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Simon grew up near Gawler in Adelaide’s north on his family’s small horse agistment property and was educated at local schools before going on to study at the University of Adelaide where he completed a Masters of Business Administration.
Prior to entering the Senate, Simon worked for a number of industry bodies, establishing particular experience in the wine, tourism and hospitality sectors – industries that are critical to South Australia’s prosperity.
After less than three years in the Senate Simon was appointed to the Shadow Ministry, serving as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray-Darling Basin and the Environment until the 2013 election. Following the change of government in 2013 Simon served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, with responsibility for water policy, including the Murray-Darling Basin, National Parks and the Bureau of Meteorology.
In 2014 Simon was appointed to serve as the Assistant Minister for Education and Training in the Abbott Ministry, with specific responsibility for vocational education, apprenticeships, training and skills. Simon then went on to become Minister for Education and Training in the Turnbull government in September 2015 and was made Manager of Government Business in the Senate in February 2018.
Under the Morrison Government, Simon was appointed as Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate in August 2018. Simon was then appointed as Minister for Finance in October 2020 while also having the responsibility as Leader of the Government in the Senate. Following the 2022 federal election, Simon was appointed Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and the position of Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.
Simon is married to Courtney and together they have two young daughters, Matilda and Amelia. Simon is an active advocate for mental health and ovarian cancer and is a proud Adelaide Crows fan.
About Simon Birmingham
Simon John Birmingham is an Australian politician who has been a Senator for South Australia since 2007. He was born on 14 June 1974 in Adelaide, South Australia, and grew up on his family’s horse agistment property near Gawler, South Australia. He was educated at Gawler High School and the University of Adelaide, where he studied economics and later completed a Master of Business Administration from the Adelaide Graduate School of Business. He began his career working as an electorate officer for Senator Robert Hill before moving to state politics as a ministerial advisor to Joan Hall.
Birmingham’s political career began when he won Liberal Party preselection for the marginal seat of Hindmarsh at the 2004 federal election, but was narrowly defeated by Labor’s Steve Georganas. He then won Liberal Party preselection as a Senate candidate and was elected to a six-year term in 2007. He entered the Senate earlier, however, being appointed to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Senator Jeannie Ferris. At the time of his appointment on 3 May 2007, Birmingham was the youngest member of the Australian Senate. He is identified with the moderate wing of the Liberal Party.
Birmingham served on several committees in the Senate, including the Senate Environment, Communications, and Arts Committees, the Senate Select Committee on the National Broadband Network, and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. He was also the Chair of the Senate Environment and Communications References Committee and the Deputy Chair of the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee. He is also deputy chair of the Parliamentary Association for UNICEF and has a keen interest in water issues including the health and future of the Murray Darling Basin. In December 2008, he introduced a Private Member’s Bill, The Water Amendment (Saving the Goulburn and Murray Rivers) Bill 2008.
After the 2013 federal election, Birmingham served in the Abbott Ministry as a parliamentary secretary to the Minister for the Environment and then as the Assistant Minister for Education and Training. He became the Minister for Education and Training in the First Turnbull Ministry following the Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill in September 2015. Upon the installment of the Morrison Ministry in August 2018, he became the Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. On 30 October 2020, Birmingham was appointed Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister for Finance.
Birmingham is married to his former campaign manager Courtney Morcombe, and they have two daughters.
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