Here’s a scenario you might like to imagine. Picture this: It’s November 29, 2017. You only turned 23 last month. Most of your peers are still figuring out what they might like to do with their life, yet here you are, about to deliver your maiden speech to the Australian Parliament. You are the youngest ever member of the Australian Parliament, and Australia’s youngest ever Senator (and Disability Advocate)!
This is the story of a remarkable fella named Jordon Steele-John.
The formidable Greens representative – who has Cerebral Palsy – was also the first person with a disability to sit in the Upper House of Parliament. So we can add that to his already stellar list of achievements.
Of course, by the tender age of 23, Jordon was already a seasoned campaigner, activist and disability advocate: He ran in the W.A State Election back in 2013 while still in his teens. Nonetheless it’s still been a remarkable journey to Australia’s political centre of power.
Let’s hand it over to the Jordon to tell you about himself, shall we?
“I’m not exactly a typical politician. I entered politics by chance in late 2017 – and in that short time I’ve really shaken the place up. I’m also exactly the kind of person the establishment want to keep out.
“I understand what it’s like to struggle to make ends meet, and I know you’re sick of the major parties putting their own self-interest – and the interests of their corporate donors – ahead of all of us, the people they are supposed to represent.
“Our community is made up of hardworking, compassionate people from so many different backgrounds, yet our Parliament doesn’t reflect that diversity or our shared values. Over the past decade, I’ve spent my free time out in the community engaged and involved in local campaigns fighting for a better future for all of us.
“I’m committed to listening to the community and prioritising your needs, because I’m not in the pocket of the big end of town. Now, more than ever, we need Greens in the Senate to hold the major parties to account and keep them honest. Our movement is dedicated to fighting for the needs of our community and building a better future for all of us. As your representative in the Senate for WA, I’m honoured to be the voice that represents all of us – not just the wealthy few.”
If you have the time, please watch Senator Steele-John in action discussing the NDIS in Parliament late last year:
As you’d expect, Jordon has a keen interest in representing ALL Australians. Here’s some recent achievements and accolades.
- Jordon was named the McKinnon Emerging Political Leader of the Year in March 2019 for his leadership as a disability advocate.
- In February 2018, Jordon called for a Royal Commission into disabled prisoner abuse, and in April 2018, commented on Parliament House’s need to become more wheelchair friendly.
- Steele-John was re-elected to the Senate at the 2019 Federal Election, securing 11.8% of the state’s vote, (a swing of 1.48% in his favour.)
Regardless of your political views, there’s no denying this young man is a formidable and worthy advocate for fairness and justice.
It’s fitting that we give Jordon the last word here.
“Over the course of my life I’ve learned that to be a young person with a disability in contemporary Australia is to occupy the intersection of some of our society’s most ingrained myths. At every opportunity I’ve worked hard to bust these myths and be a strong voice for the issues that matter.”
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