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Stephen Shane Parry

Paul Newton (b.1961), Stephen Shane Parry (detail), 2017, Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection. View full image

President, 7 July 2014 to 9 May 2016; 30 August 2016 to 13 November 2017
Liberal Party of Australia

Born in Burnie, Tasmania, in 1960, Stephen Parry (b.1960) was a police officer and undertaker before his election to the Senate in 2004.

When he joined Tasmania Police in 1977 at age 16, Parry was among its youngest recruits. After 10 years on the force, first in uniform and then as a detective, Parry went to work for one of Burnie’s oldest businesses, Vincent Family Funerals, which had been run by his wife Allison’s family since 1929. The couple purchased the company in 1994, and Parry qualified as an embalmer, later lecturing in the subject and leading a team of embalmers in the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.1

An active member of various business groups, Parry was director of the Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (2000-04) prior to his election to Parliament. Entering the Senate in July 2005, Parry served as Government Deputy Whip and then Chief Whip and, following the 2007 election, as Chief Opposition Whip and Manager of Opposition Business. He was elected Deputy President of the Senate in 2011 and then President in 2016.

As President, Parry strove to maintain the ‘independence of the Senate and the independence of the parliament from the executive’ while acknowledging that ‘the executive has a role to perform and the parliament should assist that executive’.2 He undertook to be even-handed in the chamber and on leaving the Senate was described as a ‘model President’ and regarded by all parties as fair and decent.3

Parry was the first President to use Indigenous language in the Senate, responding in Yawuru to Senator Pat Dodson’s greeting at the beginning of his first speech.4 While in office, Parry also oversaw a relaxation of rules concerning media photography in the Senate.5

Although descended from First Fleet convicts, Parry was caught by the section 44 crisis that engulfed the 45th Parliament, resigning from the Senate after discovering that he held dual UK citizenship through his father and was therefore ineligible to sit in Parliament.6 Shortly after leaving the Senate, Parry joined an earthworks company, obtaining licences to drive trucks and operate heavy machinery so that he could take a ‘hands on’ approach to the business.7 Together with two business partners, he also established a distillery outside Hobart, producing the aptly named ‘Section 44’ gin.8

Paul Newton
Sydney-based portraitist Paul Newton (b.1961) studied science at the University of Sydney before forging a career as an artist. Since graduating from the Julian Ashton Art School in 1987, Newton has produced portraits of various prominent figures in Australia and around the world. He has been an Archibald Prize finalist 12 times with portraits of many notable figures. He was also a finalist in the American Society of Portrait Artists 2001 International Portrait Competition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and has twice won the Portrait Society of America International Portrait Competition. In 2010 Newton was commissioned to paint 32 pictures for the interior of the Domus Australia Chapel in Rome, Italy. Among the works is a portrait of Australia’s first canonised saint, St Mary of the Cross, MacKillop, 2010, and a new depiction of Our Lady of the Southern Cross #2, 2011. An earlier painting of Our Lady of the Southern Cross was commissioned for World Youth Day and it hangs in St Mary’s Cathedral, Sydney.9

Stephen Shane Parry
by Paul Newton
Oil on canvas
165 x 120 cm
Historic Memorials Collection, Parliament House Art Collection

1. Unless otherwise noted, information is sourced from S Parry, ‘First speech’, Senate, Debates, 18 August 2005, pp. 124–29; Parliamentary Library, ‘Parry, the Hon. Stephen Shane’, Parliamentary Handbook Online, accessed 24 August 2021; H Johnson, ‘A look back at Stephen Parry’s 12-year career’, The Examiner (Launceston), 3 November 2017.
S Parry, ‘Parliamentary Office Holders’, Senate, Debates, 30 August 2016, p. 3.
3. N Scullion, ‘Valedictories’, Senate, Debates, 7 December 2017, p. 10171; G Brandis, ‘Stephen Parry’, Media Release, 1 November 2017, accessed 9 August 2021; P Wong, ‘Parliamentary Office Holders’, Senate, Debates, 13 November 2017, pp. 8128–19.
4. P Dodson, ‘First Speech’, Senate, Debates, 1 September 2016, p. 448.
5. M Knott, ‘Senate scraps archaic photography ban following 25-year fight for transparency’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 13 October 2016.
6. Brandis, op. cit.
7. S Bailey, ‘Stephen Parry doesn’t miss politics and is living his dream’, The Advocate (Tasmania), 6 September 2020, accessed 9 August 2021.
8. Ibid.; H Shield, ‘What happens when a former politician and a teetotalling Sikh combine forces to make whisky and gin?’, Your Afternoon, ABC Radio Hobart, 19 January 2021, accessed 7 June 2021.
9. ‘Paul Newton’, National Portrait Gallery, 2018; ‘Paul Newton: Portrait Artist: about the artist’. Websites accessed 16 April 2021.

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