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Stephen Smith


Professor Stephen Smith has been a Professor of Public International Law at the University of Western Australia since 2014. Professor Smith was Federal Member for Perth for the Australian Labor Party from March 1993 until September 2013. In a distinguished career spanning 20 years in the Australian Federal Parliament, Professor Smith served as the Minister for Defence, and prior to that, as Minister for Foreign Affairs. 

In May 2018, Professor Smith was appointed to the Resources 2030 Taskforce and is currently the Chairman of archTIS and a Member of the Board of LNG Marine Fuel Institute.  

In opposition, Professor Smith held a range of Shadow Ministerial positions including Shadow Minister for Trade, Shadow Minister for Resources and Energy, Shadow Minister for Communications, Shadow Minister for Health, Shadow Minister for Immigration, Shadow Minister for Industry, Infrastructure and Industrial Relations and Shadow Minister for Education and Training.

Professor Smith is from Narrogin, in rural Western Australia and spent his early years in Narrogin and Southern Cross. He received his secondary school education at Christian Brothers High School Highgate in Perth.

Professor Smith completed his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws at the University of Western Australia and has practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in Perth. He then completed a Master of Laws in Public International Law at London University, and subsequently lectured and tutored in Law in London.

From 1983 to 1987 Professor Smith was Principal Private Secretary to the Attorney-General of Western Australia. From 1987 to 1990 he was the State Secretary of the Western Australian Branch of the Australian Labor Party.

During 1991 and 1992, Professor Smith was Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Australia and Senior Adviser to the Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer of Australia, Paul Keating.

Following upon his retirement from the Australian Parliament in 2013, until recently Professor Smith was a member of the EY (Ernst and Young) Oceania Government and Public Sector Advisory Board (2014-2017) and Chair of the Asia Desk of Perth Law firm Lavan (2014-2017). He was on the Board of Hockey Australia from November 2013 to November 2016. 

He maintains an active interest in cricket, hockey and Australian Rules Football. He is a member of the WACA and a  proud member and keen supporter of the Fremantle Dockers Football Club.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.