Shadow Cabinet

Meet the Shadow Cabinet

My Shadow Cabinet is a fresh, energetic team that will strive to deliver a relentlessly positive vision for South Australia. Some quick facts include: ⁣⁣⁣⁣

  • six members are women⁣⁣
  • six members are in their 30s
  • nine members have young kids
  • seven members call regional SA home
  • two members are first generation migrants

As well as being Leader of the Opposition, I have opted to take on these important shadow ministerial portfolios: Shadow Minister for Environment; and Shadow Minister for Small and Family Business. These are areas that I have a personal passion for and want to drive significant reform (or continued reform in the case of the environment portfolio).

Hon John Gardner MP

Deputy Leader of the Opposition
Shadow Minister for Education, Training and Skills
Shadow Minister for the Arts and Festivals
Responsible for Electoral Reform and Higher Education

John has been the Member for Morialta since being elected to the Parliament in March 2010. He has worked hard to be an effective advocate for his local area. John has also held a range of Parliamentary responsibilities, including the Minister for Education between 2019 and 2022.

John has experience working closely with all levels of government, gaining broad policy experience and a grasp of how to get results for his electorate. He also has strong experience in education policy, as well as drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation.

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Hon Nicola Centofanti MLC

Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council
Shadow Minister for Regional South Australia
Shadow Minister for Primary Industries
Shadow Minister for Water Resources and the River Murray

Nicola was elected to the Legislative Council in 2020.

Nicola is passionate about regional and rural South Australia. Having grown up in the country, she recognises that regional and rural communities face unique problems concerning the delivery of health, education and other services. She also understands that our agricultural sector and the ongoing management of our precious water resources will always be the lifeblood of many of our regional communities across South Australia.

"I believe in the decentralisation of power, with local decisions being made at the local level. I strongly support the role of small business as the engine room of job generation."

"I also believe in allowing the individual to go about doing what they do best and rewarding them for their efforts in lower taxes and less red tape."

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Hon Jing Lee MLC

Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council
Shadow Minister for Multicultural South Australia
Shadow Minister for Tourism and Hospitality

Jing is a proud first-generation Australian with a rich multicultural background. She migrated to Adelaide with her hardworking family from Malaysia in 1979. For more than 40 years, Jing has embraced the Australian values which encompass the democratic beliefs, freedoms, and respect that are central to our successful diverse society.

Jing made history as the first Malaysian-Australian to be elected to State Parliament in 2010. Over her twelve years in Parliament, Jing has been entrusted with a number of key portfolios, including multicultural affairs, small business, education, trade and investment. She proudly served as Assistant Minister to the Premier from 2018 to 2022.

She is a champion for multiculturalism in our State and is currently the longest serving member of Parliament in the portfolio of multicultural affairs. Jing was instrumental in expanding the footprint of the State’s largest Multicultural Festival to be held in the heart of the city, Tarntanyangga (Victoria Square). She also worked relentlessly in modernising the landmark multicultural legislation that will shape the future advancement of multiculturalism and interculturalism in South Australia.

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Hon Michelle Lensink MLC

Shadow Minister for Planning
Shadow Minister for Social and Community Housing
Shadow Minister for Housing Affordability and Urban Development
Shadow Minister for Women

Michelle was elected to the Legislative Council in the South Australian Parliament in 2003 and was appointed as the Minister for Human Services between 2018 and 2022.

As the Minister for Human Services, Michelle was responsible for communities and social inclusion, social housing, disabilities, women, youth and volunteers. The human services portfolio covers a range of inter-related areas which are best considered holistically. Currently, the most significant challenges include prevention of domestic violence, the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and the lack of housing affordability.

Michelle not only has a longstanding interest in human services but has also worked on the ground in terms of providing services to and advocating for those in need when she worked as a physiotherapist at the Repatriation General Hospital (Daw Park, SA) and was part of the aged care sector peak body.

Michelle is married to news cameraman Scott Perry. In 2015 she became the first female serving Member of the Legislative Council to have a baby. This has allowed her to have a personal understanding of the challenges associated with balancing a family with a demanding career.

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Ashton Hurn MP

Shadow Minister for Health

Ashton was elected to the South Australian Parliament in March 2022 and was appointed as South Australia's Shadow Health Minister.

As Shadow Minister for Health, it is Ashton's responsibility to drive the charge of holding the government to account on the commitments they made to the people of South Australia. Ashton will also help to develop policies to improve the health system across the state.

"It’s an opportunity I've grabbed with both hands."

"Locally, health is one of our main areas of focus, and that is repeated right across our state."

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Hon Vincent Tarzia MP

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Shadow Minister for Road Safety
Shadow Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing

Vincent became the Member for Hartley in the 2014 State Election, he is a proud member of the State Liberal team and has lived in and around the Hartley electorate most of his life.

Vincent has a genuine interest in his local community and is passionate about making our state more lively and prosperous. He wants real action to relieve cost of living pressures, to create more local jobs, to deliver better frontline services and to provide opportunities to get ahead.

In May 2018 he was elected as the 35th Speaker of the House of Assembly, serving until July 2020. He became the youngest Speaker in South Australia’s history. He also served as the Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services between 2020 and 2022.

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Stephen Patterson MP

Shadow Minister for Energy and Net Zero
Shadow Minister for Mining
Shadow Minister for Defence and Space Industries
Responsible for Science and Innovation

Stephen Patterson was elected to the South Australian Parliament as the Member for Morphett in 2018.

He served as the Minister for Trade and Investment between 2020 and 2022.

Stephen graduated from The University of Adelaide in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science (Physics) and Bachelor of Electrical & Electronic Engineering with 1st Class Honours.

Before politics, Stephen was an electrical engineer and co-founded a software engineering company. He worked with businesses in some of South Australia’s key growth sectors, including defence, space, and hi-tech. Stephen has also held a professional sporting career, having represented teams in both the SANFL and AFL, an experience which shaped his attitude to team work and collaboration.

Stephen is passionate about his local community and served as a Councillor for the City of Holdfast Bay from 2010 to 2014, and then as Mayor until 2017.

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Josh Teague MP

Shadow Attorney-General
Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
Shadow Minister for Child Protection
Shadow Minister for the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence
Responsible for Consumer and Business Affairs and Youth Justice

Elected as the Member for Heysen in March 2018, Josh is passionate about the region in which he lives and providing a voice for his local community. He has lived in the Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu region for most of this life and is a long-time proud resident of Bridgewater where he and his wife Maria have raised their three children.

Prior to his election, Josh worked as a Barrister. He has extensive advocacy experience over more than 20 years of professional practice, the bulk of which engaged in disputes and their commercial resolution.

Josh was Honorary Consul of Sweden for South Australia from 2009 to 2018. He lived in Sweden for three years, and after returning to SA has seen firsthand the great outcomes that can be achieved for our State when we build and capitalise on international relationships.

Josh served as the 36th Speaker of the House of Assembly between July 2020 and October 2021. He was then appointed the Minister for Planning and Local Government, and exercised the powers and functions of the Attorney General.

Matthew Cowdrey OAM MP

Shadow Treasurer
Responsible for Industrial Relations and the Public Sector

Matt is a Paralympian, multiple gold-medallist, business professional and long-standing member of his western-suburbs community

Matt was elected as the Member for Colton in 2018. He was elevated to the position of Shadow Treasurer in 2022.

Prior to politics, Matt worked as a business adviser for leading international firm KPMG. He also has a strong history in advocating for the needs of children and those with disabilities, as a Board Director of Variety the Children’s Charity and as an Ambassador for the Be Active Challenge.

His work with charities and local sporting, lifesaving and community groups, means that Matt understands the critical role these organisations play in our community.

Matt is passionate about his work in the community and enjoys working with local residents on the issues they care about and advocating on their behalf.

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Penny Pratt MP

Shadow Minister for Regional Health Services
Shadow Minister for Ageing
Shadow Minister for Preventative Health
Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention

Penny was elected to the South Australian Parliament in March 2022. Raised on the farm near Blyth, Penny is a product of this enterprising Mid-North community.   

With a passion for teaching and helping others, Penny has spent the last 20 years working across education, immigration, mental health and child protection sectors.  

Working with disadvantaged children and families has given Penny a sound understanding of the challenges faced by regional communities through drought, unemployment and financial hardship.  

A natural leader, Penny will continue to be a passionate voice for regional South Australians and has the experience and determination to deliver real results for the people of Frome.

Heidi Girolamo MP

Shadow Minister for Finance and Tax Reform
Shadow Minister for the Circular Economy
Shadow Minister for Communities, Disabilities and Youth

Heidi was elected to the South Australian Parliament to fill a casual vacancy in August 2021. With a professional background as a chartered accountant and small business owner, Heidi is also mother and an active member of our community. Heidi values the importance of small government, economic growth, looking after our regions and agriculture sectors as well as supporting small businesses to succeed.

Heidi’s professional experience working for Deloitte and with some of South Australia’s largest corporate organisations gives her a detailed understanding of the Adelaide market and the future direction of South Australia.

Heidi has also been on the Board of Kidsafe; a charity focused on accident and injury prevention for children, from June 2014 to August 2021. Heidi has a keen interest in focusing on early intervention services because of the importance of prevention across health, education and child protection.

Tim Whetstone MP

Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment

Tim was elected to the South Australian Parliament in 2010. He is a hard-working local member with a passion for regional South Australia and a strong focus on water policy and reform and agriculture.

Tim was born in the state’s South East at Keith before completing his schooling in Adelaide. He finished a tool maker apprenticeship at General Holden Motors and then went on to develop his own business building and restoring muscle cars and boats. Tim was a project manager on the Moomba gas fields before moving to the Riverland in 1989 to purchase citrus and develop vineyard properties. A keen competitive water skier, Tim was part of a team that won the famous Bridge-to-Bridge in Sydney, the world’s toughest speed skiing event.

He was a director of the Renmark Irrigation Trust and chairman of South Australia Murray Irrigators.

As the Member for Chaffey, Tim has played a leading role in his community’s response to water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin and he continues to advocate for a fair and balanced outcome for the Murray and the river communities which rely upon it. He is also very active in promoting Chaffey as one of the State’s premier food bowls, wine regions and tourist destinations. He is a strong supporter of agricultural research and a robust biosecurity regime in South Australia, particularly the importance of keeping the Riverland fruit fly free with an increased threat from the pest.

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Adrian Pederick MP

Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services
Shadow Minister for Regional Roads

Adrian was elected to the South Australian House of Assembly in 2006 as the Member for Hammond and has since maintained his seat being re-elected to a fifth term in the 2022 election.

Since becoming the Member for Hammond, Adrian has had responsibilities of Shadow portfolios of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Forests, River Murray, Sustainability & Climate Change, Mineral Resources Development as well as stints as Opposition and Government Whip. Being raised in a generational farming family, Adrian was well placed to understand and respond to issues that really concern primary producers in South Australia.

Prior to entering politics Adrian held several jobs in the agriculture industry, which has included owning and operating a dryland and grazing enterprise, plus a commercial Poll Herefords operation for 14 years. Adrian also worked as a local shearer in the South East for over a decade.

Adrian was raised on the family property at Coomandook in the State’s Murray Mallee region, where he still resides with his family.

Personal interests of Adrian’s include Australian Rules football in which he is a regular attendee and volunteer at the Peake Football Club. Adrian’s hobbies include lawn bowls and loves camping with his family. Adrian continues to be actively involved in his local community including as a CFS member amongst other interests.

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Sam Telfer MP

Shadow Minister for Community Safety, Police and Corrections
Shadow Minister for Local Government
Shadow Minister for State Migration Strategy
Shadow Minister for Regional Population Growth
Shadow Minister for Regional Planning

Sam was elected to the South Australian Parliament at the 2022 State Election. An experienced Eyre Peninsula community leader, Sam Telfer has the passion and drive to maximise the many opportunities across Flinders.

With over a decade in local government, serving as Mayor of Tumby Bay and President of the Eyre Peninsula LGA, Sam has connections with communities across Flinders, and an understanding and appreciation of the unique challenges of each diverse community.

Sam has a passion for delivering in key areas such as regional health, economic development, and road and infrastructure investment.

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Hon Dennis Hood MLC

Shadow Cabinet Secretary

Dennis holds a degree in economics and another in politics at honours level.

Before entering Parliament, Dennis held positions in senior management with the world’s largest health care company Johnson & Johnson, where he received a high-level award for his leadership in driving multinational change within the organisation.

Dennis was elected to the Legislative Council in 2006 and has since fought to foster strong families, encourage an economically responsible government, toughen penalties for serious crime, and remove impediments to business growth and enterprise.