Stephen Smith (Australian politician)

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Stephen Smith
Stephen Smith.jpg
Minister for Defence
In office
13 September 2010 – 18 September 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded byJohn Faulkner
Succeeded byDavid Johnston
Minister for Trade
In office
28 June 2010 – 13 September 2010
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded bySimon Crean
Succeeded byCraig Emerson
Minister for Foreign Affairs
In office
3 December 2007 – 13 September 2010
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byAlexander Downer
Succeeded byKevin Rudd
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Perth
In office
13 March 1993 – 5 August 2013
Preceded byRic Charlesworth
Succeeded byAlannah MacTiernan
Personal details
Stephen Francis Smith

(1955-12-12) 12 December 1955 (age 66)
Narrogin, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLabor Party
Spouse(s)Jane Seymour
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia
University of London

Stephen Francis Smith (born 12 December 1955) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2013. He served as a minister in the Rudd and Gillard Governments, including as Minister for Foreign Affairs (2007–2010), Minister for Trade (2010), and Minister for Defence (2010–2013).

Early life[edit]

Smith was born in Narrogin, Western Australia, and was educated at CBC Highgate, the University of Western Australia and the University of London, where he earned a master's degree in law. He was a solicitor, lecturer and tutor before entering politics. He was Principal Private Secretary to the Western Australian Attorney-General, Joe Berinson 1983–87 and State Secretary of the Western Australian Labor Party 1987–90.[1] From 1990 to 1993 he was an adviser to Paul Keating, first when Keating was Treasurer, then when Keating was Prime Minister. He was instrumental in securing caucus support in order for Keating to defeat Bob Hawke for the Labor Party leadership in 1991 and thereby allowing Keating to ascend to the prime ministership.[2]


Smith was a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry from March 1996 until the November 2007 elections, which were won by the Labor party. He was Shadow Minister for Trade 1996–97, for Resources and Energy 1997–98, for Communications 1998–2001, Health and Ageing 2001–03 and Immigration 2003–04. He was Shadow Minister for Industry, Infrastructure and Industrial Relations from October 2004 until December 2006, when he was appointed to the position of Shadow Minister for Education and Training.

During the leadership crisis in the Labor Party in 2003, Smith was a prominent supporter of his fellow Western Australian, Kim Beazley. As early as 2002 his name had been mentioned as a possible future leader.[3] He again supported Beazley in the leadership contest which followed the resignation of Mark Latham in January 2005, which saw Beazley return to the leadership.

Smith was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs in Kevin Rudd's cabinet on 3 December following Labor's win in the 2007 election,[4] and when Julia Gillard took over from Kevin Rudd as prime minister in June 2010, she added Minister for Trade to Smith's portfolio.[5] After the 2010 federal election Smith was appointed to the vacant Defence portfolio, while Rudd and Craig Emerson were appointed to the Foreign Affairs and Trade ministries, respectively.[6]

Following Kevin Rudd's return to the leadership of the ALP and as prime minister, on 27 June 2013 Smith announced he would not be a candidate at the 2013 federal election.[7]

Smith was appointed Winthrop Professor of International Law at the University of Western Australia on 29 April 2014.[8]

Smith was appointed Chairman of ASX listed Canberra-based cyber security firm archTIS in March 2018.[9]

Post-parliamentary career[edit]

In March 2016, Smith announced that he did not believe the leader of the Labor Party in Western Australia, Mark McGowan, was capable of leading the party to victory at the 2017 state election.[10] He sought to enter the Western Australian Legislative Assembly by seeking preselection in the new seat of Baldivis. His bid for preselection was unsuccessful.[11]

Smith has been a professor of international law at the University of Western Australia since early 2014.[12][13]

Photo gallery[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Smith – elected secretary of the WA branch of ALP Labor voice, Vol.9, no.4 (July/Aug 1987), p.1,
  2. ^ Watson, Don (2003). Recollections of a Bleeding Heart. Australia: Vintage Books. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-74166-827-8.
  3. ^ "Simon Crean's winter of discontent". News Weekly. National Civic Council. 13 June 2002. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  4. ^ Rudd hands out portfolios, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 November 2007.
  5. ^ Rodgers, Emma (28 June 2010). "Rudd left out of Gillard's reshuffle". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 7 April 2012.
  6. ^ "The Gillard ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2010.
  7. ^ Griffiths, Emma (27 June 2013). "Defence Minister Stephen Smith to retire from politics". ABC News. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  8. ^ "Smith joins throng of ex-pollies in uni jobs". The Australian. 29 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  9. ^ "Stephen Smith joins archTIS, warns on cybersecurity after Facebook data breach".
  10. ^ "Stephen Smith makes pitch for West Australian Labor leadership". The Guardian. 13 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  11. ^ "Stephen Smith vows to challenge for WA Labor leadership if party back him". ABC News. 13 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.
  12. ^ "Stephen Smith appointed as Winthrop Professor of Law at UWA". Retrieved 12 June 2015.
  13. ^ "UWA Staff Profile : The University of Western Australia : The University of Western Australia". Retrieved 12 June 2015.

Further reading[edit]

  • Stephen Smith – biographical information, appointed senior adviser to Paul Keating Labor voice, Vol.12, no.4 (Dec 1990), p. 1–2.
  • Stephen Smith – former W.A. A.L.P. state secretary moves to Paul Keating's staff Australian Business, 5 December 1990, p. 30

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member of Parliament for

Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Trade
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Defence
Succeeded by