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Carmel Mary Tebbutt (born 22 January 1964) is an Australian former politician. She was the Labor Party Member for the former seat of Marrickville in the New South Wales Legislative Assembly until the 2015 election and was Deputy Premier of New South Wales from 2008 to 2011. She was also Minister for Health in the Keneally Government. She is the first woman to hold the position of Deputy Premier of New South Wales.[1]

Carmel Tebbutt
15th Deputy Premier of New South Wales
In office
5 September 2008 – 28 March 2011
PremierNathan Rees
Kristina Keneally
Preceded byJohn Watkins
Succeeded byAndrew Stoner
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council
In office
30 April 1998 – 26 August 2005
Preceded byAnn Symonds
Succeeded byPenny Sharpe
Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly
for Marrickville
In office
17 September 2005 – 6 March 2015
Preceded byAndrew Refshauge
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Minister for Health
In office
4 December 2009 – 28 March 2011
PremierKristina Keneally
Preceded byJohn Hatzistergos
Succeeded byJillian Skinner
Deputy Mayor of Marrickville
In office
September 1995 – May 1998
MayorBarry Cotter
Councillor of Marrickville Council
In office
October 1993 – April 1998
Personal details
Born (1964-01-22) 22 January 1964 (age 58)
Forbes, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLabor Party
(m. 2000; sep. 2019)

Early life

Tebbutt is one of seven children. She was born and raised in the country New South Wales town of Forbes. Her family then moved to the Sutherland Shire in Sydney where she attended Our Lady of Fatima Catholic primary school, Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer then completed her HSC at De La Salle College, Cronulla. She went on to earn an Economics degree from the University of Sydney, graduating in 1986. She joined the Labor Party in 1985, as a member of its left-wing faction.[2]

Parliamentary career

Tebbutt was elected to a seat on Marrickville Council in 1993 before becoming Deputy Mayor in 1995. She was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council filling a vacancy following the retirement of Ann Symonds in 1998.[3]

After the Carr Government was re-elected in 1999, she served as Minister for Juvenile Justice. In July 2002, Tebbutt was promoted, given responsibility for the Ministries of Community Services, Ageing, Disability Services, and Youth, whilst retaining the Juvenile Justice portfolio. In a cabinet reshuffle in early 2005, she was promoted to Minister for Education and Training.[3]

Following Premier Bob Carr's unexpected resignation 27 July 2005, and the resultant resignations of Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge and Senior Minister Craig Knowles, the 'Triple-M' by-elections for the seats of Maroubra, Marrickville and Macquarie Fields were held on 17 September 2005. The new incoming Premier, Morris Iemma, was said to have favoured her for the position of deputy leader—and hence Deputy Premier—as having a woman in the role would have looked favourably with the electorate. However, in accordance with longstanding Labor tradition, the deputy leader is chosen by the Socialist Left faction.[4]

Tebbutt resigned from the Legislative Council on 26 August to seek election for the seat of Marrickville. Hence for the three-week period from 26 August to 17 September 2005, Tebbutt was in the unusual, though not unprecedented, position of being a Minister of the State, without being a member of parliament.[5]

Tebbutt successfully defended the seat of Marrickville for the Labor Party in her by-election. With no Liberal candidate contesting the election in this comfortably safe Labor seat, the ALP primary vote increased, though she suffered a 5.6% two-candidate preferred swing to the Greens.[6][7]

On 27 November 2006, Tebbutt made a gaffe during a live interview on radio Nova 96.9. Tebbutt was complaining about the lack of history knowledge of today's schoolchildren. When the announcer asked her what is the significance of Australia Day, Tebbutt replied, "Well, we celebrate Australia Day because that's the day that we became a nation. When the states joined together, the federation of Australia, and it's an important day to understand that history." When the announcer pointed out her error, she quickly backtracked: "Sorry, you've got me too early in the morning. Australia Day of course is European arrival in Australia."[8]

Tebbutt successfully held the seat of Marrickville at the 2007 election, but announced after it that she would not be a candidate for the new ministry and would return to the back bench so she could spend more time with her family.[9]

A meeting of the Left faction on 4 September 2008 saw her return to the front bench as she was elected as the Deputy Leader of the NSW Labor Party. Following the resignation of Morris Iemma and the selection of Nathan Rees as the new Premier the following day, she was sworn in as Deputy Premier of New South Wales.[10] She was sworn in as Minister for Climate Change and the Environment and Minister for Commerce on 7 September 2008.[11]

A little over a year later, Rees was deposed as Labor leader and Premier, in favour of Kristina Keneally. Tebbutt remained as Deputy Leader and Deputy Premier under Keneally, and became Minister for Health.[12]

With Labor sinking in the polls going into the 2011 election, there was some speculation that Tebbutt would be toppled by a Green candidate. Indeed, the ABC's Antony Green predicted that Tebbutt would be defeated by Green candidate and Marrickville Council mayor Fiona Byrne. In a very tight contest that came down to less than 680 votes, Tebbutt won the seat with 50.9% of the vote on a two-party-preferred basis, suffering a swing of 8.5%.[13] The campaign was marked by anti-Zionist protests as four months earlier, Byrne and Marrickvile Council had controversially voted to boycott Israel. There were no allegations that Tebbutt was involved in any of the anti- or pro-Zionist threats that occurred during the campaign.[14]

In November 2013, Tebbutt announced she was retiring from politics and would not contest the 2015 election.[15]

After retiring from politics, in 2015 she was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Medical Deans Australia and New Zealand.[16] In February 2018 Tebbutt started as CEO of the Mental Health Coordinating Council, the peak body representing the community mental health sector in NSW.

Personal life

In 2000, Tebbutt married Anthony Albanese,[2] later the leader of the Australian Labor Party and 31st prime minister of Australia. Her former state seat of Marrickville was contained almost entirely within Albanese's federal seat of Grayndler, leading the Greens to dub them the 'King and Queen of Marrickville'.[17] She and Albanese have a son, Nathan. They separated in 2019.[18]


  1. ^ "First female NSW deputy premier". The Age. Australia. 5 September 2008. Archived from the original on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  2. ^ a b Clennell, Andrew (24 May 2008). "The one that got away". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b "The Hon. Carmel Mary Tebbutt (1964- )". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
  4. ^ Smith, Alexandra (4 September 2008). "Rise and fall of Labor's waverer". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  5. ^ Wainwright, Robert; Pearlman, Jonathan (15 September 2005). "Act lets Tebbutt stay on payroll". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  6. ^ "Marrickville By-election: 17 September 2005 – Resignation of Andrew Refshauge". ABC News. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Alex (18 September 2005). "Iemma gets a bloody nose". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  8. ^ "No Minister, Tebbutt blunders on history test". The Sydney Morning Herald. 27 November 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  9. ^ West, Andrew (5 September 2008). "Hard choice but politics wins day". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  10. ^ "Rees, Tebbutt sworn in". 5 September 2008. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Nathan Rees names NSW cabinet". SBS World News. 8 September 2008. Archived from the original on 18 September 2008. Retrieved 2 October 2008.
  12. ^ Jones, Gemma (11 September 2009). "Carmel Tebbutt named NSW health minister". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 August 2013.
  13. ^ Green, Antony (5 April 2011). "Marrickville". NSW Votes 2011. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  14. ^ Brown, Rachel (27 March 2011). "Swing to Greens is tinged red". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
  15. ^ Patty, Anna (3 November 2013). "Tebbutt to leave politics". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Carmel Tebbutt heads up Medical Deans « Medical Deans Australia & New Zealand". Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  17. ^ Mitchell, Alex (21 August 2005). "Carr can't vote on successor to seat he held for 22 years". The Sun-Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2008.
  18. ^ Wright, Shane (7 January 2019). "Anthony Albanese announces split from wife Carmel Tebbutt". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2019.


New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member for Marrickville
Political offices
New title Minister for Juvenile Justice
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister Assisting the Premier on Youth Affairs
Succeeded by
as Minister for Youth
Preceded by Minister for Ageing
Succeeded by
Minister for Disability Services
Preceded by Minister for Community Services
Succeeded by
Preceded by
as Minister Assisting the Premier on Youth Affairs
Minister for Youth
Preceded by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
Succeeded by
Minister for Education and Training
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Premier of New South Wales
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Commerce
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Climate Change and the Environment
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales
Succeeded by