What do Annette Ellis, Julia Gillard, Tanya Plibersek, Maria Vamvakinou, Marise Payne, Kate Ellis and Cameron Thompson have in common? They’re just some of our federal pollies who are former political staffers.

There are a few standouts, too. One subscriber swears that in keeping with good Hunter Valley and Labor tradition, Joel Fitzgibbon worked for his old man. True? Petro Georgiou worked for Malcolm Fraser, as did former MP and minister David Kemp. Joe Hockey was on John Fahey’s staff as NSW premier. Wayne Swan worked for Mick Young, Bill Hayden and Kim Beazley. Fellow Labor Queensland MP Craig Emerson has an impressive CV, too, with stints with Bob Hawke, Peter Walsh and Wayne Goss. And the pedants are being picky over Kevin Rudd. He headed Wayne Goss’s cabinet office. Does that make him a staffer or a public servant?

South Australian Premier Mike Rann, who enjoys stratospheric approval ratings, shows that former staffers can soar as leaders. No doubt the skills he learnt spinning for Don Dunstan have come in handy there. And while everyone hates a smart*rse, we at Crikey give a gold star to the subscriber who pointed out that incoming NSW Liberal Senator Concetta Ferravanti-Wells is – you guessed it – a former staffer.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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