Meet the first disabled Senator and youngest person in the Senate, Senator Jordan Steele-John.
Jordan likes to introduce himself as “not a typical senator”. He was born in North Hampton, England in 1994 and entered politics by chance in late 2017. He was a student at Macquarie University studying a bachelor’s degree in politics and history before his studies were cut short after his appointment to the Senate. Jordan uses a wheelchair for cerebral palsy and is a disability and youth advocate and activist, striving for positive change with his time in the senate.
Since he entered politics, he has really shaken things up. Jordan understands that as a young, disabled person, he has a platform to effect change for people living with disabilities in Australia. He has been very engaged in the youth climate movement since its start and is passionate about addressing climate issues. Jordan also spends a lot of time campaigning in the disability, health, and peace spaces as he understands how integral they are to making a community a safe and secure space for everyone.
Jordan explains, “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. I will continue to do so in parliament as your senator for Western Australia.”
Political life of Jordan Steele-John:
Before his election, Jordan spent a lot of his free time out in the Western Australian community campaigning for better futures for all. His passion towards climate change and disability advocacy was at the forefront of what he does.
When Jordan entered politics in 2017, he was campaigning to ensure Greens’ popular co-deputy Senator Scott Ludlam kept his seat. Jordan ran third on the Greens’ West Australian Senate ticket, but the 22-year-old was brought into the Senate after the shock resignation of Mr Ludlam. The win made Jordan the youngest sitting federal politician and the first disabled politician.
Jordan’s political positions are-
Disability Rights and Services:
- 2018, called for a Royal Commission into disabled prisoner abuse. He also made comments on accessibility for wheelchairs in Parliament House.
- 2019, successful campaigning led to the establishment of the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation of People with Disability.
- 2020, successfully campaigned to get a compensation scheme for thalidomide survivors.
- 2021, secure amendments that will protect people making confidential statements to the Royal Commission. Also, pressured the government to abolish independent assessments in the NDIS and continue to strive to increase the Disability Support Pension and carers’ payment.
Health and Mental Health
- 2021, took on the Australian Greens’ Health and Mental Health portfolio. He announced the Greens’ policy to expand Medicare to cover mental health treatment.
- Jordan was selected as the One Young World Global Youth Politician of the Year in 2018 and the Mckinnon Prize for Emerging Political Leadership in 2019.
Read more about Jordan here: https://greens.org.au/wa/person/jordon-steele-john