Arthur Sinodinos

Arthur Sinodinos AO (born 25 February 1957) is a former Australian politician who was Senator for New South Wales from 2011 to 2019, representing the Liberal Party. He served as a minister in the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.

Arthur Sinodinos

Sinodinos in June 2016
Senator for New South Wales
In office
13 October 2011  11 November 2019
Preceded byHelen Coonan
Succeeded byJim Molan
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
In office
24 January 2017  20 December 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byGreg Hunt
Succeeded byKaren Andrews (2018)
Cabinet Secretary
In office
21 September 2015  24 January 2017
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byAlan Griffin
Assistant Treasurer
In office
18 September 2013  19 December 2014
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Preceded byDavid Bradbury
Succeeded byJosh Frydenberg
Personal details
Born (1957-02-25) 25 February 1957
Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)Elizabeth Tserdanis
ResidenceRose Bay
Alma materUniversity of Newcastle
Investment banker;

Sinodinos was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, and attended the University of Newcastle. He subsequently worked as a public servant and political adviser, most notably as chief of staff to Prime Minister John Howard between 1997 and 2006. Before being appointed to fill a vacant seat in the Senate in 2011, Sinodinos spent periods working for Goldman Sachs and the National Australia Bank. He was appointed Assistant Treasurer in the Abbott Government in 2013,[1] but stepped aside from his ministerial duties in March 2014 during an investigation by the New South Wales Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC);[2] he still formally held the position until resigning in December 2014.[3] In September 2015, Sinodinos returned to the ministry as Cabinet Secretary in the Turnbull Government. He was made Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science in January 2017.[4] He took a leave of absence from parliament in October 2017 due to ill health, and left the ministry in December 2017.

Background and early career

Sinodinos was born in Newcastle, New South Wales, to Greek immigrant parents.[5] His father was a member of the left-aligned Seaman's Union that, during Sinodinos' early years, was campaigning against the United States intervention in Vietnam. His mother recalled stories of the Greek Civil War of the 1940s where Communist insurgents would knock on the door of their family home at night. Sinodinos has said that this helped him form his early political views.[6]

Sinodinos graduated from the University of Newcastle in 1979 with a Bachelor of Commerce with Honours. He then entered the Australian Public Service as a graduate recruit, working within the Department of Finance, before working in the Department of the Treasury between 1980 and 1987 and again between 1989 and 1995.[5]

He was the Chief of Staff to the then Prime Minister of Australia John Howard from 1997 to 2006, after serving with him previously from 1987 to 1989 when he was Opposition Leader and rejoining him in 1995.[7] As a close confidant of the Prime Minister, he was regarded as one of the most powerful people in the country.[8]

Corporate career

Sinodinos left his position as prime ministerial chief of staff to become a director with the investment bank Goldman Sachs JBWere,[9] and a regional general manager at the National Australia Bank; he reportedly declined an offer to become Australian Ambassador to the United States.[3] In 2008, he was part of a panel that mediated public input into the Defence White Paper.[10] In March 2009, he was appointed a managing director at the National Australia Bank.[11]

Sinodinos became a director of Australian Water Holdings Pty Ltd (AWH) in 2008 and chairman in 2010. He resigned from these positions on becoming a senator.[12][13]

Political career

Sinodinos was appointed to fill the vacant New South Wales Senate seat opened by the resignation of Helen Coonan on 13 October 2011.[14] He served as honorary Finance Director (2009 to 2011) and President (2011-2012) for the NSW branch of the Liberal Party. Initially touted as a candidate for the lower house seat of Bradfield,[15] Sinodinos was appointed to the Australian Senate representing New South Wales, replacing the resigned Liberal Senator Helen Coonan for the remainder of her term, which was due to expire on 30 June 2014.[5][16] At the 2013 election he was elected to a further six-year term from 1 July 2014 to 30 June 2020. Howard was present in Parliament when Sinodinos delivered his maiden speech.[17]

Sinodinos is a member of the board of Global Panel Foundation - Australasia, a non-governmental organisation.[18]

During 2012 Sinodinos was a regular columnist, writing in The Australian.[19]

On 19 March 2014, Sinodinos stood aside from his role as Assistant Treasurer prior to giving evidence as a witness before New South Wales's Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). During the enquiry Sinodinos advised he was unaware of a $74,000 donation made to the Liberal Party by Australian Water Holdings, despite being Deputy Chairman on a $200,000 salary. At the time of the payment Sinodinos was also Treasurer of the Liberal Party.[20] He formally resigned on 19 December 2014 as Assistant Treasurer and was succeeded as Assistant Treasurer by Josh Frydenberg.[21][22]

In January 2017, Sussan Ley temporarily stood aside as the Minister for Health and Aged Care and Minister for Sport and then subsequently resigned from the ministry. Sinodinos briefly acted in her portfolios until a subsequent rearrangement of the Turnbull ministry where Sinodinos was appointed as the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.[4] In October 2017, Sinodinos took leave from parliament and the ministry to aid his recovery from an unnamed type of cancer. He "believes the prognosis is very positive and that the cancer is eminently treatable".[23] This was later revealed to be was stage four lymphoma, in which Sinodinos required a bone marrow transplant.[24] He was voluntarily removed from cabinet in the December 2017 rearrangement.[25]

On 24 August 2018, Sinodinos returned to Canberra and attended the Liberal Party meeting where Malcolm Turnbull was replaced by Scott Morrison as Leader.[26] In TV coverage, he could be seen being greeted by Whip, Nola Marino, and various others after the meeting.

Ambassador to the United States

In May 2019, it was announced that Sinodinos would be appointed the next Australian Ambassador to the United States.[27] He will replace Joe Hockey in the role when Hockey’s term ends in early 2020. Sinodinos resigned as a member of the Senate on 11 November 2019.[28]


Sinodinos was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2008 for service to politics through the executive function of government, to the development of economic policy and reform, and to the Greek community.[29][30]


Sinodinos lives in New South Wales with his wife, whom he met at a Greek Orthodox Church, and their children.[6] He has been a director of the Mary MacKillop Foundation.[31]


  1. "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  2. "Arthur Sinodinos quits frontbench, but ICAC scrutiny set to continue". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  3. Wright, Tony (19 December 2014). "Arthur Sinodinos resigns as Assistant Treasurer: tragedy wrapped in mystery". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  4. "New federal ministers officially sworn in". Sky News. Australia. AAP. 24 January 2017. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  5. "Biography for SINODINOS, Arthur". Parliament of Australia. 2011.
  6. "PM'S chief of staff resigns". 8 December 2006.
  7. Kirk, Alexandra (2 October 2003). "Backroom politics with the PM's Chief of Staff". PM (ABC Radio). Australia.
  8. Meterell, Mark (8 December 2006). "PM's top gun quits for bank". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  9. "Top Howard aide signs with Labor". The Sydney Morning Herald. 18 March 2008.
  10. "Profile of Arthur Sinodinos". Celebrity Speakers. Archived from the original on 29 July 2011.
  11. "Australian Water Holdings: what you need to know". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 20 March 2014.
  12. McClymont, Kate; Swan, Jonathan; Whitbourn, Michaela (22 March 2014). "Arthur Sinodinos: The man least likely". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  13. "Arthur Sinodinos profile". Parliament of Australia.
  14. Priestley, Andrew (16 June 2009). "Bradfield-ing the question: will Arthur Sinodinos be the next MP for Bradfield?". North Shore times. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  15. "Howard adviser to claim Coonan's seat in Senate". The Age. Australia. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2011.
  16. "Howard flinches during Sinodinos maiden speech". ABC News. Australia. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  17. "Board of Directors—Global Panel". Archived from the original on 20 September 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
  18. "Opinion: Arthur Sinodinos". The Australian. 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  19. Jabour, Bridie. "Arthur Sinodinos denies knowledge of $74,000 AWH donation to NSW Libs". the Guardian. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  20. "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  21. Coch, Lukas (23 December 2014). "Sussan Ley sworn in". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  22. "Cabinet minister Arthur Sinodinos reveals private fight with cancer". The Sydney Morning Herald. 5 October 2017.
  23. "Senator Arthur Sinodinos is back after battle with cancer". Neos Kosmos. 11 February 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  24. Turnbull, Malcolm (19 December 2017). "Ministerial Arrangements" (Press release). Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. Senator Arthur Sinodinos wrote to me this week to tell me his medical treatment is taking longer than anticipated and he is unlikely to be able to return from leave until the middle of next year. In those circumstances, he has asked that he not be included in this new ministry. Senator Sinodinos is one of this generation’s most accomplished and experienced public servants and his contributions to the Cabinet have been sorely missed since his illness was first diagnosed. Naturally, we wish him well in his recovery and I look forward to him regaining full health and returning to a senior Ministerial or other government role in the future.
  25. Peter Dutton hands spill petition to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, ABC News Online, 2018-08-24
  26. Knott, Bevan Shields, Matthew (26 May 2019). "Arthur Sinodinos to be appointed US ambassador". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 May 2019.
  27. "I have just received a letter of resignation from Arthur Sinodinos @A_Sinodinos as a senator for NSW. The resignation takes effect immediately". Scott Ryan (President of the Senate). Twitter. 11 November 2019.
  28. "Search Australian Honours: SINODINOS, Arthur". It's an honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 9 June 2008. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
  29. Coorey, Phillip (10 June 2008). "High honours for Howard and his right-hand man". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  30. "Board of Directors: Arthur Sinodinos AO". Mary MacKillop Foundation. 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Helen Coonan
Senator for New South Wales
Succeeded by
Jim Molan
Political offices
Preceded by
Greg Hunt
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
Succeeded by
Michaelia Cash
as Minister for Jobs and Innovation
Preceded by
Alan Griffin
Cabinet Secretary
Succeeded by
Position abolished
Preceded by
David Bradbury
Assistant Treasurer
Succeeded by
Josh Frydenberg
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