Steve Whan

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The Honorable
Steve Whan
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council
In office
20 June 2011 – 5 March 2015
Preceded by Tony Kelly
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
In office
22 March 2003 – 26 March 2011
Preceded by Peter Webb
Succeeded by John Barilaro
Constituency Monaro
Minister for Primary Industries
In office
8 December 2009 – 28 March 2011
Preceded by Ian Macdonald
Succeeded by Katrina Hodgkinson
Minister for Emergency Services
In office
30 January 2009 – 28 March 2011
Preceded by Tony Kelly
Minister for Rural Affairs
In office
14 September 2009 – 28 March 2011
Preceded by Tony Kelly
Personal details
Born Steven James Robert Whan
(1964-02-11) 11 February 1964 (age 53)
Canberra, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Cherie[1]
Children 2 children[1]
Alma mater Canberra CAE;
University of Western Sydney
Occupation Politician

Steven James Robert "Steve" Whan (pronunciation: /ˈstv ˈwən/) (born 11 February 1964), an Australian politician, was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council from 2011 to 2015.[2] Whan represented the electoral district of Monaro in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the Australian Labor Party from 2003 until his defeat at the 2011 state election. Whan served as Minister of Emergency Services, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Rural Affairs in the Rees and Keneally ministries from 2009 to 2011.

Early career and background[edit]

Born in Canberra the son of Bob Whan, a former member for the federal seat of Eden-Monaro, Whan was educated at the Canberra College of Advanced Education (now University of Canberra). He graduated in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences, majoring in Economics and Politics. In 1998, he received a Graduate Certificate in Management from the University of Western Sydney.

Whan lives in Queanbeyan with his wife and two children.[1]

From 1987 to 1988 Whan was assistant private secretary to John Brown, Federal Minister for Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories. He later worked for senator Bob McMullan until 1992. Between 1992 and 1994, Whan worked for Ros Kelly, Federal Minister for Environment, Sport and Territories.

He worked for the Australian Sports Commission from 1994 to 2001 and subsequently became a consultant on community relations and sport before being preselected as a candidate for the New South Wales Legislative Council.

Political career[edit]

Representing Labor, Whan contested Eden-Monaro at the 1998[3] and 2001[4] federal elections, and was unsuccessful on both occasions.

Whan was elected as the member for NSW state seat of Monaro at the 2003 state election.[5] As the local member he secured funding for the rebuilding of Queanbeyan and Bombala Hospitals.[citation needed] He also guaranteed record levels of funding to the Kings Highway, increased local Rural Fire Service staffing numbers and new fire trucks, as well as funding to several local community organisations.[citation needed]

In January 2009 Whan was appointed as the Minister for Emergency Services, Small Business and Rural Affairs in the Rees ministry. In December 2009 when Kristina Keneally became Premier he was made Minister for Primary Industry and Minister for Emergency Services and Rural Affairs. During 2010 he also added Mineral Resources and Forestry to the Primary Industries portfolio responsibilities.[5] As Minister for Primary Industries he sought assistance for farmers and producers in NSW who were suffering one of the State's longest running droughts. Whan guaranteed stock and fodder subsidies for farmers and drought declaration assistance. Whan also oversaw the introduction of kilojoule labelling for fast-food chain restaurants so that customers were aware of the kilojoule content of the foods they were purchasing.[citation needed]

At the 2011 state election, Whan was defeated in Monaro by a margin of 2 per cent,[6] which was one of the lowest anti-Labor swings in the state.[citation needed] Less than three months later, Whan was appointed to the Legislative Council to fill a casual vacancy, succeeding Tony Kelly.[7] Whan was immediately promoted to the shadow cabinet, becoming the shadow minister for Resources and Primary Industries, shadow Special Minister of State, and shadow minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality and Racing.[5] In 2014 he was preselected as the Labor candidate for the seat of Monaro for the 2015 election.[8] Prior to his preselection, Whan stated his intention to retire from politics if he does not win Monaro at the 2015 election.[9]

At the 2015 state election, Whan was defeated for the second time in Monaro by a margin of 2.53% by sitting member John Barilaro, with Barilaro having improved the Nationals margin by 0.53% in Monaro when the remainder of the state swung to the ALP.


  1. ^ a b c "Hon. Steve Whan, MLC". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. 27 June 2011. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "Ex-minister scores NSW upper house seat". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 10 June 2011. Retrieved 14 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "Eden-Monaro". Australian Legislative Election of 3 October 1998. Adam Carr. 1998. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  4. ^ "Eden-Monaro". Australian Legislative Election of 10 November 2001. Adam Carr. 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c "The Hon. Steve WHAN, MLC". Members: Legislative Council. Parliament of New South Wales. 23 September 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "State Electoral District of Monaro". 2011 state election. NSW Electoral Commission. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Fox, Richard (10 June 2011). "Whan elected to replace Kelly". The Land. Retrieved 28 December 2014. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Thisleton, John (17 April 2014). "Steve Whan to seek Labor pre-selection for seat of Monaro". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 28 December 2014. "If I don’t win Monaro pre-selection, or the next State election for Monaro I will be calling an end to my political career." 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Peter Webb
Member for Monaro
2003 – 2011
Succeeded by
John Barilaro