Jon Stanhope

From Academic Kids

Jon Stanhope (born 1951) is the current Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, representing the Australian Labor Party.

Stanhope was born in Gundagai, New South Wales but moved down the road to Canberra to study at the Australian National University. After graduation from his law degree he became a legal officer for the public service and a staffer for a number of senior ALP figures, including leader Kim Beazley

In 1998 Stanhope was elected to the ACT Legislative Assembly and immediately became party leader. Stanhope played a major role in the downfall of Kate Carnell's Liberal government, concentrating heavily on her involvement in the Bruce Stadium affair.

Stanhope was elected ACT Chief Minister in 2001 when Labor won 8 of the 17 seats in the Assembly, and came within 300 votes of winning a 9th, which would have granted majority government for the first time in ACT history.

Canberra was hit by bushfires in January 2003. Four people died and 500 houses were detroyed. Stanhope was lauded from some sectors of the community for his leadership and his support of those involved in managing the bushfire. Stanhope had made headlines in the week before the bushfires hit Canberra when he personally jumped from a helicopter into a dam to save the pilot of another helicopter which had crashed into the water. However, in May 2004 Stanhope admitted he had received a phone call from an Emergency Services worker on the day before the firestorm, despite previous insistence he had not, leading to doubts that the community had been reasonably and adequately warned of the fire and that all that could have been done, had been done to prepare the city for the fire front. Stanhope faced a no-confidence motion in the Assembly, which if passed meant he would have been forced to resign as Chief Minister. The motion was downgraded to a censure motion by the influence of the Australian Democrats and passed in the Assembly, meaning Stanhope kept his job. There are ongoing issues with the coronial inquest that arose from the bushfires.

At the 2004 ACT election, Stanhope and the ALP won an historic victory, winning majority government for the first time in the Territory's history. The result was a major reversal from the federal election a week earlier, at which Labor was trounced by John Howard's Liberals.


Preceded by:
Wayne Berry
Opposition Leader of the Australian Capital Territory
19982001
Succeeded by:
Gary Humphries
Preceded by:
Gary Humphries
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
2001–present
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

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