Meet James

Senator James Paterson is a Liberal Senator for Victoria. First elected in March 2016 at age 28, Senator Paterson is the youngest Liberal ever elected to the Senate.

During his time in the Senate, he has fought for Australia’s prosperity, freedom, democracy and sovereignty.

He is the Chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security, the deputy chair of the Senate Select Committee on COVID-19, and the former chair of the Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services and the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee.

Senator Paterson is also the Australian co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, the co-chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Museums, Libraries and Galleries; co-patron of Liberal Friends of Israel; and deputy chair of the Modest Members Society – a group of Coalition MPs committed to championing free markets and economic freedom.

Prior to entering the Senate, James was Deputy Executive Director of free market think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs. He previously worked for the Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI), and in the office of Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield.

James is a member of the Richmond Football Club and lives in Melbourne with his wife Lydia, their two children and their cavoodle.

Making An Impact

Senator Paterson has been fighting for freedom, democracy and sovereignty since he was first elected.

These are some of his most significant achievements.

March 2016

Maiden Speech

In March 2016 Senator Paterson was chosen to fill the casual vacancy left by Michael Ronaldson. Elected at age 28, he is the youngest Liberal ever elected to the Senate.

March 2016

First Australian politician to call for embassy in Israel to be moved to Jerusalem

Believing that every nation has the right to choose its own capital city, Senator Paterson was the first Australian politician to call for Australia’s embassy to be moved to Jerusalem. Australia has since recognised West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and has opened offices there.

April 2016

First and only Australian politician to back Brexit prior to the vote

Senator Paterson was the only Australian politician to back Brexit prior to the vote. He highlighted the economic opportunities available to Australia if Britain were to quit the undemocratic EU. Leave won and the government has moved to foster closer ties with the UK.

September 2016

Pushed for 18C reform to protect free speech

Senator Paterson believes there is no greater liberty than free speech as it enables us to defend all our other freedoms. To advance this cause he successfully campaigned for the government to commit to fixing 18C.

January 2017

Proposed a Bill and amendments to protect religious freedoms while legalising same sex marriage

During the same sex marriage debate Senator Paterson authored a bill and amendments to legalise same sex marriage while also protecting religious liberty and other important freedoms.

March 2017

Successfully blocked an extradition treaty with China

In 2017 the Turnbull government tried to ratify an extradition treaty with Beijing. Senator Paterson prevented the government from making this incredible mistake by joining with a few colleagues to resist the move. As a result of the Senator’s opposition, the Turnbull government did not proceed with the treaty.

January 2019

Banned from China

Senator Paterson was invited on a delegation to China to learn about the Chinese people, their culture and their history. Unfortunately, the Chinese government banned him from entering for being an outspoken critic of China’s authoritarian regime, being told to “genuinely repent and redress [his] mistakes”.

August 2019

Called for free movement and trade with CANZUK

Senator Paterson believes for Australia to safeguard its freedom and prosperity we must strengthen our economic relationships with countries who share our values. In August 2020 he authored a report published by the Adam Smith institute calling for free trade and movement between Australia and the United Kingdom.

February 2021

Election as chair of PJCIS

In February 2021 Senator Paterson was elected as Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security. In this role the Senator works hard to keep Australians safe and free.

November 2021

Addressed the European Parliament

Senator Paterson addressed the European Parliament on foreign interference. In his keynote speech, Senator Paterson called on democratic nations to work together to understand and address the threats posed by countries like China.