|Senator for Queensland|
|Assumed office |
21 March 2018
|Preceded by||George Brandis|
Amanda Jane Fell
30 October 1982
Liverpool, New South Wales, Australia
|Political party||Liberal National Party|
Adam Stoker (m. 2005)
|Education||Hurlstone Agricultural High School|
|Alma mater||University of Sydney|
|Liberal Party faction||Conservative|
|Ideology||Socially & Fiscally Conservative|
Amanda Jane Stoker (born 30 October 1982) is an Australian politician who became a Senator for Queensland in 2018. She is a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland (LNP) and sits with the Liberal Party in federal parliament. She was appointed to the Senate after the retirement of George Brandis.
Early life and education
Stoker grew up on the outer-southern suburbs of Sydney in Campbelltown to working-class parents. In her first speech she explained "My dad is a plumber, drainer, gas fitter. He had his own small business. My mum worked in a shop as a retail assistant." She completed her HSC at Hurlstone Agricultural High School before studying arts and law at Sydney University, graduating with first-class honours.
Stoker began her career as a clerk and solicitor in Brisbane with Minter Ellison. She went on to serve as a Commonwealth prosecutor, as well as a judge's associate to Philip McMurdo in the Supreme Court of Queensland and to Ian Callinan in the High Court of Australia.
Prior to her appointment to the Senate, Stoker was a member of Level 27 Chambers and a sessional academic at Central Queensland University. She was Vice-President of the Women Lawyers Association of Queensland from 2016 to 2018. A member of the Samuel Griffith Society, she is known to have an interest in federalism, federal law and the Australian Constitution.
From 2014 to 2018, Stoker was a director at the non-profit, Brisbane-based conservative 'think tank', the Australian Institute for Progress (AIP). According to the Executive Director, the AIP is 'ideologically centre-right', with its criticisms favouring right-wing political parties. During her time there, the AIP was a critic of anti-mining advocacy groups holding charitable status and hosted a visit to Brisbane by climate science denier Patrick Moore. Also during Stoker's time, they opposed tobacco plain packaging and criticised the World Health Organisation's proposed international convention on tobacco.
Leading up to the 2009 Queensland state election, Stoker sought pre-selection for the electoral district of Cleveland, which she lost to Mark Robinson who went on to win the seat. She was an unsuccessful LNP Senate candidate at the 2013 federal election.
On 10 March 2018, the Queensland LNP chose Stoker to succeed high-profile cabinet member George Brandis as a Senator for Queensland. Endorsed by the LNP State Executive Council, she did not face a vote by rank-and-file members. Prior to Stoker's selection all federal LNP senators were men. The Australian reported that LNP members were threatening to push for gender quotas if the party did not preselect a woman, and the Daily Mercury reported that LNP sources had said Stoker was one of the standouts as she was based in Brisbane and would also increase the LNP's percentage of females. But the LNP president denied gender was a motive saying Stoker was chosen on merit. The Parliament of Queensland appointed Stoker to the casual vacancy left by Brandis on 21 March 2018 and she was sworn in as a Senator the following day. As an appointed Senator, she will face her first election in 2022.
In 2020, The Australian named Stoker a "free speech champion and rising star of conservative politics". She is part of the Liberal Party's conservative faction and is aligned with the LNP's christian right.
Stoker is a self-described "proud conservative" Christian who believes Christian values are "under attack". Her political heroes are former prime minister John Howard and former UK leader Margaret Thatcher. In 2019, Crikey reported that she is a socially and fiscally conservative who had positioned herself as a conservative champion of free speech and religious freedom. She claims conservatives are "misunderstood".
In Senate Estimates, Stoker has complained that the use of the term "right-wing extremism" by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is offensive to conservatives. This came after ASIO chief Mike Burgess used the term in the context of combatting terrorism.
An outspoken Christian, Stoker has publicly spoken out against abortion and transgender activism, has said sexuality is a "choice", and has stated that her political opponents prioritise the human rights of the LGBTIQ community over the "rights to freedom of conscience, religion and speech". As a Senator, Stoker launched a petition against an alleged transgender activist agenda.
In 2018, Stoker opposed a proposed bill to remove an exemption in the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 that allows religious schools to discriminate against students on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In articulating her opposition to the proposal, she expressed concern that children may want "to run a gay club within the school." On the other hand, Stoker is a proponent for the introduction of a 'religious discrimination bill'.
Stoker advocates for the repeal of section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act. In 2018 she said: "I think 18C has got to go. I think 18C is a drag on our society." The Opposition responded by saying this would "water down protections against racist hate speech."
Stoker has said she disapproves of women in politics "playing the gender card", and has implied that women with children were "baggage" from an employer's perspective. She has pushed for nannies to be tax-deductible.
Stoker blames unions for the casualisation of workplaces, and argues against raising minimum wages and penalty rates because doing so would "reduce job opportunities for those most in need". She has also described unfair dismissal laws as a "block to growth".
While most media reporting covers Stoker's socially conservative views on gender and religious freedom, her first speech put a premium on restoring trust "across the four sectors of the economy—government, media, corporate and non-government organisations.
In June 2020 during a televised interview on Sky News, Stoker criticised Queensland's decision to close its borders during the COVID-19 pandemic saying that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk "knows she is absolutely choking our economy by having these borders shut – she is the knee on the throat of businesses of Queensland, stopping them from breathing". Indigenous Labor Senator Malarndirri McCarthy labelled the comments as "abhorrent and insensitive" for apparently invoking a reference to the killing of George Floyd. Stoker's spokesman had initially said she would not be backing away from her comments, but a day later Stoker apologised to anyone genuinely hurt or offended saying it was not intentional nor premeditated.
The Courier-Mail reported that in 2019–2020 Stoker had been using a second and pseudonym social media account on her official Facebook site to defend and argue the Senator's political views on topics including race, family law and religious freedom. Stoker's 'Mandy Jane' profile had referred to Stoker in the third person and had changed the use of pronouns so as to appear as a different person. The Mandy Jane profile photo is that of a storybook character. Stoker's spokesman said the Mandy Jane account was her personal profile but denied she should have disclosed that information before posting on the Senator's official page.
Stoker married husband Adam in 2005 and they have three daughters. She is a Christian and member of the Anglican church. Stoker was born in the Sydney suburb of Liverpool to Mark and Cornelia Ingrid Fell. Her father was born in Australia and her mother in Sweden. She lives with her family in Auchenflower, a suburb of Brisbane.
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