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Australian federal politician, Steve Irons (b. 1958), was in a children’s home and foster care as a child. 

Steve Irons was born and raised in Melbourne. He is the sixth of ten children born into the Dix family. He was made a Ward of the State of Victoria when he was six months old, and lived in a baby’s home in Camberwell until he was fostered out at the age of three. His foster mother, Mary, was a social worker, and his foster father, David, was a clergyman. He had a very loving and caring foster family.

At age eighteen, Steve Irons began reconnecting with members of his biological family; he had stopped visiting them when he was about eight years old. In 1981, Steve Irons moved to Western Australia to play football for the East Football Club. He tried to reconnect with his father prior to moving to WA, but his father was not interested in his life. Four of Steven’s biological siblings have died due to accidents, substance abuse, and other conditions.

Steve Irons began his business career in 1975 as an apprentice electrician for a company in Doncaster Victoria. In 1983, he was promoted to WA sales manager of a National company and became the owner of the WA arm of the company in 1996.

In 2007, Steve Irons was elected to the House of Representatives for the seat of Swan, Western Australia. He was re-elected in 2010, 2013, 2016 and 2019. Steve Irons has described himself as the “federal Parliament’s only sitting former ward of the state.”

After his first election win in 2007, he invited Fred Harper, a WWII veteran who was in care homes as a child, to his maiden speech in Parliament. He briefly described each of their childhoods and reflected on the importance of overcoming adversity to achieve life goals. 

I hope that our stories can inspire young children going through the same experience now that they can still achieve great things with their lives and that there are plenty of good people out there willing to back them.

As a member of the Liberal party, Steve Irons made a bi-partisan commitment to issues faced by Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants, including the National Redress Scheme.

Steve Irons announced his retirement from federal politics in September 2021. 


Irons, Steve. Steve Irons MP. 

Irons, Stephen. “Stephen Irons interviewed by Garry Sturgess in the Forgotten Australians and Former Child Migrants oral history project [sound recording].” National Library of Australia, 24 Nov 2011.

Juanola, Marta Pascual. “WA Liberal MP Steve Irons announces retirement from politics.” WA Today, 25 September, 2021.

Image available here.