Amanda Rishworth

Amanda Louise Rishworth (born 10 July 1978) is an Australian politician serving as the Australian Labor Party member for the House of Representatives seat of Kingston in South Australia since the 2007 election. Rishworth is Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development, Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs, and Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel in the Shorten Shadow Ministry.

Amanda Rishworth

Member of the Australian Parliament
for Kingston
Assumed office
24 November 2007
Preceded byKym Richardson
Personal details
Born (1978-07-10) 10 July 1978
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Spouse(s)Timothy Walker
ResidenceHallett Cove, South Australia
Alma materFlinders University,
University of Adelaide

Early years

Rishworth was born in Adelaide at Flinders Medical Centre to Judith and Leslie, and has two siblings, Julian and Shannon.[1] She attended Unley High School[2] and was a retail worker and swimming instructor while also doing volunteer surf lifesaving duties at Seacliff.[3][4] She later worked as an organiser and trainer for the Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) and was president of Australian Young Labor in 2000.[5]

Rishworth studied psychology at Flinders University where she was president of the students' union before furthering her studies at Adelaide University with a master's degree in clinical psychology. She then became a practising psychologist in 2005 working in the delivery of mental health care to the community.[6]

Political career

Rishworth was a Labor candidate at the 2006 state election for the electoral district of Fisher, where she was defeated by sitting independent Bob Such. Labor received a 59.4 per cent two-party-preferred vote from a 15.1-point swing against the Liberals, marking the first time since the 1985 state election that Labor won the two-party-preferred vote in Fisher.[7]

In November 2006 Rishworth was preselected unopposed to contest the seat of Kingston at the 2007 federal election. She was up against the sitting Coalition member Kym Richardson who held the most marginal seat for his party after winning it at the 2004 federal election by just 119 votes.[8] Two opinion polls conducted throughout the year by The Advertiser had a swing to Rishworth of up to 7 per cent.[9][10] Key issues she concentrated on included the lack of broadband access in the electorate, as well as the shortage of doctors. During a debate on industrial relations centring on the Howard Government's controversial WorkChoices legislation, Rishworth was forced to debate minister Joe Hockey after Richardson pulled out with a prior commitment.[11] Once the election campaign began local announcements included a $12.5 million GP Super Clinic[12] and a $7 million upgrade to the South Road and Victor Harbor Road intersection.[13] A poll midway through the campaign had Rishworth with a similar lead over Richardson to earlier opinion polls and on election day she ended up defeating him with a 54.4 per cent two-party-preferred vote from a 4.5-point swing, one of the seats that took the party from opposition to government after nearly 12 years.


Rishworth gave her maiden speech to the House of Representatives in February 2008. She spoke of the time when she was a retail worker at Toys "R" Us[14] during her teenage years and was offered an Australian workplace agreement (AWA) as a result of new laws introduced by the Howard government, which she refused to sign and as a result was put out of work.[15]

"Industrial relations has been important to me for many years. I felt the hard edge of the 1996 workplace relations legislation when I was offered an AWA while employed by a large American retailer. I refused to sign and was no longer offered work despite my five years of loyal service. I was 19 years old at the time. Hence, industrial reform and the enforcement of AWAs is not merely an abstract concept for me."[1]

Rishworth's work in the parliament included being a member of the health and ageing, communications as well as the industry, science and innovation committees.[4]

In September 2008, Rishworth introduced a private member's bill in the parliament calling for a new agreement between the Australian and British governments concerning the need to index the British pension in Australia.[16]

In February 2010, Rishworth again introduced a private member's bill into parliament, this time calling for a new code of conduct for the media industry to moderate the rapid growth of sexualisation in video clips, magazines, clothes and the internet.[17]

At the 2010 federal election, Rishworth's Liberal party opponent was Chris Zanker, a chief inspector with the South Australian Police who was only preselected a month before the election was called. During the campaign, Rishworth focussed on her record with construction underway on the GP super clinic as well as securing funds for an extension of the Noarlunga railway line to Seaford.[18] A poll by The Advertiser showed a 12-point swing to her, with some suggesting this was in part due to new prime minister Julia Gillard having grown up in the Adelaide area.[19] She was later re-elected with a 63.9 per cent two-party vote from a 9.5-point two-party swing, the largest margin of any party in Kingston's history, and the highest swing of any 2010 Labor candidate in the country,[20] an election where the party suffered a 2.6-point swing against it nationally.[21] In one stroke, she turned Kingston from the most marginal Labor seat in South Australia into the second-safest (behind only Port Adelaide).

On 11 March 2011, Rishworth and four other Australian parliamentarians were stuck on a bullet train heading from Kyoto to Tokyo for around five hours because of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. They were in Japan on a young leaders exchange.[22][23]

Rishworth was chair of the House of Representatives standing committee on education and employment as well as being a member of the Joint Standing electoral matters and Joint Select cyber-safety committees. She was also part of the Speaker's panel and was promoted to Parliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water along with Disabilities and Carers in March 2013.[24]


Rishworth retained her seat of Kingston at the 2013 election with a 59.7 per cent two-party vote from a 4.9-point swing, then the second-largest margin of any party in Kingston's history. Labor, however, lost government, making Rishworth only the fourth opposition MP in the seat's history. She was subsequently named Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health in the Shorten Shadow Ministry. On 24 June 2014, she was promoted to the Shadow outer ministry as Shadow Assistant Minister for Education.[25]

She again retained her seat at the 2016 election with a 67 per cent two-party vote from a 7.3-point swing, the largest margin of any party in Kingston's history. Though Kingston remained Labor's second-safest South Australian seat behind Port Adelaide, Rishworth's primary vote of 49.4 per cent was the highest any candidate received throughout the eleven South Australian seats. Though Labor picked up a two-party swing in all eleven seats, the presence of Nick Xenophon Team candidates in all eleven seats produced, apart from a suppressed major party primary vote, a result where Rishworth was the only major party candidate in the state to pick up a primary vote swing.

Following the 2016 election, Rishworth was named Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel. In late 2017 Rishworth was also named Shadow Minister for Early Childhood Education and Development and was promoted to Shadow Cabinet.


Rishworth supports same-sex marriage having voted in support of a bill in Federal Parliament in 2012 and 2017.[26][27]

Personal life

Rishworth married Timothy Walker[28] in January 2013[29] and they have one son, Percy.[30] She lives in the Kingston electorate at Hallett Cove[31] and continues to be a volunteer surf lifesaver at Christies Beach.


  1. Rishworth, Amanda (18 February 2008). "Ms Amanda Rishworth MP, Member for Kingston (SA)". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 6 September 2011.
  2. Edwards, Verity (15 December 2006). "The town she left behind embraces Gillard". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  3. Rishworth, Amanda (22 September 2008). "ADJOURNMENT Kingston Electorate: Surf Lifesaving". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 14 September 2011.
  4. "Biography for Amanda Rishworth". Parliament of Australia. 18 November 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  5. Australian Labor Party : Amanda Rishworth – Member for Kingston Archived 11 February 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Australian Labor Party. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  6. "Ms Amanda Rishworth MP". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2011.
  7. "Fisher: 2010 SA election results". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 August 2014.
  8. "ALP announces candidates for SA marginal seats". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 November 2006. Archived from the original on 15 February 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
  9. Kenny, Mark (30 January 2007). "SA Marginals swing to Labor". The Advertiser. News Limited. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  10. Kenny, Mark (26 July 2007). "Labor landslide looms". The Advertiser. News Limited. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  11. Shepherd, Tory (12 October 2007). "MP moves aside for the real deal". The Advertiser. News Limited. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  12. "Big GP clinic pledged for Adelaide's south". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 November 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  13. "Labor pledge for Victor Harbor road". ABC News Online. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 24 October 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  14. Champion, Nick (17 March 2009). "HIGHER EDUCATION LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (STUDENT SERVICES AND AMENITIES, AND OTHER MEASURES) BILL 2009". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
  15. "Young and vulnerable worker becomes MP". Australian Services Union. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2011.
  16. Rishworth, Amanda (15 September 2008). "Main Committee PRIVATE MEMBERS' BUSINESS British Pensions". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
  17. Herbert, Browyn (9 February 2010). "Sexualised images stir parliamentary debate". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Archived from the original on 6 November 2010. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  18. Munro, Ian (26 July 2010). "Labor incumbent looks safe in see-saw seat". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
  19. Nason, David; Owen, Michael (24 July 2010). "Southern states claim their girl". The Australian. News Limited. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  20. Kroehn, Chantelle (24 August 2010). "Rishworth swing tops the nation". Southern Times Messenger. News Limited. Archived from the original on 13 September 2010. Retrieved 20 September 2010.
  21. "Two Party Preferred by state". Australian Electoral Commission. 29 September 2010. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.
  22. Barila, Greg (11 March 2011). "Rishworth stuck on train in quake hit Japan". Southern Times Messenger. News Limited. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  23. "Aussie MPs return safely to Tokyo". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 12 March 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2011.
  24. Swan, Jonathan (25 March 2013). "Albanese promoted in Gillard reshuffle". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  25. Osborne, Paul (24 June 2014). "Labor, Greens take aim at budget". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  26. "Lower House votes down same-sex marriage bill". ABC News. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  27. Equality, Australian Marriage. "Where your MP stands on Marriage Equality". Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  28. "Opposition MPs buy into resources shares". Ninemsn. 22 March 2012. Archived from the original on 25 June 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  29. "Draft Caption Notes" (PDF). Janelle Saffin. Bradley Reporting. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2014. Retrieved 25 June 2014.
  30. Peatling, Stephanie (17 March 2015). "Politics Live: March 17, 2015". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  31. Goldsmith, David (4 August 2010). "Hallett Cove library push". Guardian Messenger. News Limited. Retrieved 9 October 2011.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Kym Richardson
Member for Kingston
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