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Karen Andrews

Karen Andrews.jpg
Minister for Home Affairs
Assumed office
30 March 2021
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byPeter Dutton
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology
In office
28 August 2018 – 30 March 2021
Prime MinisterScott Morrison
Preceded byArthur Sinodinos (2017)
Succeeded byChristian Porter
Assistant Minister for Vocational 
 Education and Skills
In office
19 July 2016 – 28 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byScott Ryan
Succeeded bySteve Irons (2019)
Assistant Minister for Science
In office
23 December 2014 – 19 July 2016
Prime Minister
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byCraig Laundy
Member of the Australian Parliament
for McPherson
Assumed office
21 August 2010
Preceded byMargaret May
Majority12.20% (22,569)
Personal details
Karen Lesley Weir

(1960-08-23) 23 August 1960 (age 60)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLiberal (LNP)
Spouse(s)Chris Andrews
Alma materQueensland University of Technology;
Victoria University
OccupationIndustrial relations advocate
ProfessionMechanical engineer

Karen Lesley Andrews (née Weir; born 23 August 1960) is an Australian politician serving as Minister for Home Affairs in the Morrison Government since 2021. Andrews previously served as Minister for Industry, Science and Technology from 2018 to 2021. She is a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland and has represented the Queensland seat of McPherson since the 2010 federal election. Andrews sits as a Liberal and previously served as an assistant minister in the Abbott and Turnbull Governments. Before entering politics she was a mechanical engineer and industrial relations consultant.

Early life

Andrews was born in Brisbane on 23 August 1960.[1] She is the daughter of William and Moya Weir; her father served in World War II and was later national secretary and treasurer of an organisation for disabled veterans.[2]

Andrews grew up in Townsville and attended Townsville Grammar School. She subsequently completed the degree of Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering at the Queensland Institute of Technology,[1] as one of the engineering faculty's first two female graduates.[3] After graduating Andrews worked as a drafter with the Queensland Electricity Generating Board and in plant maintenance at the Gladstone Power Station. She later moved to Victoria to work in the oil industry as a supervisor, during which time she completed a graduate diploma in industrial relations at Victoria University.[2][1] She then worked for an employers' association as an industrial advocate within the metal, engineering and construction industries, representing the interests of employers in negotiations with employees.[2]

In the mid-1990s, Andrews joined the Victorian Department of Health and Community Services as head of its industrial branch, working under the responsible minister Marie Tehan. She later established an industrial relations consultancy business,[3] focusing on alternative dispute resolution and mediation.[2] In 2002 she moved to the Gold Coast, Queensland.[3]

Political career

In October 2009, Andrews won a Liberal National Party of Queensland ballot for preselection in the federal seat of McPherson, following the retirement of the incumbent MP Margaret May.[4] She defeated three other candidates, including Peter Dutton, the incumbent MP for Dickson, who sought to transfer seats after an unfavourable redistribution.[5] She subsequently retained the seat for the LNP at the 2010 federal election.[1]

Andrews was a founding co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Science in 2012, along with Richard Marles.[6] She served as chair of the joint statutory committee on public works from 2013 to 2015 and was also appointed to the speaker's panel in 2014.[1]

In February 2014, Andrews was reportedly involved in a "heated" verbal altercation with state government minister Jann Stuckey in front of students at a primary school in Elanora, Queensland, after Stucky "objected to a staffer from Ms Andrews' office taking a photograph of her".[7] In July 2014, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported that her office had an unusually high employee turnover and that former staffers had accused her of creating a hostile work environment. Andrews responded that the high turnover was normal for a parliamentary office.[8]

Government minister

Andrews at the 2019 PM's Prize for Science with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and prize recipient Cheryl Praeger
Andrews at the 2019 PM's Prize for Science with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and prize recipient Cheryl Praeger

In December 2014, Andrews was promoted to parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Industry and Science in the Abbott Ministry.[9][10] Her title was changed to Assistant Minister for Science in September 2015, when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott as prime minister.[1] Following a reshuffle in July 2016, she was instead made Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills.[11]

During the 2018 Liberal leadership spills, Andrews reportedly supported Peter Dutton against Turnbull in the first ballot. She voted against holding a second ballot, but subsequently voted for Scott Morrison against Dutton.[3] Andrews was then promoted to Minister for Industry, Science and Technology in the newly formed Morrison Government. She was sworn in on 28 August 2018.[12][13]

As science minister, Andrews announced the creation of a Cooperative Research Centre on clean energy and additional funding for artificial intelligence research and the Australian Space Agency. According to The Australian, during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic she "became a key player in the government's response as it scrambled to reassure the public about both the contagion itself and the panic-buying that soon began threatening supplies of food, toilet paper and sanitising products".[3]

Andrews was appointed Minister for Home Affairs in March 2021, following a cabinet reshuffle related to the 2021 Australian Parliament House sexual misconduct allegations.[14]

Political positions

Andrews has identified as a feminist.[15]

In a 2018 interview with Sky News, Andrews declared that coal would play a major role in Australia's energy mix in the future.[16]

In January 2020, Andrews stated that it was time to move on from ideological battles over climate change, saying that it had robbed Australia of the time and energy needed to respond to the change. "Every second that we spend talking about whether or not the climate is changing is a second that we are not spending on looking at adaptation [and] mitigation strategies. ... It really is time for everyone to move on and look at what we're going to do."[17]

Personal life

Andrews has three daughters with her husband Chris.[2] As of 2018, according to the parliamentary register of financial interests, she owned nine investment properties.[18]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Hon Karen Andrews MP". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e "First speech". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d e Guilliatt, Richard (20 March 2020). "In the eye of the storm". The Australian. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  4. ^ "Dutton misses out on McPherson pre-selection". ABC News. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  5. ^ Glennie, Charlotte (5 October 2009). "Karen Andrews won't step aside for Dutton". PM. ABC Radio National. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  6. ^ "Parliamentary Friends of Science". Science & Technology Australia. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  7. ^ Potts, Andrew (15 February 2014). "Jan Stuckey and Karen Andrews had a 'heated exchange' in front of Elanora students". Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  8. ^ Skene, Kathleen (5 July 2014). "LNP Member for McPherson Federal MP Karen Andrews goes through 23 staff in four years". Gold Coast Bulletin. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  9. ^ Taylor, Lenore (21 December 2014). "Tony Abbott cabinet reshuffle moves Scott Morrison out of immigration". Guardian Australia. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  10. ^ "Tony Abbott's revamped Ministry sworn in at Government House". News Corp Australia. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  11. ^ Massola, James (13 February 2016). "Cabinet reshuffle: Malcolm Turnbull announces new frontbench as Mal Brough resigns". The Age. Retrieved 13 February 2016.
  12. ^ Bagshaw, Eryk (26 August 2018). "Prime Minister Scott Morrison reveals new cabinet". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 November 2018.
  13. ^ "Scott Morrison's ministry – who's in and who's out". ABC News. 27 August 2018. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  14. ^ Kenny, Mark (31 March 2021). "Will new Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews bring a more compassionate approach?". The Conversation. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  15. ^ Lewis, Rosie (7 March 2019). "I'm a feminist and that's a quota: Karen Andrews' concession". The Australian. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Nocookies". The Australian. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  17. ^ Cabinet minister warns climate deniers are robbing Australia of time responding to its impacts, ABC News Online, 2020-01-15
  18. ^ "How many properties does your local politician own? – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 21 September 2018.

External links

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Margaret May
Member for McPherson
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Dutton
Minister for Home Affairs
New title Minister for Industry, Science and Technology
Succeeded by
Christian Porter
This page was last edited on 21 June 2021, at 03:57
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