Connie Bonaros MLC
Connie was elected to the Legislative Council at the 2018 state election. Prior to her election, she worked with Nick and the team for over 12 years.
Connie Bonaros graduated with an Honours degree in Law and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Modern Greek and Social Politics from Adelaide University in 2002.
She was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council in 2018, although her political career – across both state and federal levels - started 14 years earlier, firstly as a senior adviser to Nick Xenophon and later as Chief of Staff to Senator Stirling Griff.
In her brief time as a politician, Connie has already been instrumental in significant legislative change including:
- introducing major reforms to the Coroners Act giving the Coroner greater powers to conduct full and thorough inquests and ensure the government is held more accountable in responding to recommendations;
- changes to the Equal Opportunity Act that removed archaic exemptions for MPs and the judiciary to ensure they are now included with the scope of the legislation;
- an inquiry by the Equal Opportunity Commissioner into harassment, including sexual harassment, in the legal profession in line with national calls for change. (The report can be found at: www.eoc.sa.gov.au/about-us/projects/review-of-harassment-in-the-legal-profession );
- the banning from sale of LPG bottles without an appropriate label warning that inhaling the gas may cause injury or death following the tragic death of a Port Lincoln teenager last year. For this to be achieved, Connie introduced a private members bill which was passed by both Houses;
- criminalising child-like sex dolls and related child exploitation material;
- Australian-first changes to drug driving laws in SA to bring drug driving offences in line with drink driving offences and news laws governing motorbike licensing age and training requirements for young people;
- another Australian first involving the introduction of legislation banning the use of spit-hoods in all detention settings and major reforms to our corrections laws in line with international obligations;
- the implementation of an IVF donor conception register;
- legislation to give South Australian public servants the choice of superannuation funds;
- the introduction of stealthing laws making SA only the second jurisdiction in Australia and one of only a handful around the world to criminalise “stealthing” – the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex;
- changes to the national redress scheme and limitation of actions for child abuse victims, and;
- mandatory drug rehabilitation programs for minors.
Further, Connie has recently introduced a Bill to establish a Commissioner for Gender Equality to oversee public sector agencies with the support of the majority of the Upper House.
She’s also leading the charge in the South Australian Parliament to eliminate period poverty and is a proud Ambassador of KickStart for Kids and their period program.
Connie is also a member of a number of Parliamentary Committees.
She is the Chair of the Health Committee, which has unearthed systemic failures across the state’s health system, and also sits on the Legislative review Committee – which scrutinises subordinate legislation – the Covid-19 Response Committee, Wage Theft Committee, and a number of others.
Most recently, the recommendations of Connie’s inquiry into Parliament’s committee structure had the unanimous support of all state MPs. She intends to introduce a draft bill in the next term of parliament to overhaul the committee process, in line with the committee's recommendations. The draft legislation will also include a push for a new estimates process that involves both the Upper House and the Lower House.
Connie considers her work with asbestos victims in successfully advocating for, and the subsequent passage of, legislation establishing the South Australian Dust Diseases Tribunal, as her most valued contribution.
She’s also a staunch advocate for child protection, criminal and social justice issues, and her long-standing policy platform on problem gambling.
Connie’s also passionate about grassroots campaigns which continue to drive her to fight for change over nearly two decades.
On a personal level, she loves nothing more than rubbing shoulders with people and spending time in the community, including her local, proud Greek community. But her single biggest achievement is and will always be her little boy.
Connie can be contacted at her Parliament House office on (08) 8237 9259 or via email at email@example.com