Just how incestuous is politics. Crikey found 125 examples of political nepotism in early 2002 but we’re confident of getting to 200 with the help of our vigilant subscribers. All entries to [email protected].









Jobs for the political relatives

Dick Adams: the Federal Labor MP from Tasmanian hired his wife, Dee Alty.

Peter Andren: the independent federal member for Calare and all-round good guy when it comes to ethics employed his sister until 2001 but has been very open about it from the beginning.

Neil Andrew: the retiring Federal Speaker’s daugher Kate has worked for Senator Alan Ferguson.

Fran Bailey: The Victorian Federal Liberal’s daughter Abby worked in her electorate office and then went on to Jeff Kennett’s office. Fran and Jeff’s former chief of staff Anna Cronin are great friends.

John Bailey: the former ALP MLA and now Darwin City Council alderman employed his wife in the electorate office.

Tim Baldwin: the former CLP Minister and member for Victoria River in the Northern Territory employed his wife in the electorate office.

Colin Barnett: the WA Liberal leader employed as a Research Officer Sarah Browne, daughter of Peter Browne (former head of Education Dept when Colin was Minister) and niece of former Liberal Senator Noel Crichton-Browne.

Tom Barton: the Queensland Minister for State Development employs his daughter in law Natasha Barton under her maiden name Natasha Lackey as an electorate officer. She’s married to Darren Barton.

Bruce Billson: the federal Member for Dunkley’s now ex-wife Tina worked for Peter Reith in his Electorate Officer.

Flo Bjelke Petersen worked for Sir Joh in the early days of his tenure as Premier of QLD.

Nick Bolkus: the litigious senator and factional boss saw his wife given a paid planning gig by factional colleague and SA state Minister Jay Weatherill.

Bob Brown: Kelly Hoare was employed full time in her dad’s Charlton electorate office in the mid 1990s.

Joan Budd: the former ALP General Returning Officer in Queensland had a son Sean employed by Labor state MP Michael Choi. Joan’s husband John Budd was a state MP from 1992-95 but before and after this was employed variously by Con Sciacca, Senator Mal Colston and Senator John Hogg. Similarly, Joan’s son Lee Hipkins was employed in various ministers’ offices during the Goss and Beattie Governments, including Tony McGrady’s.

Alan Cadby: the WA MLC employs Helen Earle, the married daughter of Rob Johnson MLA.

Paul Calvert: the Tasmanian Liberal Senator employ Peter Lindsay’s daughter Kylie, he also got in strife a couple of years back for employing his own daughter Kate.

Eoin Cameron: the former member for Stirling in WA had his son and possibly also his daughter’s partner working in his office.

Ross Cameron: The goofy Federal Liberal member for Parramatta has had wife Genevieve on the payroll at various times.

Ian Campbell: the WA Liberal senator and “virtual assistant Treasurer” has had wife Brenda on the payroll over the years.

Elaine Carbines: the Victorian Labor MLC has a step-son Anthony Carbines who is an adviser to Bracks government minister Bronwyn Pyke.

Kim Carr: Labor’s raving lefty in the Senate from Victoria has felt it compassionate and socially just to hire his wife on behalf of the taxpayer.

Michaelia Cash: the daughter of the former WA Speaker and Minister used to work for Ross Lightfoot at the same time as dating him (note huge variation in age difference – this was post Julie Bishop MP and pre current wife who also works for him).

Yvonne Chapman: the former National Party MP for the state seat of Pine Rivers (now Kurwongbah but she’s Mayor of Pine Rivers Shire) in Queensland and one-time Minister for Families, hired a number of her family members for electorate office and Ministerial office work.

Ian Cohen (Greens in NSW Upper House) employs his long-time girlfriend Jan Barham on the public payroll, despite the fact that she lives in Byron Bay and has not been seen in the NSW Parliament since the 1999 election.

Mal Colston: the biggest rorter of them all hired his wife, two sons David and Doug, as well as Doug’s fiancee. What a disgrace that the Labor Party harboured him for so long.

Peter Cooke: The outgoing Labor Senator from WA employed his wife because he was away from Perth so much.

Barney Cooney: the Labor MP’s wife worked for the interesting combination of both Brian Harradine and Mark Latham – the ultra-Catholic and the agnostic.

Robin Cooper: Kennett’s then Transport Minister sat back and watched his daughter Rebecca make about $2 million from the privatisation of Victoria’s energy industry as a director and 25% shareholder of specialist consultancy firm Troughton Swier which collected $24 million from the process. Before this Rebecca was a senior adviser to Jeff and Robin then added to his nepotism record by hiring his son in the electorate office.

Russell Cooper: the former National Party State Minister in Queensland has a daughter Penny who has worked for former Member for Aspley John Goss and also as Mike Horan’s media adviser.

Michael Costa: the NSW Transport Minister’s new chief of staff is Kellie Field, wife of Mark Arbib, assistant general secretary of the NSW Labor Party.

Brian Courtice: the former Federal ALP MP for Hinkler employed his wife on staff for a short period.

Winston Crane: the former WA Liberal Senator from WA has employed his wife Thea White as a secretary.

Noel Crichton-Browne: the WA Liberal powerbroker’s former wife has long worked for former Minister Norman Moore MLC.

Lynton Crosby: the former Federal director of the Liberal Party gave his wife Dawn Crosby a job at the Government Members Secretariat after a previous stint as ACT Director of the Liberal Party and before that a staff member for Sen John Herron.

Elaine Darling: the former Federal ALP Member for Lilley employed her daughter Vicky for some time.

Kay Darveniza: the Victorian ALP member for Melbourne West felt it appropriate to hire her brother-in-law.

John Della Bosca: as General Secretary of the NSW ALP, he organised for his wife Belinda Neal fill a casual senate vacancy following the retirement of Kerry Sibraa (and became a shadow front bencher to boot).

Kay Denman: the Opposition Whip in the Senate in the last Federal Parliament, employed her son Paul in her office.

Alexander Downer: the Foreign Minister’s wife, Nikki Downer, has been appointed to the Australia Council.

Trish Draper: The Federal Liberal MP employed her son Chris.

Wendy Edmond: the Minister in the Queensland government has had her significant other as senior adviser.

Cheryl Edwardes: the former Liberal Minister in WA has a husband called Colin who works for Senator Ian Campbell.

Kay Elson: the Federal Queensland member’s daughter Selma works for Kay in Canberra but is attached to the electorate office in Beenleigh south of Brisbane. Selma’s husband Andrew works in the Government Members Secretariat. Johleene Wright (nee Elson) is working for Margaret May MP. Andrew Schuller (husband of Selma) is also working at the Government Members Secretariat and Kay’s husband Dave is acting state Director of the Queensland Division.

Paddy Embry: the One Nation MLC from WA employs a Jackie Embry in his electorate office.

Barry Featherstone: failed candidate for Hammond, was also once a ministerial adviser to former SA Premier Rob Kerin, and when Featherstone married his current wife, one of the guests was none other than Senator Jeannie Ferris.

Senator Alan Ferguson: the senator for South Australia employs Ben Hall the son of former SA Premier Steele Hall and current MP Joan Hall. Ben has also previously worked for Mark Brindal.

Laurie Ferguson: the Federal ALP member has employed his own son and also accompanies his brother Martin in Parliament.

Jeannie Ferris: the Liberal Senator regularly gave casual work to Jacqui Featherstone, 18yo daughter of Barry Featherstone, the failed Liberal candidate for Peter Lewis’ seat of Hammond in SA. Ferris also gave casual work to Jeremy Whyte, son of Martin Whyte, failed candidate for Senate preselection (beaten by Grant Chapman and Michelle Lensink for the 3rd and 4th positions), and nephew of recent SA Government Minister Carolyn Schaeffer MLC.

Fred Finch: the former CLP Minister in the Northern Territory employed his daughter.

Joel Fitzgibbon: the Labor MP for Newcastle inherited the seat from his father.

Petro Georgiou: his son Dino worked for former finance Minister John Fahey.

Brenda Gibbs: The Queensland senator hired her daughter, Toni, to fill in a temporary electorate office position. And Brenda’s ex husband is former Goss and Beattie Minister Bob Gibbs.

Roger Goldsworthy: the former South Australian deputy premier allowed his son Mark Goldsworthy to take his seat but before that he worked for SA Liberal backbencher Ivan Venning and his uncle, Grant Chapman, the longest serving Federal Liberal MP never to have made the ministry.

Bruce Goodluck: former member for Franklin in Tasmania, employed his wife Cynthia and his daughter Catherine.

Dianne Hadden: the MLC for Ballarat Province in Victoria employs her sister Jenny as an electorate officer.

Jill Hall: the NSW MP employs her son Chris part-time.

Keith Hamilton: Labor’s Victorian Agriculture minister used to employ his wife in his electorate office.

Steve Hatton: the former Northern Territory chief minister has a son Jason who was employed by the previous Chief Minister (Denis Burke) as a Research Officer prior to his failed attempt at succession to the family seat of Nightcliff.

Pauline Hanson: employed her son.

Len Harris: The One Nation senator from Queensland has hired one of his children on his staff.

Leisha Harvey: the former National Party MP and one-time Minister for Families was one of the four National Party MPs jailed as a result of the Fitzgerald Inquiry. She also employed a few of her family members as either electorate office and/or Ministerial office staff.

Michael Hatton: the former Keating staffer who took his boss’s seat has employed his wife Shirley in the electorate office for the seat of Blaxland.

Hazel Hawke: worked for Bob for a brief period. Maybe employed as a temp to go along with her status as temporary wife.

John Herron: the former Aboriginal affairs minister in the Howard government allowed his daughter Willie Herron to be hired as a press secretary by the PM. Another daughter Samantha worked for David Kemp.
Dean Hersey: the failed Liberal candidate for Kingston is a member of the SA state executive and his wife wife Karen works for Senator Jeannie Ferris.

Harold Hird: the former Liberal MLA in the ACT employed his son Mark in his office.

Kelly Hoare: the Federal Labor MP for Charlton inherited the seat from daddy.

John Howard: daughter Melanie was on the Member for Bennelong’s electorate staff (part-time) in the late eighties or early nineties. ‘Carpark’ Melanie is on an official staff list issued at the time.

Brian Howe: daughter Abbey worked for Andrew Theophanus before Andrew Theo ratted on the Left, whereupon Abbey found a job with the PTU. She then joined the payroll of the Victorian branch of the ALP.

Julia Irwin: the Federal Labor member for Irwin in Sydney has hired her husband Geoff Irwin as a paid adviser even though he’s already on a parliamentary pension.

Harry Jenkins: inherited the Federal Labor seat of Scullin from his dad.

Michael Johnston: the branch stacking Federal Liberal member for Ryan appointed a family member to his staff shortly after winning the seat in 2001.

Rob Johnson: MLA for Hillarys in WA, employs Sue Cadby, the wife of newly elected MLC, Alan Cadby.

Ricky Johnston, a former member of the Reps, had her husband Ian on the payroll part time at various times

Trevor Kaine: the former ACT Chief Minister/Liberal leader employed squeeze and later wife Sandy Brooke in his Assembly office.

Bob Katter: most of his children have worked out of his office at one time or another, the last being Caroline who came on board very swiftly as ‘chief of staff’ after the departure of George Price, just prior to Katter going Independent.

De-Anne Kelly: the Queensland Nat employs husband Roger, whom many Nats claim is the de-facto Member.

David Kemp: the Federal Environment Minister’s niece Celia Kemp was appointed to the National Health & Medical Research Council at the age of about 19?

Dorothy Kotz: the lower house MP once employed Leah Grantham, daughter of Liberal MLC John Dawkins.

Bill Landeryou: the former MLC for Doutta Gulla in Victoria employed son Andrew Landeryou in 1989-91 and we’re told his daughter too. Andrew is now in a legal battle with Solly Lew and his wife Limberley Kitchens is a Melbourne City Councillor.

Michael Lavarch: the former Federal Attorney General and Queensland Labor figure briefly employed his lawyer wife (Lynda) on his electorate staff when he was a backbencher. Lynda is now a State MP in Qld.

David Lean: the former Victorian State Member for Carrum, has a daughter Amanda who worked for Denis Napthine.

Peter Lewis: the South Australian kingmaker employs his wife (or at least did) as his electorate office cleaner, paid out of his global allowance, which by the way happens to be his house.

Senator Ross Lightfoot: The WA Senator’s third wife, Anne Ferguson-Stewart used to work for fellow senator Winston Crane. And Ross’s daughter Jo works in his office, but because she has a different surname it goes largely unnoticed.

Jenny Lindell: The Labor MP for Carrum’s husband was employed by new Finance Minister John Lenders as his chief of staff.

Peter Lindsay: daughter worked with Senator Ian Macdonald prior to working for Senate President Paul Calvert.

Ted Lindsay: the former Federal member for Herbert has a son Eamon Lindsay who worked in the electorate office of Allan Morris, former member for Newcastle. His sister also worked for a Federal ALP figure.

Kevin Lingard: National Party MP for the Queensland state seat of Beaudesert and former National Party Minister, has employed family members as staff on a number of occasions. His daughter Trish Coyne has also worked for Andrea West.

Jospeh Ludwig: the Queensland Labor senator is the son of Qld union and ALP powerbroker, Bill Ludwig, head of the Australian Worker’s Union. And Bill’s daughter Carmen was employed in Deane Wells’ office in Queensland.

Ted Mack: this legend employed his wife Wendy when he was the independent Member for North Sydney in the Federal Parliament but she never took a salary so congratulations to both of them.

Ian Macdonald: the Queensland Liberal Senator employed the daughter of fellow Townsvillite Peter Lindsay MP, Kylie.

Jann MacFarlane: the Federal ALP member for Stirling employs her daughter, Heather, in the office. Apparently Heather uses her mothers maiden name when on the phone and on letters, to avoid the perception of nepotism. The story floating around is that in order to free up space for her daughter in the office, she gave the back of the axe to another staffer – the son of a State Labor MP.

Margaret May: The Federal Liberal MP’s daughter Kristin May worksed in the PM’s office.

Senator Jim McKiernan has his wife, Jackie, working for him.

Jan McLucas: the Queensland Labor senator used to work for her husband, State Member for Cook, Steve Bredhauer.

Daryl Melham: the NSW Labor MP employs his sister-in-law Gail two days a week and claims he “doesn’t give a fuck” who she’s married to.

Jenny Mikakos: the Victorian ALP upper house member employed her sister Nikki as an electorate officer.

Michael Moore: the former Independent and ACT Health Minister in the Carnell government employed his wife Helen and there can be no defence based on travel with this one.

Shayne Murphy: the Independent Tasmanian senator employed his wife as an electorate officer for a period.

Andrew Murray: the Democrat senator from WA employs his wife Pam but she works 80 hours a week and is only paid as a part-timer and does not claim travel allowance. The Murrays are legends.

Grant Musgrove: the former Queensland Labor backbencher has two brothers Ashley and Ross who were both employed by then Police Minister Tom Barton. Since the Shepherdson inquiry all the Musgroves are off the public payroll. Ashley’s wife Sarah Kleinschmidt worked Latham supporter Dr Craig Emerson.

Peter Nugent: the late Liberal federal member for Aston in Victoria employed his wife Carole in his electorate office

Bill O’Chee: the disgraced former young National Party senator from Queensland had at least one of his parents working with him.

Henry Palaszczuk: The Queensland Primary Industries minister has a daughter Annastacia who has worked for a number of Queensland minister and is currently with Dean Wells, Minister for Environment and Heritage.

Phillip Pendal: this WA Liberal turned independent has a daughter Sasha who is chief of staff to Queensland Liberal and federal minister Mal Brough.

Roger Price: (Chifley, NSW) has hired his daughters in the past who our informant thinks are called Stephanie and Courtney.

Neil O’Keefe: the former federal ALP member for Burke employed his wife in his Kyneton electorate office.

Eric Poole: a former CLP Minister in the Northern Territory who had his wife on the public payroll.

Bob Randall: the current Liberal Party State President in SA and former oncer for the State seat of Henley Beach has full time employment with Senator Nick Minchin.

Fred Reibeling: Speaker of the Legislative Assembly in WA has the daughter of Julian Grill (former Labor Aboriginal Affairs Minister) working as his secretary/research officer.

John Richardson: the Liberal Member for Forrest Hill in Victoria not only has employed his son but is trying to get him into Parliament.

David Ridgeway: the MLC of South Australia employs Brodie Sampson, niece of MLC Caroline Schaefer who is one of Ridgeway’s MLC colleagues.

Nyah Rowe: daughter or Gary Rowe: the Victorian State Member for Cranbourne has a daughter Nyah Rowe who worked for David Lean in his Electorate Office.

George Seitz: Labor MLA for Keilor in Victoria has in the past had both his daughter and son (also called George) on payroll.

Caroline Schaefer: The SA Lib MLC has Graham Gunn’s nephew Tom Rayner on her staff and many believe is keeping it warm for him in 2020.

Bob Sercombe: the uninspiring Federal Labor Member for Maribyrnong hired his wife Carmen as an electorate officer at the same time as she ran a migration agency business exclusively over her mobile phone.

Alex Somlyay: the Federal Liberal member for Fairfax and electoral roll rorter has a daughter called Victoria currently on the staff of Finance Minister Nick Minchin and who has previously worked as a research office for then Northern Territory chief minister Shane Stone.

Andrew Southcott: the little known federal MP had the infamous former MP Stan Evans on the pay.

Ken Ticehurst: the new federal Liberal MP for Dobell has appararently put his wife and daughter on his electorate office payroll in the first few weeks.

John Tingle: NSW MLC for the Shooters Party employs wife Gayle in Port Macquarie office so journalist Laura Tingle has both her folks on the public payroll.

David Tonkin: the well-regarded former Liberal Premier in SA has a son James who was a press secretary and then adviser in the Kennett media unit.

Judith Troeth: this Federal Liberal’s son Simon worked for Peter Costello’s parliamentary secretary Senator Ian Campbell, before the 1998 federal election and was then Richard Alston’s press secretary.

Warren Truss: the Federal Agriculture Minister married the electorate secretary of his immediate predecessor.

Danna Vale: the federal Veteran’s Affairs minister used to employ her husband Bob in her Hughes electorate office until the PM banned ministers from doing this.

Maria Vamvakinou: the Federal Labor MP’s husband Michalis Michael worked for Senator Barney Cooney between 1998-2000 and is now in academia.

David Vigor: the former Democrat senator employed his wife, Janet.
Barry Wakelin: the Federal Liberal member for Grey has had his wife Tina on the payroll from time to time.

Peter Wells: the former State Director of the Western Australian Liberal Party employed his wife Dorothy as office cleaner.

Andrea West: the former Liberal Member for Bowman in Queensland employed her sister for the entire length of her term.

Gough Whitlam: son Tony became the Member for Grayndler in 1975 following Fred Daley’s sudden retirement, while his father was still parliamentary leader. The Wran government then made Tony a judge.

Martin Whyte: the brother of SA Lib MLC Caroline Schaefer MLC and their father was Lib MLC Arthur Whyte. Martin’s wife Debbie has been employed in Senator Alan Ferguson’s office in the past.

Ian Wilson: was the Federal Liberal member for Sturt before Chris Pyne and employed his son in the electorate office.

Margaret Woodgate: former member for Kurwongbah (Qld) hired her son-in-law, Philip Halton, as senior ministerial policy adviser when she was Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Disability Services and Families in 1995-96. Margaret’s daughter Margaret was also hired by Gary Johns, federal member for Petrie 1987-1996.

John Woodley: the former Democrats employed his daughter Lesley for a number of years.

Michael Wooldridge: the former Health Minister’s sister Mary Wooldridge was picked up as an adviser to them industry minister Nick Minchin.

Trish Worth: the Federal Liberal Member for Adelaide and Parliamentary Secretary, has employed her daughter in her electorate office.

There must be a stack more such examples so anyone who can come up any from the last thirty years is encouraged to send their examples into [email protected]

Peter Fray

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