Mia Handshin

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Mia Handshin (born 1978 Adelaide, Australia) is an Adelaide-based political activist and a former columnist for The Advertiser newspaper in South Australia, contributing a weekly column to the opinion section from 1997 to 2007.[1] She is an associate director of the consulting firm Government Relations Australia, and was an adviser in the Adelaide office of federal sports minister Kate Ellis. She was the unsuccessful Australian Labor Party candidate for the 2007 federal election in the electorate of Sturt. Handshin is a Program Manager for the Leaders Institute of South Australia and the Presiding Member of the board of the Environment Protection Authority from 25 October 2012, with her appointment due to expire on 24 October 2015.[2]

Youth activism[edit]

At the age of fourteen she wrote a speech on the concept of a Children's National Council, which was delivered in Federal Parliament, Canberra by Rod Sawford MP.[citation needed]


In 1992 Handshin was one of the instigators of a Youth Action Group, Tangent, in her local council area.[3]


In 1992 she was awarded an Australia Day Young Citizen of the year for her work in facilitating the involvement of young people in council decision making. In 1994 she became involved in the campaign to have the voting age lowered to 16 and the National Children's and Youth Law Centre's National Conference.[1] That same year she attended the Queen's Trust National Capital Seminar with 100 other young Australians.[citation needed]

In November 1997 Handshin won the Community Service Award in the SA Young Australian of the Year Awards.[1] In the same year Handshin was elected Youth Governor through the YMCA Youth Parliament Program. She went on to be joint co-ordinator of the program in 1998 and was later appointed Governor General of the National Youth Parliament.[4][5] Mia was appointed by the Prime Minister to be the South Australian youth delegate to the Constitutional Convention on Australia becoming a republic in Canberra, February 1998.[6]

She held the position of Vice President of the Youth Affairs Council of South Australia from 1998 until 2000 and was a member of the Management and Executive committees of YACSA from 1995 until 2002.[citation needed]

She again won this award, being named the 1999 Young South Australian of The Year and was a national finalist at the Awards in Canberra.[1]


Handshin was chosen to attend The World Summit of Children held in Taiwan in 1997 and as Australia's representative to the First International Commonwealth Parliamentary Association’s Youth Parliament in Manchester at which she was elected Prime Minister.[4][7]


In 2000 Handshin graduated from the University of Adelaide with a Bachelor of Law (with honors) and a Bachelor of Arts.[1]

Adult career[edit]

Handshin was a Board member of the Constitutional Centenary Foundation in 2000 and 2001 through which she participated regularly in debate, discussion and formulation of Australia Constitutional reform possibilities.[citation needed]

She was co-chair of the Federation Centenary Youth Advisory Committee.[8] She was the SA UNESCO Youth Network representative from 1999 until 2001.[citation needed] In 1999 she attended the first National Youth Roundtable, the Millennium Young People's Congress in Hawaii and the UNESCO General Assembly Youth Forum in Paris.[9][10][11] She represented Australia at the Racism: Stop It! Action 2000, Tour and Forum in Canada and was a delegate to the Young People's Conference on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Manila, The Philippines.[12][13]

In April 2003 Handshin completed a 2-month internship with the International Crisis Group in Brussels, Belgium.[14] In 2005 she attended the first Social Artistry Training Intensive on Fraser Island, Australia, the first non-UNDP training program in Social Artistry outside the United States of America and was an elected member of the Governing Council for the University of Adelaide.[citation needed] Handshin is currently a member of the Friends of Plan Australia (SA) committee.[citation needed]

Handshin's founded Mana of Speaking in 2005 as a public speaking and consultancy business.[1]

Handshin was nominated as a high profile candidate in the 2007 election, standing for the Australian Labor Party (ALP) in the traditionally fairly safe Liberal federal seat of Sturt against incumbent Christopher Pyne. Prior to her nomination she had been a member of the ALP for three years.[1] Although she was unable to win the seat, Handshin came close, receiving a 49.1 percent two-party vote from a 5.6 percent two-party swing.[15] In August, 2009, Handshin announced that she would not be contesting the seat of Sturt at the 2010 election.[8]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Anderson, Laura (20 April 2007). "Another ALP candidate coup Handshin bid to topple Minister". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 3. 
  2. ^ "EPA South Australia :: Board Members". Environment Protection Agency. Retrieved 24 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Monk, Scott (13 November 1998). "Columnist wins achiever award". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 6. 
  4. ^ a b Williams, Nadine (7 March 1998). "Our 101 most influential women". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. A08. 
  5. ^ "Youth parliament sits in old House". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia. 7 July 1999. p. 28. 
  6. ^ Symons, Emma-Kate (5 February 1998). "Girlpower gets a legal toehold". The Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia. p. 16. 
  7. ^ Handshin, Mia; Turner, Jeff (3 August 1999). "Exposed innocence". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 19. 
  8. ^ a b Crouch, Brad (2 August 2009). "Top ALP hopeful in Cathy Jayne link - Handshin rejects offer to contest federal seat". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 10. 
  9. ^ Crabb, Annabel (30 September 1999). "Youth spells out role for the future". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 6. 
  10. ^ Handshin, Mia (16 November 1999). "Push for peace in a violent world". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 18. 
  11. ^ Handshin, Mia (9 November 1999). "World gets a false message on the republic". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 18. 
  12. ^ Handshin, Mia (3 March 2000). "Fighting the enemies - fear and ignorance". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 18. 
  13. ^ Handshin, Mia (23 May 2000). "Our shame of sexually exploited children". The Advertiser. Adelaide, Australia. p. 18. 
  14. ^ Wiseman, Mia (10 November 2007). "Stars shine on both sides as Labor seeks upset in Adelaide seat". The Weekend Australian. Sydney, Australia. p. 18. 
  15. ^ "Pyne is not pining". Messenger (Eastern Courier). Adelaide, Australia. 12 December 2007. p. 18. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Joy Noble, Roger Dick (editors). (2000). Australian Volunteers at Work: One Hundred and One Stories. Wakefield Press. ISBN 1862545340