George Newhouse


name =George Newhouse
caption =
birth_date = birth date and age|1961|8|14
birth_place = Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
residence =
death_date =
death_place =
office = Councillor of Waverley Council
term_start =
term_end =
predecessor =
successor =
party = Australian Labor Party
religion =
constituency = Hunter Ward
majority =
spouse =
children =
website =
footnotes =

Cr. George Newhouse (born 14 August 1961) is an Australian human rights lawyer, local councillor and political activist. He was Mayor of Waverley in the eastern suburbs of Sydney from 2006 to 2007, and the Australian Labor Party candidate for the seat of Wentworth at the 2007 Australian federal election.


Newhouse was born in Brisbane. A few years later he and his family moved to Sydney. He attended Sydney Grammar School until 1979 and then studied Law and Commerce at the University of New South Wales.

After leaving university, Newhouse joined JPMorgan in Sydney as a corporate finance executive and was later transferred to JPMorgan's New York office. From New York, he moved to London in 1988 where he worked for two years as a capital markets lawyer for Clifford Chance. In 1990 he returned to Sydney and continued working as a lawyer. He became an accredited mediator and has been a member of the Consumer Trader Tenancy Tribunal since 1999 and the Workers Compensation Commission since 2001.

In 2006, Newhouse was sued for professional negligence and breach of fiduciary duty in the Supreme Court of NSW. Stating that the case against him was speculative and likely to fail, Newhouse's bid to have the case dismissed due to statute barring was thrown out by Justice Windeyer and costs were awarded against Newhouse [,25197,21929113-2702,00.html] . The case is ongoing in the Supreme Court of NSW.

Human rights representation

Newhouse is a well-known in Australia for his human rights work representing Vivian Solon, who was illegally deported from Australia to the Philippines; Cornelia Rau, who was illegally detained in an Australian detention centre for 10 months; the Mutitjulu Aboriginal Community; the Sudanese Dafurian Community and the family of the late Richard Niyonsaba [Refugee Family To Be Given New Caseworker] .Fact|date=July 2007 More recently he had an assault charge dismissed against a 64 year old grandmother, Mrs Leentije (Eva) McDonald, who was searched by police in unusual circumstances.

Newhouse has participated in many rallies and spoken at different events defending the rights of refugees, ethnic minority groups and genocide survivors and denouncing all forms of racism and anti-semitism and human rights abuse.

Board Memberships

In 2004 Newhouse was appointed to the NSW Architects Registration Board to represent the views of local government.

In 2008 Newhouse together with Warren Mundine established the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce to promote indigenous entrepreneurship. Newhouse remains a director of the chamber to date.

Political activity

Newhouse was elected in 1995 as a Labor Councillor (representing Hunter Ward, which covers North Bondi, Rose Bay, Dover Heights and parts of Vaucluse) on Waverley Council. Since his election, he has been active in the various local government committees, participating in the Finance, Ethics and Community Services Committees and chairing the Development Control Committee. He was a founding member of the Waverley-Woollahra Bondi Junction Joint Planning Committee, and chaired the Waverley Council Bondi Junction Committee during a period of major upgrade including the $600 million Westfield redevelopment and the upgrade of Oxford Street.

Newhouse was elected to the executive of the Local Government Association in 2004 by councillors from around New South Wales.

Newhouse was elected Deputy Mayor of Waverley in 2004 and became Mayor in September 2006. As Mayor, he undertook "back-to-basics" reforms by upgrading Bondi Park, Campbell Parade and Hall Street, moving Waverley Council's Service Centre and Planning Counter to Bondi Junction, creating a "mobile Mayoral unit" to keep in touch with local residents, and emphasising the need to combat climate change at a local level, by committing Waverley Council to be carbon-neutral within five years and supporting other environmentally-friendly initiatives.

Newhouse did not recontest the 2008 Local Government Election and the ALP failed to hold a place in Hunter ward on his retirement.

2007 election

Newhouse was endorsed in May 2007 as Labor candidate for the federal electorate of Wentworth, held by the Liberal member, Malcolm Turnbull, who was Minister for Environment in the Howard Government. He then resigned as Mayor of Waverley. Although Wentworth had never been won by Labor, there was speculation that after a redistribution it might be winnable, and Newhouse's candidacy attracted much media attention. The fact that Newhouse is Jewish was thought to give him an advantage in an electorate with a large Jewish population.

During the campaign Newhouse accepted the Labor Party's decision to back the construction of the Bell Bay Pulp Mill in the Tamar Valley, Tasmania.cite web | url= | title=Pulp mill won't hurt election bid, Newhouse says | publisher=Australian Broadcasting Corporation | date=2007-10-11 | accessdate=2007-11-18] . This led to criticism from the Australian Greens and other environmentalists. Two candidates, former Sydney Deputy Mayor Dixie Coulton and Danielle Ecuyer (Newhouse's former girlfriend), nominated against him as anti-pulp mill candidates.

A few days before the election, Turnbull claimed that Newhouse's nomination as a candidate was invalid because Newhouse did not resign from his positions on the Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal and the Workers Compensation Commission before nominating. Newhouse and the Labor Party dismissed the allegations [3] by pointing to section 1 (e) of Schedule 2 of the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal Act which automatically vacated his office as a member of the Tribunal when he nominated for election as a member of a House of Parliament of the Commonwealth.

Controversy surrounded Newhouse even on polling day when he was slapped by a prominent female journalist Caroline Overington at their local polling booth. Overington and the Australian later printed an apology to Newhouse. []

Another controversy also arose shortly before the election when it was revealed that a Newhouse campaign worker, former National Union of Students President Rose Jackson, had allegedly espoused "anti-Zionist views" in an email during her tenure with the NUS. Jackson said she had "not understood the proper definition of Zionism" at the time she wrote the email and supported the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish homeland.

Newhouse increased Labor’s primary vote at the 2007 election but Turnbull won the election with a swing towards him. Newhouse claims this anomalous result was caused by the Liberal voters who returned to the Liberal Party after abandoning Turnbull in the 2004 election for former Liberal MP Peter King.

As a result of King’s decision not to run as an independent at the 2007 election, Turnbull was the only Liberal candidate in New South Wales to achieve an increase in the Liberal vote.

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ Geocities Webpage]
* [ Waverley Council's Councillors]
* [ MySpace Profile]


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