John was born and grew up in Gawler, he attended Prince Alfred College, Gawler High School, Glenormiston Agricultural College (Diploma in Farm Management), Adelaide TAFE (Freelance Journalism).
Prior to John’s election to Parliament, he was a Primary Producer then an Electorate Officer to Senator the Hon Nick Minchin, Hon Alexander Downer MP and Hon Neil Andrew MP.
John was elected to the Legislative Council in the South Australian Parliament in 1997 and was the Opposition Whip in the Upper House from 2002 to 2018. Currently John serves as the Premier's Advocate for Suicide Prevention.
John’s community activities have involved:
- Rotary Club of Gawler
- Rotary District 9500
- Gawler & Districts Softball Association
- Two Wells Football & Netball Sporting Club
- Adelaide Plains Football League
- Gawler Agricultural, Horticultural and Floricultural Society
- Operation Flinders Foundation
- Operation Flinders Gawler Chapter
- Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal
- Northern Agricultural Shows Association
- Gawler River Uniting Church
- Gawler Tourism & Trade Authority
John is currently serving on the following committees:
- Aboriginal Lands Parliamentary Standing Committee
- Environment, Resources and Development Committee
- Occupational Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Committee
- Statutory Officers Committee
John chaired the Select Committee on Proposed Sale and Redevelopment of Glenside Hospital Site, and the Select Committee on Conduct of PIRSA in Fishing of Mud Cockles in Marine Scalefish and Lakes and Coorong Pipi Fisheries. John has also participated in the Select Committee on Taxi Industry in South Australia, Select Committee on the Inquiry into the Corporation of the City of Burnside, and Select Committee on Lonsdale-Based Adelaide Desalination Plant.
In August 2018 John was appointed to the Select Committee on Moratorium on the Cultivation of Genetically Modified Crops in South Australia.
John is a Justice of the Peace. He was also awarded a Paul Harris Fellowship from Rotary International in 2006.