Steven Ciobo

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The Honourable
Steven Ciobo
Steven Ciobo Portrait 2013.jpg
Minister for Trade and Investment
Assumed office
18 February 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Andrew Robb
Minister for International Development and the Pacific
In office
21 September 2015 – 18 February 2016
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by No Immediate Predecessor
Succeeded by Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Moncrieff
Assumed office
10 November 2001
Preceded by Kathy Sullivan
Personal details
Born (1974-05-29) 29 May 1974 (age 43)
Mareeba, Queensland
Political party Liberal National Party
Spouse(s) Astra Hauquitz
Residence Gold Coast
Alma mater Bond University;
Queensland University of Technology

Steven Michele Ciobo ( /ˈb/; CHOE-boe) (born 29 May 1974) is an Australian politician. He has been a member of the Australian House of Representatives representing the Division of Moncrieff, Queensland for the Liberal Party since November 2001, and the Liberal National Party since the 2010 federal election. Ciobo has served as the Minister for Trade and Investment in the First Turnbull Ministry since February 2016.[1]

He served in the Abbott ministry as a parliamentary secretary to the Treasurer between September 2013 and December 2014; and as a Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to the Minister for Trade and Investment from December 2014 until September 2015, when he was appointed as Minister for International Development and the Pacific by Malcolm Turnbull following the 2015 Liberal leadership spill.

Early life and education[edit]

Ciobo grew up in Mareeba in North Queensland, the youngest of three children in an Anglican family.[2] His parents, Bruno and Joan, ran a tourism business in Cairns.[2] Ciobo is of Italian descent.[3]

Ciobo graduated in law and commerce from Bond University and earned a master's degree in law from the Queensland University of Technology.[2]

According to ABC Television, he worked on the floor of a food processing factory to help support himself while studying.[4] While at university he reportedly considered joining Australia's domestic intelligence agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).[2] He was a consultant with Coopers & Lybrand, a senior consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers and an adviser to Senator Brett Mason.[2][5]

Political career[edit]

Ciobo has been the federal member for Moncrieff since the federal election on 10 November 2001. He frequently voiced his criticism of the plan by Andrew Wilkie, and adopted by the Gillard Government, to require all poker machine players to set a daily betting limit,[6][7][8] telling a Queensland newspaper the plan "will place the entire population that want to have a $10 flutter within arms' reach of big brother government."[9]

In April 2011, Ciobo called for a radical rethink of the tourism strategy for the Gold Coast, calling on the city to focus on more casinos and glitz. He said turning Surfers Paradise into a world-class entertainment precinct to rival Las Vegas and Macau was the solution to save the Gold Coast from rising unemployment and economic doom.[10]

He was critical of the merger of the Liberal and National parties in Queensland, telling ABC Local Radio in July 2008 "I don't believe it's going to have a positive effect on a federal level. But at a state level it certainly is going to make a very big difference."[11]

In 2011 Ciobo and Labor MP Kelvin Thompson were seconded to the United Nations in New York City for 12 weeks.[12]

Ciobo has repeatedly called for the introduction of daylight saving for South East Queensland,[13][14] despite this position being at odds of that of the Liberal National Party in the Queensland Parliament.[15]

In 2005, he urged the government to change the law to strip naturalised Australians of their citizenship if they incite, support or engage in terrorist activity.[16] In 2006, Ciobo called for the first home owner grant to be doubled,[17] a policy which was adopted by the Rudd government in October 2008 as an economic stimulus measure.[18]

In the lead up to the 2007 federal election, responding to a dare from a local radio station, Ciobo and his wife were thrown into the air on a sling shot bungee at the Surfers Paradise Adrenalin Park. While hurled up in the air, Ciobo's wife spotted one of her husband's stolen election signs on the balcony of a Surfers Paradise apartment. The radio station has since posted a video of the dare on YouTube.[19]

The electorate of Moncrieff covers the central Gold Coast and stretches from the suburb of Miami in the south to the suburb of Southport in the north and west to the suburb of Gilston. The electorate includes the tourism landmark Surfers Paradise as well as the Pacific Fair shopping centre, the Conrad Jupiters casino and hotel complex and the marine mammal park Sea World. Steve Ciobo in 2006 voted against legalising the abortion drug RU486. In 2002 he voted for legalising Embryo Experimentation Bill.[1]

Election results – Steven Ciobo
Election Share of first-preference vote Share of two-party-preferred vote Notes
2001 federal election 51% 65% [20]
2004 federal election 64% 70% [21]
2007 federal election 60% 64% [22]
2010 federal election 62% 68% [23]
2013 federal election 55% 68% [23]
2016 federal election 58% 64% [23]
Ciobo visits the Oakvale Farm tourist attraction in Port Stephens, New South Wales with local member Bob Baldwin.
Ciobo addressing a Financial Services Council conference in Sydney.

In September 2010, shortly after the 2010 federal election, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott removed Ciobo from the shadow ministry, relegating him to the backbench. Abbott refused to answer questions on the reason for Ciobo's demotion, other than to say: "There is something of the quality of snakes and ladders about the business of politics."[24] In an article in The Australian, contributing editor Peter van Onselen speculated the reasons for Ciobo's demotion were that "Abbott has never especially gotten along with Ciobo personally" and that Ciobo was "a Malcolm Turnbull lieutenant."[25] Van Onselen said the demotion reflected poorly on Abbott because Ciobo is "talented, a good media performer and part of the next generation in the Liberal Party."[25]

In December 2009, upon his election as the Leader of the Opposition, Abbott had demoted Ciobo from the shadow cabinet to the outer ministry to be the Shadow Minister for Tourism and the Arts and the Shadow Minister for Youth and Sport.[26] He was previously the Shadow Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors, Tourism and the Arts on 22 September 2008 as part of Malcolm Turnbull's shadow cabinet.[27] In 2009 Ciobo raised the government's slow pace in acting on a report recommending reforms to the franchising sector[28] as a Matter of public importance in Parliament, saying "I plead on behalf of all those people in the franchising sector for Dr Emerson and this government to start doing something."[28]

He challenged an 11th-hour change to the Rudd government's unfair dismissal checklist, saying it will force many small companies to pay "go away" money to terminated employees with a grievance.[29]

Ciobo said Peter Garrett's move to scrap the Uluru climb would be another setback to the tourism industry which had been hit hard by the global economic downturn.[30]

On 23 November 2009 Ciobo introduced his first private members bill as a shadow minister. The bill proposed changes to the government's producer offset to encourage more local feature film production.[31][32]

He was previously the Shadow Minister for Small Business, the Service Economy and Tourism as part of the first opposition front bench, led by Brendan Nelson, following the defeat of the Howard government at the 2007 federal election.[33] Nelson promoted Ciobo into the shadow ministry despite Ciobo publicly pledging his support for Nelson's opponent, Malcolm Turnbull, in the previous month's leadership ballot.[34]

In 2008 Ciobo called the Prime Minister and Treasurer "wimpish" for failing to get Australian banks to pass on interest rate cuts to small businesses.[35]

He attacked the Rudd government over Peter Garrett's decision to axe funding for the Australian National Academy of Music, saying the decision was "the latest chapter in bungled Labor decisions that have ended one of Australia's centres of excellence and left students' futures in limbo".[36]

Ciobo has also called for Captain Cook's landing place at Kurnell in Sydney to be upgraded and promoted as a tourism icon.[37]

In early 2016, Ciobo publicly opposed lock-out laws. Confronted with statistics of a 42.2% drop in assaults after Sydney instated lock-out laws, he responded "Well how does that sit with the way in which patronage is down? I heard someone quip, 'well there were 0 assaults in the Simpson desert too.'" [38]

On 18 September 2013 Ciobo was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Joe Hockey.[39] He was also appointed as Australia's alternate governor to the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.[40] Ciobo was given responsibility for the Foreign Investment Review Board, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Royal Australian Mint, the National Housing Supply Council and the Australian Valuation Office.[40] Since his appointment, Ciobo has abolished both the National Housing Supply Council, saying the Council's activities were "no longer needed";[41][42] and the Australian Valuation Office, saying "a compelling case for the Commonwealth providing its own valuation services no longer exists, particularly given there is a highly competitive market of private sector providers";[43][44] and announced plans to privatise the Royal Australian Mint.[45]

In December 2014, Ciobo was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs and to the Minister for Trade and Investment.[46][47] In 2015 he was promoted as the Minister for International Development and the Pacific and in 2016 promoted as the Minister for Trade and Investment.[48]

Personal life[edit]

In an opinion piece he wrote for ABC's The Drum in June 2011, Ciobo declared he was a libertarian who would "attempt to persuasively argue the need for less regulation."[49] In the article he said that "like the Tassie Tiger, personal responsibility has died out"[49] and that "increasingly, I find myself thinking it is not this new law that is required, rather, it is a good dose of 'toughen up and stop blaming others for your bad decision'."[49]

Ciobo is married with two children and lives on the Gold Coast.[50] In 2010, he told a newspaper his happiest moment was when his son, who was born with a heart condition, came through a five-and-a-half-hour operation well.[51] His wife, Astra Ciobo, is a successful businesswoman[52] who co-founded a Gold Coast public relations firm.[53]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Ministerial Swearing-in Ceremony". Events. Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e "Ciobo, Steven". The Australian. 25 March 2002. Archived from the original on 13 August 2008. 
  3. ^ Ripoll, Bernie (20 June 2012). "INTERVIEW WITH STEVE AUSTIN". ABC News Radio. 
  4. ^ "Mr Steven Ciobo MP". ABC TV Q&A Adventures in Democracy. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Mr Steven Ciobo MP, Member for Moncrieff (Qld)". Parliament of Australia Biographies. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  6. ^ Ciobo, Steven (24 October 2011). "Card won't stop pokie addicts". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  7. ^ McKay, Danielle (2 May 2011). "Wilkie pokie plan under fire". The Mercury. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "Wilkie's Gamble". Four Corners. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Chalmers, Emma (5 October 2010). "Smart cards and limits for poker machines slammed as overkill by Coalition MP". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  10. ^ Lappeman, Suzanne (19 April 2011). "More casinos and glitz the cure for Coast". The Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Interview with Madonna King" (PDF). Inside Canberra. 2 July 2008. 
  12. ^ Peatling, Stephanie (18 September 2011). "Liberal forced to foot bill in Abbott's war on pairs". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  13. ^ "Daylight saving hurts Gold Coast, MP Steven Ciobo says". The Courier-Mail. AAP. 3 April 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  14. ^ "Inside Canberra with Madonna King". ABC Brisbane. 1 October 2008. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Newman rejects daylight saving". The Toowoomba Chronicle. 2 April 2011. Archived from the original on 29 September 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  16. ^ Grattan, Michelle (27 July 2005). "Call to strip terrorists of citizenship". The Age. with AAP. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Coalition MP calls for increase in first home buyers' grant". The World Today. 5 February 2006. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "First home owner grant boost gets industry thumbs up". ABC News. 14 October 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  19. ^ 'Accelerate Your Candidate – Steven Ciobo'
  20. ^ "2001 Official Election Results". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "2004 Official Election Results". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  22. ^ "2007 Official Election Results". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  23. ^ a b c "2010 Official Election Results". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  24. ^ "Abbott names Turnbull in new team". The Courier-Mail. AAP. 14 September 2010. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  25. ^ a b Peter van Onselen (14 September 2010). "Stephen Ciobo's demotion reflects poorly on Tony Abbott". The Australian. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  26. ^ "Reshuffled Liberals on the attack". ABC News. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  27. ^ 'Coalition Shadow Ministry' "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 October 2008. Retrieved 22 January 2009. 
  28. ^ a b Sonti, Chalpat (22 June 2009). "'Stop destroying people's lives'". The Age. WAtoday. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  29. ^ "Fury at Rudd Government's shock change to new unfair dismissal code". Smart Company. 1 July 2009. Archived from the original on 11 April 2012. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  30. ^ Jamie Walker and Nic White (10 July 2009). "Peter Garrett remains rock solid on Uluru climbing ban". The Australian. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  31. ^ Bodey, Michael (22 November 2009). "Rising dollar puts local studios in dire straits". The Australian. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  32. ^ "Opposition plans Offset overhaul". Inside Film. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  33. ^ "May, Ciobo named in Libs front bench". The Gold Coast Bulletin. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  34. ^ "Liberal heavyweights put hands up for leadership". ABC PM. 26 November 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  35. ^ "Banks urged to pass on rate cut". Brisbane Times. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Cook's 1770 landing site in need of facelift". The New Zealand Herald. 3 May 2008. [dead link]
  38. ^ "The pros and cons of lock-out laws". ABC News. 16 February 2016. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  39. ^ "People will be hurt says Julie Bishop ahead of unveiling of Abbott ministry". The Australian. 
  40. ^ a b
  41. ^ Ludlam, Scott. "Group Housing and Axing Housing Supply Council". The Greens. 
  42. ^ Abbott, Tony (8 November 2013). "Boosting productivity and delivering effective efficient government" (Press release). Liberal Party of Australia. Archived from the original on 8 April 2014. 
  43. ^ "Australian Valuation Office to be scrapped, with loss of 200 jobs". The Guardian. Australia. 24 January 2014. 
  44. ^ Towell, Noel (23 January 2014). "Public service jobs cut as ATO closes Australian Valuation Office". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  45. ^ "Canberra moves quickly on assets sales". The Australian. 
  46. ^ "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014. 
  47. ^ Taylor, Lenore (21 December 2014). "Tony Abbott cabinet reshuffle moves Scott Morrison out of immigration". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2014. 
  48. ^ Massola, James (13 February 2016). "Cabinet reshuffle: Malcolm Turnbull announces new frontbench as Mal Brough resigns". The Age. Retrieved 13 February 2016. 
  49. ^ a b c "Is there a Legislator in the house?". The Drum. ABC TV. 28 June 2011. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  50. ^ Regina King and Peter Flowers (20 December 2008). "Moncrieff MP Steve Ciobo's baby joy". The Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  51. ^ "Cat or Dog? The political questions that really matter". Q Weekend Magazine, Courier Mail. 14 August 2010. 
  52. ^ Maiden, Samantha (28 March 2007). "'Update rules on pollies' interests'". The Australian. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  53. ^ Roberts, Greg (12 March 2008). "Hard Right driving Lib poll push". The Australian. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Kathy Sullivan
Member for Moncrieff
Political offices
New ministerial post Minister for International Development and the Pacific
Succeeded by
Concetta Fierravanti-Wells
Preceded by
Andrew Robb
Minister for Trade and Investment