David Shoebridge
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David Shoebridge

David Martin Shoebridge is an Australian politician, environmental and social justice activist and former barrister. He has been a Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Council since September 2010.

Early life and career

Shoebridge was born in Sydney. He attended James Ruse Agricultural High School,[1] before receiving a combined Bachelor of Arts (in 1993) and a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) (in 1995) at the University of Sydney. Shoebridge was admitted as a lawyer in 1998, and was admitted to the NSW Bar in 2003.

Shoebridge started his professional career as an associate to Justice Eric Baker of the Family Court of Australia (from March 1996 to March 1998).

Before entering parliament, Shoebridge worked as a lawyer for 13 years, the majority of this time as a barrister with a focus on personal injury law, employment, discrimination and tort law.[2]

Political career

Shoebridge with Waverley Greens campaigning to save the Bondi Pavilion

Shoebridge was elected to Woollahra Municipal Council in 2004 and reelected in 2008.[3] Of the over eight years as a councillor, he served one term as Deputy Mayor of Woollahra. He was an executive of the Local Government Association from 2008 to 2010 and an executive of the Holdsworth Community Centre in Woollahra from 2004 to 2008.

He was Convenor of the Greens NSW from August 2008 to August 2010. He was the Greens candidate for the state seat of Vaucluse in the 2007 state election.[4]

He became a member of the Legislative Council in September 2010 after Sylvia Hale resigned from the Legislative Council.[5] He was preselected to the first position on the Greens' upper house ticket for the 2011 state election, and was elected (at that election) as a member of the Legislative Council.

Shoebridge is currently a member of NSW Parliament's Standing Committee on Law and Justice and the Legislation Review Committee, and deputy chair of the Portfolio Committee No. 4 - Legal Affairs.[6]

Shoebridge has worked with victims of child sexual abuse. In September 2012 at a public meeting in Newcastle,[7] Shoebridge joined journalist Joanne McCarthy and police whistleblower Peter Fox to call for a Royal Commission into sexual abuse by the Catholic Church and other institutions. A Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was established in January 2013. Shoebridge has also introduced legislation in Parliament to overturn the Ellis defence, remove the statute of limitations and reform sentencing procedures related to child sex abuse.

On 2 June 2011, Shoebridge took the record for the longest speech in the NSW Legislative Council - while talking continuously for over five hours and 58 minutes against NSW government legislation that affected public sector wages and conditions.[8][9]

In 2012, Shoebridge advocated against proposed changes to workers' rights - as the NSW government made changes to the workers compensation system. Accompanied by the first general strike by fire-fighters since 1956, Shoebridge helped secure amendments to the legislation meaning that fire-fighters and paramedics retained the same cover as police officers.[10][11]

Shoebridge campaigned successfully in July 2013 for the abolition of the Game Council NSW by the NSW government. This followed the findings and recommendations of the Dunn Report into the Game Council's governance, called after senior Game Council figures were suspended after allegations of illegal hunting.[12][13]

In November 2013, Shoebridge moved the motion that established a Parliamentary Inquiry into the Bowraville murders. In November 2014 a unanimous report was handed down which made 15 recommendations including that the NSW Police Force reviews its processes, procedures and training programs that relate to Aboriginal people and that the NSW government reviews a relevant section of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2001. In May 2016, the then NSW Attorney-General sent an application for a retrial to the Court of Criminal Appeal. In November 2017 the Court of Criminal Appeal held four hearings into the case,[14] and decided in 2018 against a retrial.

Shoebridge worked closely with community groups such as the Better Planning Network to force the then O'Farrell government to withdraw its planning reforms in November 2013.

In 2015, the Chinese consulate of Sydney warned members of parliament to not attend Shoebridge's briefing on human rights abuses in China's organ trade.[15] In 2016, Shoebridge introduced a bill outlawing organ trade in New South Wales.[16]

Starting in 2015 Shoebridge campaigned with community groups, residents and councillors across NSW against forced council amalgamations by the NSW Coalition government. Woollahra Council was a leader in the litigation against the NSW government - with the High Court granting it leave to appeal. In February 2017 the campaign had a major success with the Berejiklian government abandoning all pending forced amalgamations in the regions.[17] In July 2017 the government backed down again abandoning all remaining council amalgamations in Sydney.[18]

Shoebridge has campaigned on police accountability. In 2014, as part of a broader campaign to curb the use of police drug dogs, Shoebridge launched Facebook page Sniff Off with individuals reporting drug dog locations at train stations, festivals and other public places in NSW.[19]Through freedom of information and questions in Parliament Shoebridge obtained data that indicates drug dogs get it wrong up to 80% of the time.[20]

On 12 April 2018, Shoebridge successfully moved the motion in the NSW parliament to force the government to release its business case for the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum from Ultimo. In so doing, Shoebridge secured the support of MPs from Labor and other parties, as well as one Liberal MP.[21]

On 15 May 2018, Shoebridge spoke at a pro-Palestinian rally, following the alleged deaths of possibly up to 60 Palestinians (according to Palestinian sources) during the 2018 Gaza border riots.

In June 2020 one part-time member of Shoebridge's staff was charged with defacing a statue of James Cook in Hyde Park, Sydney outside of work hours. Shoebridge declared he would not sack the staffer due to the actions being taken outside of work hours, and he was censured by the NSW Upper House for failing to condemn the act. Shoebridge condemned the public criticism that had been piled on his staffer.[22]

Personal life

Shoebridge lives in the Sydney suburb of Woollahra. He has two daughters with his partner Patricia. He founded the Greens Bushwalking Club (with the assistance of the National Parks Association).[23]


  1. ^ www.parliament.nsw.gov.au https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/Hansard/Pages/HansardResult.aspx#/docid/HANSARD-1820781676-67734/link/87. Retrieved 2020. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  2. ^ "Inaugural speech David Shoebridge" (PDF). NSW Parliament. 22 September 2010. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ "Cooper Ward". New South Wales Electoral Commission. 2008. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ "Election Results: Vaucluse". ABC Elections. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 April 2007. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "NSW Greens upper house MP Sylvia Hale quits parliament early". The Australian. 31 August 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ "Mr David SHOEBRIDGE, MLC". Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2019.
  7. ^ "EVENT - Public Forum: The Need for a Royal Commission into Sexual Abuse".
  8. ^ Nicholls, Sean (3 June 2011). "Time freezes as record-breaking MP speaks for nearly six hours". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ "Govt Announces change to public sector pay cap". NSW Nurses and Midwives' Association. 14 May 2013. Archived from the original on 2 August 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  10. ^ "Greens help keep emergency workers covered". Echonetdaily. 26 June 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  11. ^ "NSW Firefighters strike over workers compensation cuts". PM (ABC Radio). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 2013.
  12. ^ "Blow to Game Council as leaders charged over hunt". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 April 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  13. ^ "Governance Review of the Game Council of NSW" (PDF). Dunn report (PDF). Game Council New South Wales. 14 June 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 2013.
  14. ^ "Bowraville murders' prime suspect propositioned 16yo girl, court told".
  15. ^ Nicholls, Sean (10 August 2015). "China issues veiled threat to NSW MPs over attendance at organ trade forum". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2020.
  16. ^ Writers, Staff (19 July 2017). "David and Goliath: MP tries to stop Australians from buying organs overseas". The Catholic Weekly. Retrieved 2020.
  17. ^ "Berejiklian government stays course on Sydney council mergers but relents on regions".
  18. ^ "NSW council amalgamations scrapped after Government backflip".
  19. ^ "Sniff Off".
  20. ^ "Sniffer dogs get it wrong four out of five times".
  21. ^ Rachel Eddie, "Rogue MP crosses the floor to expose Powerhouse Museum business case", The New Daily, 12 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-13.
  22. ^ Visentin, Lisa (16 June 2020). "Shoebridge stands by staffer accused of Cook statue vandalism". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2020.
  23. ^ [1]

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