Natasha Stott Despoja
Natasha Stott Despoja
|Ambassador of Australia for Women|
16 December 2013 – 21 November 2016
|Preceded by||Penny Williams|
|Succeeded by||Sharman Stone|
|7th Leader of the Australian Democrats|
6 April 2001 – 21 August 2002
|Preceded by||Meg Lees|
|Succeeded by||Brian Greig|
|6th Deputy Leader of the|
15 October 1997 – 6 April 2001
|Preceded by||Meg Lees|
|Succeeded by||Aden Ridgeway|
|Senator for South Australia|
29 November 1995 – 30 June 2008
|Preceded by||John Coulter|
Natasha Jessica Stott Despoja
9 September 1969
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
|Alma mater||University of Adelaide|
(National Union of Students)
Natasha Jessica Stott Despoja AM (born 9 September 1969) was Australia's Ambassador for Women and Girls. She was the leader of the Australian Democrats and a senator for South Australia from 1995 to 2008. Stott Despoja was appointed to the Senate at the age of 26, and was the youngest woman to sit in the Parliament of Australia.
Stott Despoja was born in Adelaide to Shirley Stott Despoja, an Australian-born journalist and Mario Despoja, who was from Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia). She attended Stradbroke Primary and Pembroke School and later graduated from the University of Adelaide in 1991. She was president of the Students' Association of the University of Adelaide (SAUA) and she was also South Australia's women's officer for the Australian National Union of Students. This experience allowed her to become a researcher to senators John Coulter and Cheryl Kernot.
When John Coulter had to stand down for health reasons in 1995, Despoya was the successful candidate to replace him. Her performance was recognized when she was re-elected not only in the 1996 election the following year, but again in the 2001 election. In 1997 she had been promoted to become the deputy leader of the Democrats from her position as party spokesperson for parliamentary portfolios such as Science and Technology, Higher Education, IT, Employment & Youth Affairs.
During the passage of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) legislation in 1999, Stott Despoja, along with Andrew Bartlett, split from the party's other senators by opposing the package, which had been negotiated by Lees and prime minister John Howard. She said that she refused to break promises made by the party during the election. The party had gone to the election stating that they would work with whichever party formed government to improve their tax package. The Australian Democrats traditionally permitted parliamentary representatives to cast a conscience vote on any issue but, on this occasion, close numbers in the Senate placed greater pressure than usual on the dissenters.
Parliamentary leadership and deposition
Stott Despoja became the leader of her party on 6 April 2001. The preceding leader Meg Lees left the party in the following year. Stott Despoja faced criticism with calm resolution from Democrat senators and the general public, but she opted to resign on 21 August 2002 after 16 months. She had been faced with little alternative after four of her six colleagues forced a ten point reform agenda upon her. The agenda was proposed by John Cherry and she was opposed to its content.
Her colleagues were apparently stunned by the resignation, but shouldn't have been. Four of them had brought the crisis to a head, forcing Stott Despoja to accept a package of reforms she was utterly opposed to.
She announced her resignation in a speech to the Senate, concluding with a "pledge to bring the party back home to the members again", and referring to her colleagues' attitude towards her.
One colleague, Senator Murray, has said that he does not believe in ultimatums, yet one of his earliest communiques to the public and to me was to `shape up or ship out'. Some commentators have mistaken my relative public silence for weak leadership — my refusal to strike back aggressively, particularly in the public domain, as weakness. But I still believe that politics can be a civil discourse, and I choose not to inflame with returned invective.
She was replaced as leader by Bartlett following a membership ballot interval during which Brian Greig acted in the position.
In 2004, Stott Despoja took 11 weeks' leave from the Senate following the birth of her first child before returning to full duties as Democrat spokesperson on, inter alia, Higher Education, Status of Women, and Work and Family.
During her political career she also introduced 24 Private Member's Bills on issues including paid maternity leave, the Republic, genetic privacy, stem cells, captioning  and same sex marriage. Stott Despoja regularly attends the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
Retirement from Parliament
On 22 October 2006, after undergoing emergency surgery for an ectopic pregnancy, she announced that she would not be contesting the 2007 election to extend her term beyond 30 June 2008. She was the Australian Democrats' longest-serving senator. Her retirement coincided with the ending of her party's federal parliamentary representation; the Democrats' support had collapsed after 2002 and they won no seats at the 2004 and 2007 half-senate elections.
Stott Despoja was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her "service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly as a Senator for South Australia, through leadership roles with the Australian Democrats, to education, and as a role model for women".
She is a regular commentator in The Advertiser, a casual host on ABC 891 radio  and is the Thursday night guest panellist on Channel 10's The Project. She was previously a columnist for the Australian business news website Business Spectator.
Stott Despoja is an honorary visiting research fellow at The University of Adelaide. Each year, she teaches winter school at The University of Adelaide with former Foreign Minister, Alexander Downer, 'The Practice of Politics'.
Currently Stott Despoja is a board member of non-profit organisations the South Australian Museum  and the Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD). In June 2013, she retired from the Advertising Standards Board. She was a deputy-chair at beyondblue (Australia's national depression initiative) until she took on the role of ambassador for women and girls. As of 21 July 2015, Stott Despoja is a Patron of the Burnet Institute (Australia's largest virology and communicable disease research institute) and was a board member from 2008 to 2013.
She is an Ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia (OCA), The Orangutan Project (TOP); secondbite; and the HIV/AIDS anti-stigma campaign, ENUF, (along with her husband Ian Smith). She is on the Advisory Panel of the Australian Privacy Foundation (APF).
In the past few years, Stott Despoja has also been an election observer for the US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Nigeria (2011); has visited Burkina Faso for Oxfam (2012); and has been to Laos (2011) and Burma (2013) with The Burnet Institute.
In July 2013, Stott Despoja was named chair of the Foundation to Prevent Violence against women and their children, a joint initiative of the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments which will be based in Melbourne. The foundation aims to educate the community by building partnerships with business, philanthropic organisations and government.
- Giving Generously, Artemis, 1996
- DIY Feminism, Allen and Unwin, 1996
- Collective Wisdom, interviews with prominent Australians, Clown, 1998
- Free East Timor, Australia's culpability in East Timor's genocide, Random House, 1998 
- Goodbye normal gene: confronting the genetic revolution, Pluto Press, 1999
- What Women Want, Random House, 2002
- Time for a Change, Australia in the 21st Century, Hardie Grant Books, 2006
- Mother Who? Personal stories and insights on juggling family, work and life, Big Sky Publishing, 2007
Essays and reporting
- 'Higher Education in Perspective', Current Affairs Bulletin, 1996
- 'Personal and Private', Alternative Law Journal, 1997
- 'Policy forum: the Junior Pay Rates Inquiry', Australian Economic Review, 1999
- 'Leadership', Sydney Papers, 2001
- 'Terror in the USA', The Asia-Australia Papers, 2001
- 'The Human Genome Project: how do we protect Australians?', Medical Journal ofAustralia, 2000
- 'ANZUS? ANZ who?' (with Senator Andrew Bartlett), Australian Journal ofInternational Affairs, 2001
- 'Towards a National Interest Commissioner', CEDA Bulletin, 2001
- 'If I were Attorney-General', Alternative Law Journal, 2003
- 'The first in human genetics regulation', Australasian Science, 2005
- 'A brief look at the history of privacy', Australian Quarterly, 2007
- Stott Despoja, Natasha (2014). "Women, peace and security : Australia in the UNSC" (PDF). International Humanitarian Law Magazine (2): 14–15. Retrieved 2015-09-18.
- "Former Democrats senator Natasha Stott Despoja Australia's new ambassador for women and girls". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 December 2013. Archived from the original on 18 December 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
- Rob Lundie & Martin Lumb "Research Note 13 1998-99 Update on Selected Australian Political Records" (Parliament of Australia) Archived 23 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Access date: 20 August 2013.
- "A penny for Pembroke?". Australian Financial Review. November 29, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2018.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja glams up for the Logies". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
- Melbourne, The University of. "Stott Despoja, Natasha Jessica - Woman - The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia". www.womenaustralia.info. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja". Australian Centre for Leadership for Women. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 22 May 2012.
- "Senator Cherry speaks about Natasha Stott Despoja". ABC News Online. 21 August 2002. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 8 December 2006.
- "Stott Despoja resigns leadership". ABC News Online. 21 August 2002. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2006.
- Stott Despoja, Natasha (21 August 2002). "MATTERS OF PUBLIC INTEREST : Australian Democrats: Leadership". Hansard. Canberra: Parliament of Australia website. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Haxton, Nance (16 February 2004). "Democrats launch paid maternity leave scheme". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Preston, Mike. "Paid maternity leave: is Australia ready?". Smart Company. Archived from the original on 13 April 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Holmes, Brenton. "Tracking the push for an Australian republic". Parliament of Australia website. Archived from the original on 26 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Kirk, Alexandra (1 December 2005). "Renewed push for Australian republic". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- O'Brien, Kerry (9 August 2000). "Govt inquiry to examine genetic testing privacy issues". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Genetic Privacy and Non-discrimination Bill 1998 ". Parliament of Australia website. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Kirk, Alexandra (8 August 2006). "Stott Despoja proposes Private Members Bill on stem cell research". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 28 May 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Lloyd, Karen. "Deaf Australia applauds investigation into access to electronic media". Deaf Australia Inc. Archived from the original on 28 April 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Captioning for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired". Parliament of Australia website. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Same-Sex Marriages Bill 2006  – Parliament of Australia". Parliament of Australia website. Archived from the original on 28 February 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Senator Andrew Bartlett speaks about Sydney: Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras – Adjournment Speech". Andrewbartlett.com. 4 April 2000. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Stott Despoja to bow out of politics". ABC News Online. 22 October 2006. Archived from the original on 18 April 2008. Retrieved 22 October 2006.
- "So long, it's been good to see you". Sydney Morning Herald. 21 June 2008. Archived from the original on 26 October 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja AM". Australian Honours Database. Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 14 March 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Business Spectator (2010). The Spectators: Natasha Stott-Despoja Archived 23 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
- Gibson, Candy. "Winter School gets political". The University of Adelaide. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Museum Board". South Australian Museum. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Advisory Council". Museum of Australian Democracy. Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Retirees from Ad Standards Board". Advertising Standards Bureau. Archived from the original on 4 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Business Spectator (28 Dec 2009) 'A New Year, A New Leader?: Natasha Stott Despoja Interview' Archived 24 August 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
- Morgan, Angus (21 July 2015) "Natasha Stott Despoja returns to Burnet" Archived 23 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine. Burnet Institute News. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
- "About us Natasha Stott Despoja". Ovarian Cancer Australia. Archived from the original on 21 April 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja, Ian Smith and son Conrad join as ambassadors". The Orangutan Project. Archived from the original on 28 March 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Patrons and Ambassadors". SecondBite. Archived from the original on 1 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Magnusson, Michael (13 February 2013). "Natasha Stott Despoja joins ENUF". Gay News Network. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "APF Advisory Panel Bios". Australian Privacy Foundation. Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Nigerian Elections Hold the Promise of Setting New Integrity Standard, NDI Mission Finds". National Democratic Institute. Archived from the original on 7 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja in Burkina Faso with Oxfam to meet families affected by the West Africa food crisis". Oxfam Australia. Archived from the original on 30 October 2017. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- "Natasha Stott Despoja AM reflects on her recent trip to Laos". Burnet Institute. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Turnbull, Jeff (7 February 2013). "Natasha Stott Despoja meets her political hero Aung San Suu Kyi". Australian Associated Press. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
- Home - Foundation to Prevent Violence Against Women and their Children, Australia Archived 28 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- High-flying women in the mix to be SA's next Governor Archived 9 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine The Advertiser, 7 June 2014.
- Hieu Van Le to be next SA Governor, from war-torn Vietnam to vice-regal post Archived 12 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine ABC 26 June 2014
- This needs checking. I suspect this is actually a contribution to Jocelynne Scutt's work Living generously.
- Tuntuni Bhattacharyya (6 November 1996). "and ain't i a woman?: Kick-arse feminism?". Green Left Weekly. Archived from the original on 25 October 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- "Collective Wisdom Prominent Australians on Success and the Future". Dennis Jones & Associates. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Jim Aubrey (May 1998). Free East Timor: Australia's Culpability in East Timor's Genocide. Random House Australia. ISBN 978-0-09-183917-8. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018.
- "Time for change : Australia in the 21st century". UTS Library. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 12 August 2014.
- Former Senator Natasha Stott Despoja
- Natasha Stott Despoja in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in the Twentieth Century
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Australian Democrats
(interim) Brian Greig
| Ambassador of Australia for Women and Girls