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Martin Hamilton-Smith Retires from Politics

Monday, 08 January 2018

Waite MP and Minister for Investment and Trade Martin Hamilton-Smith will not be re-contesting the seat at the March 2018 election, closing his 21 years as the local MP.

He will stand down from the ministry at the next cabinet meeting on January 18.

After representing the electorate in two governments (Kerin and Weatherill) firstly as a member of the Liberal Party and more recently as an Independent Conservative, Mr Hamilton-Smith said it was time to step back from political life and focus on family.

Quotes from Honourable Martin Hamilton-Smith

“I’ve delivered for SA and my local community almost everything I set out to do. $100 million of new projects and support in my local area over the last four years have built on its heritage as one of Adelaide’s oldest urban areas and most vibrant communities."

“After long consideration over the Christmas/New Year break I have decided that 21 years of public service, in what was my third career, has been fulfilling and that now is the time to move on."

“I have been honoured to represent such an historic area and see it grow over that time.”

Mr Hamilton-Smith paid tribute to his electorate staff and their deep connection with the community."

“In the 21 years the office has been run by Jane Johnston (17 years) and Kay Nicholas (4 years) and many very talented young people that have started their careers here."

“I thank them for their hard work and their contribution to the electorate.”


Similar to one of his predecessors in the seat (Robin Millhouse 1955-1982), Hamilton-Smith put his service to the people ahead of party politics.

“Millhouse was an enigmatic representative when the seat was known as Mitcham and when he saw failures in the party, he took the bold decision to continue as the member, but under another banner (Liberal Movement and then Australian Democrats)."

“I am proud to say that I’ve been able to deliver excellent outcomes for the seat as an Independent."

“The $20-30m Springbank Road upgrade, the $3.5m Blackwood Roundabout upgrade, $62m of additional funds for my local schools and hundreds of thousands of dollars more for community groups; it’s been a successful outcome for those I represent.”

Career highlights

Reflecting on his time as Opposition Leader and four years as Minister for Investment and Trade, Defence and Space Industries, Veterans’ Affairs and Small Business, Mr Hamilton-Smith nominated six highlights;

• Successfully arguing the case for AFL to move back into the city, an idea eventually embraced by the government and delivered in the Adelaide Oval redevelopment

• Winning the battle to secure the naval shipbuilding industry in South Australia by resisting the Abbott Government’s plans to buy submarines from Japan.

• Re-inventing SA’s international engagement strategies to deliver an increase in exports from $12.3bn in 2014 to $15.4bn in 2017, adding 7000 jobs to the export sector.

• Forming an Investment Attraction agency, which has already delivered 24 projects, worth $6.7bn, creating 7000 jobs.

• Building the $10m Anzac Memorial Walk along Kintore Tce, on time and on budget.

• Becoming the first state Space Industries Minister, and launching Australia’s first dedicated space industry centre.

“Providing a better and more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren is one of the fundamental responsibilities of any member of parliament. I can step back from politics confident that I did my job.”

Mr Hamilton-Smith will be available near the base of Glenelg Jetty at 11.30am Sunday, prior to the Blessing of the Waters at 12.


Elected on 11 October 1997
Minister for Investment and Trade
Minister for Small Business
Minister for Defence and Space Industries
Minister for Health Industries
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Member of the Executive Council

Career Information

• 11 Oct '97 Elected to represent Waite, defeating an Australian Democrats candidate on the 2PP by 5.9%. He retained the seat in 2002 (12% margin), in 2006 (4%), 2010 (12.9%) and 2014 (11.4%)

• 05 Oct '01 appointed Cabinet Secretary by Premier John Olsen

• 04 Dec '01-05 Mar '02 Minister for Innovation Minister for Tourism. (Kerin Government)

• 12 Apr '07-08 Jul '09 Leader of the Opposition

• 18 Apr '07-26 Jan '08 Shadow Minister for Economic Development, Shadow Minister for Sustainability & Climate Change, Shadow Minister for Social Inclusion, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure.

• 18 Apr '07-19 Jul '09 Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

• 20 Jul '09-06 Apr '10 Shadow Minister for Economic Development, Shadow Minister for Substance Abuse, Shadow Minister for Industry and Trade, Shadow Minister for Science & Information Economy.

• 30 Mar '10-06 Apr '10 Deputy Leader of the Opposition

• 07 Apr '10-08 Dec '11 Shadow Minister for Defence Industries

• 08 Dec '11-06 Nov '12 Shadow Minister for Health and Ageing, Shadow Minister for Mental Health, Shadow Minister for Substance Abuse

• 08 Feb '13-02 Apr '14 Shadow Minister for Economic and Regional Development

• 02 Apr '14-27 May '14 Shadow Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, Shadow Minister for Small Business, Shadow Minister for Defence Industries, Shadow Minister for Mineral Resources and Energy, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Science and Information Economy, Shadow Minister for Automotive Transformation, Shadow Minister for Business Services and Consumers, Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs

• 27 May '14 – Jan 18 ‘17 Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister for Investment and Trade, Minister for Defence Industries, Minister for Small Business

• 19 Sep '17 Minister for Health Industries

• 19 Sep '17 Minister for Defence and Space Industries


• Master of Arts (SE Asian Studies), University of New South Wales; Bachelor of Arts (Government and History), University of New South Wales and the Royal Military College, Duntroon; Graduate Royal Military College, Duntroon - Leadership and Management Studies; Master of Business Administration, University of Adelaide.

Prior Occupations:

• Business Proprietor - Child Care / Lieutenant Colonel in the Defence Force

• Commanding Officer 1st Commando Regiment 1991 and 1992; Served in Special Air Services Regiment 1978-82; Commander Australian Contingent Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) Sinai, Egypt, 1993;