Christopher Pyne

Christopher Maurice Pyne (born 13 August 1967) is a retired Australian Liberal Party politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Sturt from 1993 to 2019.

Christopher Pyne
Minister for Defence
In office
28 August 2018  26 May 2019
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byMarise Payne
Succeeded byLinda Reynolds
Minister for Defence Industry
In office
19 July 2016  27 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded bySteven Ciobo
Leader of the House
In office
18 September 2013  26 May 2019
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
DeputyDarren Chester
Preceded byAnthony Albanese
Succeeded byChristian Porter
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
In office
21 September 2015  19 July 2016
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byIan Macfarlane
Succeeded byGreg Hunt
Minister for Education and Training
In office
18 September 2013  21 September 2015
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byBill Shorten
Succeeded bySimon Birmingham
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
In office
16 February 2009  18 September 2013
DeputyLuke Hartsuyker
LeaderMalcolm Turnbull
Tony Abbott
Preceded byJoe Hockey
Succeeded byTony Burke
Minister for Ageing
In office
21 March 2007  3 December 2007
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded bySanto Santoro
Succeeded byJustine Elliot
Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing
In office
30 January 2007  21 March 2007
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byFiona Nash
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Sturt
In office
13 March 1993  11 April 2019
Preceded byIan Wilson
Succeeded byJames Stevens
Personal details
Christopher Maurice Pyne

(1967-08-13) 13 August 1967
Adelaide, South Australia
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s)Carolyn Pyne
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide, University of South Australia
ProfessionLawyer, politician, author
WebsiteOfficial website

Upon the ascendancy of the Abbott Government at the 2013 election, Pyne entered the Cabinet of Australia and became Leader of the House and Minister for Education, renamed Minister for Education and Training from December 2014. Upon the ascendancy of the Turnbull Government at the 2015 Liberal leadership ballot, Pyne remained Leader of the House and became Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science. With the reelection of the government in 2016, Pyne became the Minister for Defence Industry. Upon the installment of the First Morrison Ministry in August 2018, he became the Minister for Defence.

Pyne retired from politics at the 2019 Australian federal election.[1][2][3] . In June 2019, he was appointed as an industry professor at the University of South Australia.[4]

Early years and education

The fifth and youngest child of ophthalmic surgeon, Remington Pyne and his wife Margaret,[5] Pyne was born in Adelaide, South Australia in 1967. Christopher Pyne was educated at the University of Adelaide, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws and was President of Adelaide University Liberal Club from 1987 to 1988.[6][7]


He was a research assistant to Senator Amanda Vanstone and later became President of the South Australian Young Liberals from 1988–1990. Pyne was pre-selected as the Liberal candidate for the safe Labor seat of Ross Smith at the 1989 state election but was defeated by the sitting member and Premier of South Australia, John Bannon.[8] He earned a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice at the University of South Australia and began practising as a solicitor in 1991.


At the 1993 election, aged 25, Pyne was elected to the South Australian Division of Sturt in the House of Representatives. He had earlier defeated Sturt incumbent Ian Wilson in a Liberal pre-selection ballot for the seat. Wilson had held the seat for all but one term since the 1966 election. Between them, he and his father, Keith, had held the seat for all but four years since its creation in 1949. Wilson was 35 years Pyne's senior; indeed, he had won his first election a year before Pyne was born.[9]

Election in Sturt199319961998200120042007201020132016
First preference %39.454.147.850.751.747.248.154.444.4
Two-party-preferred %55.760.057.358.256.850.953.460.155.9

Pyne is a republican[10] and established himself as a member of the moderate, "small-l liberal" faction of the Liberal Party, supporting then Deputy Leader Peter Costello. Pyne remains a close ally of state Liberal Vickie Chapman.[11]

In 1994, after serving as a backbencher for a period, Pyne was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Shadow Minister for Social Security. He retained this position after John Howard was elected as leader, and up to the 1996 election.[7]

Howard Government

After the 1996 Coalition victory Pyne sat as a backbencher. Pyne chaired the Australia Israel Parliamentary group from 1996 to 2004.[8] In 2003, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Family and Community Services, where he remained until 2004, when named Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing.[7] As Parliamentary Secretary, he defended the government's "War on drugs" and established his strong support of illicit drug prohibition, as opposed to harm minimisation.[12] He launched the youth mental health initiative Headspace.[13]

Pyne served as a Parliamentary Secretary until 30 January 2007 when he was appointed Assistant Minister for Health and Ageing. He held this portfolio until 21 March, when he was elevated to the outer ministry as Minister for Ageing, succeeding resigning Minister, Senator Santo Santoro.[9]

In Opposition

Pyne came close to losing Sturt at the 2007 election to Labor candidate Mia Handshin, after suffering a 5.9 percent two-party swing to finish with a 0.9 percent two-party margin (856 votes), which made Sturt the most marginal seat in South Australia. Following the election in which the John Howard-led Coalition government was defeated by the Kevin Rudd-led Labor opposition, Pyne put himself forward as a candidate for Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party at the 2007 Liberal leadership ballot. Julie Bishop prevailed with 44 votes, ahead of Andrew Robb who won 25 votes, while Pyne came third with 18 votes.[14] Following the election of Brendan Nelson as party leader, Pyne was appointed Shadow Minister for Justice and Border Protection.[15]

Following Malcolm Turnbull's ascension at the 2008 Liberal leadership ballot, Pyne was elevated to Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training.[16] After Bishop stepped down from the portfolio of Shadow Treasurer, Joe Hockey took up the portfolio, with Pyne replacing Hockey as Manager of Opposition Business in the House on 16 February 2009.

Pyne was reappointed as Manager of Opposition Business in the House and Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training by Tony Abbott after he deposed Turnbull at the 2009 Liberal leadership ballot.[17] Pyne was re-elected at the 2010 election, receiving a 2.5 percent two-party swing to finish with a marginal 53.4 percent two-party vote,[18] which made neighbouring Boothby the most marginal seat in South Australia. Pyne was re-appointed as Manager of Opposition Business in the House and Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training.[19]

Abbott Government

Pyne was re-elected to Sturt at the 2013 election, receiving a 6.5 percent two-party swing to finish with a 60.1 percent two-party vote, making Sturt a safe Liberal seat on paper. Pyne was elevated to the Cabinet of Australia on 18 September 2013 as Leader of the House and Minister for Education in the Abbott Government.[20] In December 2014, his portfolio was renamed to Minister for Education and Training.[21]

As Minister for Education and Training, Pyne enacted changes to the education system to provide minimum standards for teachers,[22] promoted independent public schooling,[23] expanded phonics teaching,[24] and created a new national curriculum.[25] Pyne also attempted to reform the university sector to introduce market principles but was rejected by the Senate.[26]

In May 2014, Pyne suggested that HECS debts should be reclaimed from the estates of deceased students.[27]

Turnbull Government

Despite much speculation Pyne would be appointed as Defence Minister,[28] he remained Leader of the House and was appointed as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science in the Turnbull Government following Malcolm Turnbull's re-ascension at the 2015 Liberal leadership ballot. As Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Pyne was credited with creating and implementing the National Innovation and Science Agenda (NISA).[29]

With the reelection of the Government in 2016, Pyne became the Minister for Defence Industry in the Second Turnbull Ministry.[30] As Minister for Defence Industry, Pyne was given responsibility for implementing the largest modernisation of the Australian Defence Force since the Second World War, increasing the Australian Government's investment in defence capability to almost $200 billion.[31][32]

Between February 2016 and March 2019, Pyne co-hosted weekly television program Pyne & Marles on Sky News Live with Labor MP Richard Marles.[33]

Pyne retained Sturt at the 2016 election for the Liberals with a 55.9 percent two-party vote from a 4.2 percent two-party swing, reducing the seat from a safe to marginal status.

Morrison Government

Following the change of Prime Minister on 24 August 2018, Pyne was promoted to Minister for Defence.[34]

On 2 March 2019 Pyne announced that he would not recontest the seat of Sturt at the next federal election; and would retire from politics.[1][2][3] The House of Representatives was dissolved on 11 April 2019.

Personal life

Pyne and his wife Carolyn have four children, and reside in Adelaide.[7]


  • A Letter To My Children (2015), non-fiction[35]


  1. Henriques-Gomes, Luke (2 March 2019). "'Not a life sentence': Christopher Pyne plots next move after 26 years in parliament". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  2. Belot, Henry (2 March 2019). "Scott Morrison insists he's not distracted by ministerial exodus as Christopher Pyne bows out of politics". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  3. Livingston, Angus (2 March 2019). "Pyne's new chapter after 26 Canberra years". Blue Mountains Gazette. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  4. "Christopher Pyne appointed professor by University of South Australia". The Australian. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  5. "RANZCO - Home". Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  6. "The Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Member for Sturt (SA)". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  7. "Chris Pyne Online". Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  8. "Christopher Pyne online biography". Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  9. "Costello backer gets his reward". The Age. Melbourne. 19 March 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  10. Political debate on ABC between Pyne, Mark Latham and moderator Tony Jones
  11. "South Australia's 10 most poisonous political feuds". The Advertiser. 21 May 2014.
  12. "Government defends drugs policy". ABC News. Australia. 28 September 2006. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  13. "Pyne launches youth mental health initiative". Department of Health and Ageing. 18 July 2006. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  14. "Nelson's victory puts Turnbull on deck". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 November 2007.
  15. "Brendan Nelson announces shadow ministry". The Courier-Mail. 6 December 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2008.
  16. "SA's Chris Pyne named Education Spokesman in new Coalition frontbench". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 23 September 2008. Retrieved 22 September 2008.
  17. "Shock result as Abbott wins Liberal leadership by one vote ... ETS dead". The Sydney Morning Herald. 1 December 2009. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
  18. "Sturt results – 2010 federal election: AEC". Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  19. Parliamentary Handbook excerpt,; accessed 26 December 2014.
  20. "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  21. "Parliament House Canberra press conference" (transcript) (Press release). Prime Minister of Australia. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 26 December 2014.
  22. Borrello, Eliza. "Student teachers will need to pass literacy and numeracy test before being allowed to graduate". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  23. Griffiths, Emma. "Christopher Pyne announces $70 million fund to help public schools go it alone". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 3 February 2014.
  24. Bita, Natasha. "Phonics, faith and coding for primary school kids". The Australian. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  25. Pyne, Christopher. "A new national curriculum from 2016". Department of Education. Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  26. Kenny, Mark. "Degrees of failure: university reforms fail to pass Senate". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  27. Knott, Matthew. "Christopher Pyne suggests collecting HECS debts from dead students as way to help budget". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  28. Glasgow, Will (16 September 2015). "The gossip on Hockey, Pyne, Defence and Communications". Australian Financial Review.
  29. Borrello, Eliza. "Innovation statement: PM Malcolm Turnbull calls for 'ideas boom' as he unveils $1b vision for Australia's future". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  30. Anderson, Stephanie (20 July 2016). "Election 2016: Malcolm Turnbull unveils ministry with Christopher Pyne, Greg Hunt on the move". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 22 July 2016.
  31. Burgess, Verona. "Why Pyne is the real Defence Minister". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  32. "Defence White Paper 2016" (PDF). Department of Defence. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  33. Molloy, Shannon (28 January 2016). "Christopher Pyne ... the TV star? The colourful MP lands his own weekly show, alongside rival Richard Marles". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
  34. Yaxley, Louise (26 August 2018). "Scott Morrison announces new ministry with Julie Bishop replaced by Marise Payne as foreign affairs minister". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  35. "A Letter To My Children". Melbourne University Publishing. 3 August 2015. Retrieved 2 June 2016.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ian Wilson
Member for Sturt
Succeeded by
James Stevens
Political offices
Preceded by
Santo Santoro
Minister for Ageing
Succeeded by
Justine Elliot
Preceded by
Joe Hockey
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
Succeeded by
Tony Burke
Preceded by
Anthony Albanese
Leader of the House
Succeeded by
Christian Porter
Preceded by
Bill Shorten
Minister for Education and Training
Succeeded by
Simon Birmingham
Preceded by
Ian Macfarlane
Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
Succeeded by
Greg Hunt
Preceded by
Dan Tehan
Minister for Defence Industry
Succeeded by
Steven Ciobo
Preceded by
Marise Payne
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Linda Reynolds
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