John has been a passionate advocate of suicide prevention throughout his public service, bringing awareness and openness to a topic that for many years was treated as taboo. John was first appointed Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention in 2012 and currently serves as the State Opposition Spokesperson for Suicide Prevention.
John works closely with many suicide prevention networks and organisations, such as the 801 Group, Silent Ripples, Beyond Blue, as well as the Office of the Chief Psychiatrist at SA Health, and many more.
He has shown commitment and support and consistently put pressure on the State Government to enhance its efforts – in both programs and funding – that led to the development of its 2016-2020 State Suicide Prevention Strategy. John has advocated for the development of a suicide register, Ministerial Suicide Prevention Council, training programs and the development of a dedicated Youth Suicide Prevention Strategy.
John remains dedicated and passionate about all things related to suicide prevention and is always seeking to reduce the stigma by encouraging discussion and support.
John has long been a passionate advocate for surrogacy. Having been contacted by many people wanting desperately to be parents but being forced by restrictive laws to go overseas, John fought for many years to create laws in South Australia that would protect both biological parents and surrogates.
In 2014, legislation drafted by John finally passed through the House of Assembly. The Family Relationships (Surrogacy) Amendment Bill 2014 improved access to surrogacy by creating a surrogacy register, established a framework for advertising for surrogates and increased the availability of counselling for surrogates and their partners.
John has been a White Ribbon Ambassador since 2008, fighting against violence against women and standing up as a public voice for the cause.
Additionally, born and raised in Gawler, it has been important to John to remain based in the area and continue to support local community issues.
John has been involved in many different community groups, including:
- Rotary Club of Gawler
- Gawler & Districts Softball Association
- Two Wells Football & Netball Sporting Club
- Adelaide Plains Football League
- Gawler Agricultural, Horticultural, and Floricultural Society
- Operation Flinders Foundation
- Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal
- Northern Agricultural Shows Association
- Gawler River Uniting Church
- Gawler Tourism & Trade Authority