Stephen Jones is the Federal Labor Member for Whitlam, elected in 2010.
Stephen grew up in the Illawarra and it's where he and his wife are raising their two young children.
One of five kids from a working class family, Stephen’s father taught at the local TAFE and his mother worked as a School Assistant.
“I grew up in Wollongong, in a big Catholic family. There was always lots of kids, lots of noise, lots of sport, not so much money, but a strong commitment to working hard, getting a good education, and making a contribution to the community that you live in.”
Stephen attended St Brigid’s Primary School, Gwynneville, before attending Edmund Rice College in Wollongong, where he graduated as Dux and School Captain.
He completed a BA (History and Politics) at the University of Wollongong, while working on various youth projects at local health services, before moving on to study law at Macquarie University.
“I worked hard at school, at university and in every job I’ve had because that was the only way to get ahead. Putting myself through two degrees at uni by working full time and studying part time was a hard slog, but it made me appreciate things a lot more.”
“The years I spent working as a Youth Worker and for people with disabilities gave me an appreciation of the importance how the voluntary community sector and government need to work together to help people in times of crisis.”
Stephen has always loved a big challenge. At age 21 he embarked on an epic bicycle ride across Australia, from Wollongong to Perth.
“I often get asked, what made you ride you bike around the Australia. It’s simple really. I wanted to travel, I didn’t have much money, I didn’t have a car, but I did have a bike. It turned out to be a real adventure and a great way to see the country. Working in odd jobs, riding from town to town and meeting a lot of characters a long the way.”
Stephen stepped down as the National Secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union CPSU), one of Australia’s largest and most progressive unions in 2010 to focus on his election campaign. He was the National Secretary for over five years and a union representative for over 15 years.
“One of the great things about working for the CPSU is that it gave me a real insight into how Government and the public service really work. It has proved valuable experience for working in Parliament.”
After joining CPSU in 1993, Stephen worked in various roles including NSW Branch Secretary and Secretary of the Communications Division, representing staff in Telstra and helping secure the entitlements of workers who lost their jobs during the One-Tel collapse.
Seconded to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 2004, Stephen formed part of the team that secured justice and compensation for the asbestos disease victims of James Hardie.
“Working with Greg Combet and Bernie Banton to secure that deal showed the important role the Unions play in this country. If it hadn’t been for the ACTU campaign, James Hardie would have got away with it.”
Stephen has a long-term interest in public policy and the role of government in delivering long-term policy solutions to the big issues facing Australia. In 2007 he was a founding board member of the progressive think-tank, the Centre for Policy Development. Stephen also attended the 2020 Summit as a conference delegate.
- House Standing Committee on Economics
- House Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications
- Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform