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David graduated with a law degree from the University of Western Australia in 1979. He practiced for many years as a barrister and solicitor both in Kalgoorlie and Perth, in areas including criminal, mining, native title and administrative law.

His involvement with the Liberal Party began in his uni student days when he joined the UWA Liberal Club in 1974. He was actively involved in the Party throughout his legal career and in 1997 David was honoured to be elected to serve as State President of the Liberal Party of WA, a position he held for four years.

After working in the law for 20 years, David was elected as a Liberal Senator for Western Australia in 2001, entering the Senate on 1 July 2002. He became actively involved in a number of committees, on issues relating to defence and national security; native title and workplace relations.   As a member of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee he participated in several significant reviews including the Inquiry into Materiel Acquisition and Management in Defence (2003); and the Effectiveness of Australia’s Military Justice System (2005).

In March 2007 David was appointed by Prime Minister John Howard to serve as Minister for Justice and Customs.

Following the 2007 election David became a member of the Shadow Cabinet, both as Shadow Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism until September 2008 when he was appointed Shadow Minister for Defence, a position he held until the September 2013 federal election.

Upon the election of the Abbott Government, David was appointed to serve as the Minister for Defence and is a member of Cabinet.


Born in WA in 1956, David lives in Perth with his wife Toni, an interior designer, and has three adult children. His interests include cycling, sailing on the Swan River and is an avid West Coast Eagles supporter.