrews carpeted over Haneef". News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 July 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  20. ^ "I was never a threat: Haneef". Sydney Morning Herald. 29 July 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  21. ^ Menon, Parvathi (29 July 2007). "Debate over detention, departure continues". Chennai, India: The Hindu. Retrieved 22 August 2007. 
  22. ^ [2007] FCA 1273 Haneef v Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
  23. ^ Welch, Dylan (2 November 2007). "'Secret plan' to keep Haneef in jail". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  24. ^ "Andrews calls for Beattie's assurance on foreign doctors". Local news for Gold and Tweed Coasts. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  25. ^ a b "Minister Andrews denies fudging CV". Sydney Morning Herald. 27 August 2007. Retrieved 28 August 2007. 
  26. ^ a b c d Heywood, Lachlan; Philip, Martin; Wray, Michael (5 October 2007). "Pauline Hanson backs Kevin Andrews on migrants". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 2 December 2007. 
  27. ^ "Hardgrave backs call to cut African refugee intake". The World Today. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 5 October 2007. Retrieved 2 December 2007. 
  28. ^ Collins, Sarah-Jane (10 October 2007). "Murder 'shame on entire community'". Melbourne: The Age. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  29. ^ "Andrews' handling of African refugees 'incompetent'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 7 October 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  30. ^ "Minister's claims an 'injustice'". 
  31. ^ "Lateline - 11/10/2007: Immigration Minister denies inciting racial tension". 
  32. ^ "Lateline - 10/10/2007: NT Sudanese community protest refugee comments". 
  33. ^ "Andrews sets out leadership challenge". ABC News. 
  34. ^ Sharp, Ari (25 November 2009). "Malcolm Turnbull survives leadership challenge". The Age. Melbourne. 
  35. ^ "Board of Advisors". About LDI. Life Decisions International. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  36. ^ "Prayer Project". Projects. Life Decisions International. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  37. ^ "Celebrating Chastity". Projects. Life Decisions International. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  38. ^ "New Boycott Targets Named" (Press release). Life Decisions International. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  39. ^ Projects. Life Decisions International Retrieved 8 August 2016.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ "Charity Watch". Projects. Life Decisions International. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  41. ^ Walsh, Kerry-Anne; Michelle Singer (7 August 2007). "Andrews in radical group that boycotts Disney". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 August 2007. 
  42. ^ [1]
  43. ^ "Endeavour Forum's 24th Birthday Dinner". Important Coming Events, April 2003. Endeavour Forum. Archived from the original on 29 August 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  44. ^ "Introduction 1". What we are about. Endeavour Forum. Archived from the original on 29 October 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  45. ^ Martin, Chloe. "The Hon Kevin Andrews MP" (PDF). BewareOfTheGod.Com. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  46. ^ ""Homosexual Vilification Legislation "The Bill" is Wrong"". Issues. Family Council of Victoria. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  47. ^ "Why the Prime Minister is Right on Public Schools Values". Issues. Bill Muehlenberg, Family Council of Victoria. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  48. ^ a b Andrews, Kevin (17 May 2007). "Address to the Committee for the Economic Development of Australia". Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2007. 
  49. ^ "The Greens' Agenda, in Their Own Words — Quadrant Online". 
  50. ^ "774 ABC MORNINGS WITH JON FAINE – 27 JANUARY, 2015". Kevin Andrews MP (self published). 27 Jan 2015. I’m saying that as someone who actually supported a Republic at the convention in 1998. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Neil Brown
Member for Menzies
Preceded by
Philip Ruddock
Father of the House of Representatives
Political offices
Preceded by
David Johnston
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Marise Payne
Preceded by
Jenny Macklin
as Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
Minister for Social Services
Succeeded by
Scott Morrison
Preceded by
Amanda Vanstone
Minister for Immigration and Citizenship
Succeeded by
Chris Evans
Preceded by
Tony Abbott
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Succeeded by
Joe Hockey
Preceded by
Bronwyn Bishop
as Minister for Aged Care
Minister for Ageing
Succeeded by
Julie Bishop