back to top

11 Things You Should Know About The Guy Set To Become Australia's Youngest Ever Senator

BuzzFeed News spoke to Jordon Steele-John about climate change, Bernie Sanders and Rick and Morty.

Posted on

1. This is 22-year-old Jordon Steele-John, who will become Australia's youngest ever senator when he heads to Canberra next month.

Steele-John has agreed to take on the job left vacant by Scott Ludlam, who was forced to resign last week after finding out he was a dual New Zealand citizen.

2. You won't believe it, but Steele-John was a UK dual citizen himself. But unlike some of the others in his party, he had already previously renounced his British citizenship.

facebook.com

Steele-John was next in line for the vacant Senate seat because he was third on the Greens WA Senate ticket at last year's election, behind Ludlam and senator Rachel Siewert.

Advertisement

3. He has cerebral palsy, uses a wheelchair and is a passionate advocate for disability rights.

facebook.com

"There is often an idea that we have in society that having a disability is the result of a medical condition of one sort or another," Steele-John told BuzzFeed News.

"In reality, what disability actually is, is a result of society's inability to adapt to people's differing levels of a-bility."

4. Steele-John will have to defer university to become a federal senator. He also wants to be a voice in parliament for young people.

Facebook

"To be a young person and a person with a disability in contemporary Australia is to occupy the intersection of our society's most ingrained and most damaging pre-conceived ideas," he said.

"The core thing I am hoping to achieve in the weeks and months ahead is to bring those voices and those perspectives into the institution and bring that perspective to the legislation that we consider."

6. Asked to name his political idol, Steele-John said 22-year-old Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black, because "she's an example of the value of young people in politics".

8. Steele-John said the federal Greens Party has already started organising to ensure his time in Parliament House is spent in a wheelchair-friendly environment.

Odd Andersen / AFP / Getty Images

Some of the heavy doors of Parliament House might need to be altered so as to be automatic, and there'll probably be some modifications for Commonwealth car access.

"I am not sure if you've ever come across the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble (above) but they've had to buy him a couple of modified VW vans that allow him just to roll out of the side door," Steele-John said.

9. He's also a pretty nice guy.

Joe Castro / AAPIMAGE

When asked what he thought about the current prime minister, Steele-John was hesitant to pass a personal judgement on Malcolm Turnbull.

"I am not a member of the Liberals for good reason," he said. "I try and hold in my endeavors in politics to focus on the positives.

"I am interested in putting forward the Greens vision and talking about that."

10. That vision for now is all about coming up with policy to fight climate change and bring down the youth unemployment rate in WA.

media.giphy.com

"Climate change is already in the process of robbing our generation of our future," Steele-John said.

"More in a local context, we have one of the highest, most entrenched youth unemployment rates in the state and that really condemns young people in the present."

Mark Di Stefano is a Media and Politics Reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.

Promoted