David served in the Australian Defence Force for over 22 years. An Army pilot, he flew helicopters and fixed wing aircraft and was the Senior Flying Instructor at the School of Army Aviation in Queensland.
Graduating as an experimental test pilot from the Empire Test Pilots’ School (UK), he finished his full time career in Defence as the Commanding Officer of the RAAF Aircraft Research and Development Unit.
Elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Wakefield (SA) in 2004, he served in the Parliament until 2007. David continued to fly as a test pilot and ran a small business working in the Defence and Aviation sectors prior to being elected to the Senate in 2010 and again in 2016. Upon instalment of the Morrison Ministry in August 2018, David became the Assistant Minister for Defence.
David’s experience in aviation has helped to facilitate change in Australia’s aviation policy and approach to aviation safety regulation. With tertiary qualifications in science and business administration, he is known for his evidence-based approach to policy development and oversight with a focus on outcomes that are in the national interest.
David is a strong advocate for initiatives that would lead to a more effective and efficient national defence force, including the development of a sustainable defence industry capability. His extensive and widely respected policy understanding has led to a number of appointments, including as the former Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade and member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.
As Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services in the 44th Parliament, he led an inquiry into the educational and professional standards of the financial advice industry. This body of work has been a catalyst for significant legislative and industry-led reforms in the finance sector.
Having lived in Asia, the UK and across Australia, David is proud to call South Australia home. He is a keen sailor and is married to Lorna and together they have two adult daughters.