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Mitch Fifield
Mitch Fifield DFAT.jpg
Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
Assumed office
17 October 2019
Nominated byScott Morrison
Appointed byDavid Hurley
Preceded byGillian Bird
Minister for Communications
In office
21 September 2015 – 29 May 2019
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byMalcolm Turnbull
Succeeded byPaul Fletcher
Minister for the Arts
In office
21 September 2015 – 29 May 2019
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byGeorge Brandis
Succeeded byPaul Fletcher
Deputy Government Senate Leader
In office
20 December 2017 – 23 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
LeaderMathias Cormann
Preceded byMathias Cormann
Succeeded bySimon Birmingham
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
In office
18 September 2013 – 20 December 2017
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byJacinta Collins
Succeeded bySimon Birmingham
Senator for Victoria
In office
31 March 2004 – 16 August 2019
Preceded byRichard Alston
Succeeded bySarah Henderson
Personal details
Mitchell Peter Fifield

(1967-01-16) 16 January 1967 (age 54)
Sydney, Australia
Political partyLiberal
ProfessionPolicy advisor

Mitchell Peter Fifield (born 16 January 1967) is the Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations. He is a former Australian politician who served as a Senator for Victoria from 2004 to 2019, representing the Liberal Party. He was a government minister in the Abbott, Turnbull, and Morrison Governments, serving as Assistant Minister for Social Services (2013–2015), Manager of Government Business in the Senate (2013–2015),[1][2] Minister for Communications (2015–2019), and Minister for the Arts (2015–2019).

Early life and education

Fifield was born in Sydney, the son of two bank employees,[3] and was educated at Barker College and the University of Sydney, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.[4] Between 1985 and 1987, Fifield served for three years in the Australian Army Reserve Psychology Corps.[4]

Between 1988 and 1992, Fifield was a Senior Research Officer for the NSW Minister for Transport and Sydney's Olympic Bid, Bruce Baird; a Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Industrial Relations' Policy Adviser, National's MP John Anderson during 1992; a Senior Policy Adviser to the Victorian Minister for Transport, Alan Brown from 1992 to 1996; and Senior Political Adviser to the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, from 1996 to 2003.[4]

Since 1996, Fifield held a number of Liberal Party positions, including being a delegate to the Liberal Party Victorian State Council, since 1996; a delegate to the Liberal Party Policy Assembly, in 1996 and since 2004; a delegate to the Liberal Party Goldstein Electorate Council, between 1995 and 2003.

Parliamentary career

Fifield during his parliamentary career
Fifield during his parliamentary career

On 31 March 2004, Fifield was appointed by the Parliament of Victoria under section 15 of the Australian Constitution to fill the casual vacancy in the Australian Senate caused by the resignation in February 2004 of Richard Alston. Fifield was re-elected at the 2007 federal election.[4] After the 2010 election, Fifield was appointed the Shadow Minister for Disabilities, Carers and the Voluntary Sector and Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate.[5]

Throughout his political career, Fifield has been an advocate of voluntary student unionism, as well as allowing women to serve on the front lines of the Australian Defence Force.[6] Along with Andrew Robb, he is the co-publisher of The Party Room, a journal designed to promote new policy discussion within the Federal Coalition.[6][7] Fifield has opposed federal money being spent on cycling infrastructure, and objected to part of the Rudd Government's $42 billion stimulus package being used for new cycleways and home insulation: "I don't think Bradford batts and bike paths is serious economic infrastructure. Call me crazy, but I don't think it is."[8]

Following the 2013 federal election Fifield was appointed to the Abbott Ministry as the Assistant Minister for Social Services and the Manager of Government Business in the Senate.[2]

Fifield replaced the 29th Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, as Minister for Communications, in September 2015. He is currently deeply embroiled in a major Australian political controversy concerning his knowledge of police raids on his Opposition counterpart, Senator Stephen Conroy in the course of an election campaign, over leaks about alleged failures of the current Australian Prime Minister with respect to shortcomings of Australian internet infrastructure when Malcolm Turnbull was Minister for the same portfolio.[9]

Fifield offered his resignation from the frontbench on 22 August 2018, during the events of the Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill.[10] On 28 August he was reappointed to the same portfolio by Turnbull's successor, Scott Morrison.

Permanent Representative to the United Nations

In May 2019, following the Coalition's victory at the 2019 federal election, it was announced that Fifield would be appointed to succeed Gillian Bird as Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations. He stepped down from cabinet as a result, and resigned from the Senate on 16 August 2019.[11][12] On 8 September, the Liberal Party preselected Sarah Henderson, the former MP for Corangamite to be appointed to fill the casual vacancy.[13]

Fifield was appointed on 17 October 2019, replacing Gillian Bird as the new Permanent Representative of Australia to the UN, and presented his credentials to the UN Secretary‑General António Guterres on 22 October 2019.[14][15]


Fifield was accused of "mansplaining" by the Australian senator Katy Gallagher during a debate in a Senate committee hearing regarding social services legislation, which subsequently went viral.[16] Fifield responded, claiming it was hypocritical and sexist to reduce an opponent's statement based on gender. The resulting argument lasted several minutes with both parties accusing the other of inappropriate language unfit for public office. Ultimately, Fifield posited the use of a phrase "womansplaining" in the same context, to which Gallagher replied that mansplaining was "a term that's used".[17]


  1. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Abbott Ministry" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 18 September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 September 2013. Retrieved 22 September 2013.
  3. ^ "First Speech – Mitch Fifield, Senator for Victoria". Australian Senate Hansard. Parliament of Australia. 12 May 2004. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d "Biography for Mitchell (Mitch) Peter Fifield". Members and Senators. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 17 September 2010. Retrieved 20 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ a b Coorey, Phillip (2 October 2006). "MP fights to let women in close combat". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  7. ^ Robb, Andrew; Fifield, Mitch (June 2010). "Issue 8, Winter 2010" (PDF). The Party Room. Andrew Robb and Mitch Fifield. Archived from the original (PDF) on 28 August 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Friday Forum with Mitch Fifield and Mark Arbib". Lateline: ABC TV. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 13 February 2009. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Sweeney, Lucy; Belot, Henry (23 August 2018). "Malcolm Turnbull faces fresh leadership challenge from Peter Dutton". ABC News (Australia).
  11. ^ "Sinodinos, Fifield off to US as ScoMo reshuffles ministry". The Australian Financial Review. 26 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  12. ^ "Hansard – Senate". Parliament of Australia. 9 September 2019. The PRESIDENT (10:01): I inform the Senate that Senator Fifield resigned his place as a senator for the state of Victoria on 16 August 2019. Pursuant to the provisions of section 21 of the Constitution, the Governor-General notified the Governor of Victoria of the vacancy in the representation of that state caused by this resignation. I table copies of the letter of resignation and the letter to the Governor of Victoria.
  13. ^ Willingham, state political reporter Richard (8 September 2019). "Sarah Henderson defeats Greg Mirabella to win Senate seat". ABC News. Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  14. ^ "Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations". Minister for Foreign Affairs. 17 October 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  15. ^ "New Permanent Representative of Australia Presents Credentials (2019)". United Nations. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 22 January 2020.
  16. ^ Ireland, Judith (11 February 2016). "'What?': Katy Gallagher explains mansplaining to Mitch Fifield during fiery estimates showdown". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 July 2020.
  17. ^ "Fifield accuses Gallagher of hypocrisy over 'mansplaining' criticism". 11 February 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2020.

External links

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Richard Alston
Senator for Victoria
Succeeded by
Sarah Henderson
Political offices
New ministry Assistant Minister for Social Services
Ministry abolished
Preceded by
George Brandis
Minister for the Arts
Succeeded by
Paul Fletcher
Preceded by
Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Communications
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Gillian Bird
Permanent Representative of Australia to the United Nations
This page was last edited on 11 May 2021, at 10:03
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