Peter Abetz

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The Reverend
Peter Abetz
Member of the Western Australian Parliament
for Southern River
In office
6 September 2008 – 11 March 2017
Preceded by Paul Andrews
Succeeded by Terry Healy
Personal details
Born (1952-12-17) 17 December 1952 (age 64)
Stuttgart, Germany
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Relations Eric Abetz
Otto Abetz
Occupation Minister of religion

Peter Abetz (born 17 December 1952) is an Australian former politician who was a Liberal member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly from 2008 to 2017, representing Southern River.


Abetz is one of six children. His parents migrated to Tasmania from Germany in 1961.[1] His father, a radio technician, decided to emigrate after reading in a newspaper that a trade mission led by the minister responsible for the Tasmanian Hydro-Electric Commission was visiting Stuttgart in search of skilled workers for employment in "The Hydro's" power projects, on which his father subsequently worked.[2] Abetz's younger brother, Eric Abetz has represented the state of Tasmania in the Australian Senate since 1994, serving as a minister in the Howard and Abbott governments. Abetz is the great-nephew of convicted Nazi war criminal, SS-Brigadeführer Otto Abetz, Nazi German ambassador to Vichy France from 1940 to 1944. He is also related on his mother's side to German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel.

Abetz attended Moonah and Blackmans Bay State Schools, completed his high schooling at Taroona High School and matriculated in one year at Hobart Matriculation College in 1969. He holds a Bachelor of Divinity from the Reformed Theological College in Geelong. He is married to Jenny (née Hoogenhout) and has five adult children.

In 1974, Peter Abetz worked as a farm advisory officer in the Tasmanian Department of Agriculture based in Huonville, before running a small statewide rural supplies business. After completing a Bachelor of Divinity,[3] he was ordained as a pastor in the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia and served in that capacity for 25 years before entering Parliament. He served congregations in Dandenong, Victoria, Willetton, Western Australia and North Beach, Western Australia. On being elected to parliament he took up residence in the electorate of Southern River.

Political career[edit]

Abetz ran as a candidate for the Labor-held Legislative Assembly seat of Southern River in the 2008 Western Australian state election. He defeated the sitting member, Paul Andrews.

Abetz served as a member of the Education & Health Standing Committee of the Legislative Assembly in his first term. Since 2013, he has been serving as the Chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Delegation Legislation.

In 2010 he introduced a private member's bill for the purpose of providing additional protection to franchisees. The Bill proceeded to the second reading stage, but was defeated in November 2011 on the casting vote of the Speaker. As a Christian, Abetz has been called one of "God's squad" in the WA Parliament for his eagerness to mention his faith in his public life.[4]

At the 2013 state election Abetz achieved a 15% swing and during the peak of his term in office, Abetz held his seat with 67% of the two-party-preferred vote. Nonetheless, in the 2017 general election he suffered a swing of 20.8%, the largest against any sitting member.[5]

Peter Abetz opposes same-sex marriage.[6]


  1. ^ Parliament of Western Australia (2008) Hansard Extract, Tuesday, 11 November 2008
  2. ^ Wilson, Peter (2002). The Australian Political Almanack.
  3. ^ "Current Members - Mr Peter Abetz MLA". Parliament of Western Australia. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  4. ^ Dr. Martin Drum, Is faith a "no go area" in modern politics? A case study of newly elected MPs in Western Australia’s State Parliament, Nebula 7.4.
  5. ^
  6. ^ [1]
Western Australian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Paul Andrews
Member for Southern River
Succeeded by
Terry Healy