The Senate
Senator the Hon Paul Calvert, Senator for Tasmania Municipality of
Senator Stephen Conroy, Senator for Victoria Footscray Council
Senator the Hon Ian Macdonald, Senator for Queensland Burdekin Shire
Senator Alan Eggleston, Senator for Western Australia Port Hedland
Senator the Hon Bill Heffernan, Senator for New South Wales Junee Shire
Senator Brian Greig, Senator for Western Australia Town of Vincent
Senator Lyn Allison, Senator for Victoria City of Port Melbourne
Senator Julian McGauran, Senator for Victoria Melbourne City Council
Senator Richard Colbeck, Senator for Tasmania Devonport City Council
Senator Jan McLucas, Senator for Queensland Cairns City Council

By Stephen Mayne, failed candidate for Melboune Lord Mayor in 2001

By jingo, there's been an avalanche of emails for a list of state and
federal politicians who started out in local government and at this
stage it looks like we'll finish up with more than 200 names, depending
on how far back into history we go.

The Australian Local Government Association have saved us a good deal of time by pointing to their 2003-04 federal budget submission
which listed every Federal MP in 2003 who hailed from a council. This
totaled 31 in the Reps and 10 in the Senate and the split was broadly 50-50 in terms
of which major party they represented.

in the Senate and the party split was

Spike the Night
Editor writes:
It works both ways.
Word is, Con Sciacca considers himself home and hosed as the ALP candidate to
run for Lord Mayor againsCan Campbell Newman.

Meanwhile, the
tenacious little Lord Mayor is himself being talked about as a draftee to
Federal politics, following his mum's career path... Some senior Libs on the
receiving end of Can Do's enthusiastic lobbying on his pet tunnel projects would
certainly forward to Could Do learning first hand that it is lot harde to fund
every road project that every lord mayor every year takes to

Hi Stephen,

some local govt reps gone to state MPs to add:

WA ALP's John Hyde went from journo at The West to mayor of Perth's Vincent
council to state MP.

And Geoff Gallop was a Fremantle councillor.

Didn't see if it was mentioned but Channel 7s Reece Whitby was a councillor
at Cottesloe council when i worked at the Fremantle Herald in 2001/2. Not
sure if he's still there.

as an aside, and if you're ever doing anything on media suing media, Channel
7 once threatened to sue regular Crikey contributor Brian Mitchell's Freo
Herald as it was about to run a story i wrote on Reece being involved in a
scuffle while pursuing a story on a local indigenous elder. THe story, until
then destined for the back news pages, was promptly stuck on the front page
with the hed "Nobody Sues News Like Seven". Nothing more came from the

(not for publication with my name)


Don't forget to add to your list “Alex McTaggart –
our latest recruit to NSW State Parliament. He was voted in during the
recent Pittwater by-election to replace John Brogden. He is still
currently serving as Mayor of Pittwater and as the local MP. Believe he
could be regretting his local government connection. Pittwater Council
recently put forward a motion to sell four local parks/reserves for
units/housing in order to fund a Recreation Centre that no one really wants –
local residents are outraged. The council has a 5% Environmental Levy on
top of rates that is intended to conserve bushland and parks, yet the Council totally
contradicts this by proposing to sell four existing parks/reserves. As mayor,
McTaggart is in the direct firing line (over 2000 letters have been penned so
far). Some supporters who helped during his election campaign are now on
the other foot fighting Council's rezoning plans. Having a foot in local
and state politics can infect both houses if you don't choose policy

When I
was Campaign Manager for the Democrats back in the early 1990's, I spoke
to Ted's wife to see if they wanted any of our volunteers to hand out HTV's
for him on any booths where they were a bit short of

If I recall
correctly, Ted's team had so many supporters volunteering that they had
absolutely every gate at every booth covered, and with very efficiently
organised rosters, so that nobody had to stand there handing out the HTV's for
more than an hour or two at most!


Councils seem to be fertile ground for state MPs for
the NSW ALP.

Virginia Judge was mayor of Strathfield till 2003
when she became MP for the electorate of the same name (popularly known as
Biddy, for her resemblance to the councillor on ABC's Grass Roots)

Her erstwhile molester, Peter Black was mayor of
Broken Hill for about 20 years, now member for Murray Darling.

Most of the others have been on council in the past –
Paul Pearce, John Aquilina, Alan Ashton, Alison Megarrity, Latham's old
buddy Stephen Chaytor etc etc… the list goes on.

Away from the Federal Parliament, here is another 20 names supplied by Crikey readers:

Denver Beanland:
was Deputy Mayor of Brisbane before winning the state seat of Indooroopilly

Lionel Bowen: Bob Hawke's initial Deputy PM was several times Mayor of Randwick before moving on to be Federal MP for

Ben Chifley:
Ben Chifley who was still on the Abercrombie
Shire Council while PM until he lost an election during 1947.

Mayor of Bathurst (or some
surrounding shire Council) when he was in Parliament – in fact I recall
from reading a biography on him that he may have been Shire president / mayor
while Treasurer and perhaps even PM. Sure easy to double-check.

Helen Buckingham:
former mayor of Whitehorse in Melbourne East and now
currently ALP MLC member for Koonung province.

Nita Cunningham: Labor Member for Bundaberg, was Mayor of Bundaberg City Council from 1991 until 1998

Terry Martin
: former
Mayor of the City of Glenorchy in Tasmania, now Member for Elwick in
theTasmanian Legislative Council.

John Goss:
Alderman in Brisbane City
Council, then became member for Aspley in Queensland Parliament

Virginia Judge: former
Strathfield Mayor, now NSW Labor MP for Strathfield

Ted Mack:
Mayor of North Sydney and then Federal Member for North Sydney

Judy Maddigan:
former mayor of Moonee Valley Council and now speaker of the Legislative Assembley for the Bracks Goverment in Victoria.

John Murphy: Federal ALP member for Murphy, used to be on Drummoyne Council in
Sydney's inner west (now called Canada Bay)

Gary Punch: former Labor MP for Barton and Minister in the Hawke and Keating
governments, was the junior mayor for Hurstville having taken up an interest in
local politics whilst at Hurstville Boys' High School. He later
became a councillor and subsequently Mayor of Hurstville at the ripe old age of

Richard Torbay: former Mayor of Armidale in Northern NSW, now state
independent Member for Northern Tablelands

John Watkins:
Hunter's Hill deputy mayor to deputy premier in the
Iemma Government

Richard Wynne: mayor of Melb , now MP for richmond and secretary to cabinet. (Check this one as two Dick Wynne's)

Lidia Argondizzo (Victorian Legislative Council, Templestowe Province)

Bruce Atkinson (Victorian Legislative Council, Koonung Province)

Bill Baxter (Victorian Legislative Council, North Eastern Province)

Chris Bowen (House of Reps, Prospect)

Helen Buckingham (Victorian Legislative Council, Koonung Province)

Dawn Fardell (NSW Legislative Assembly, Dubbo) (if you count deputy mayors)

Shelley Hancock (NSW Legislative Assembly, South Coast) (if you count deputy mayors)

Kay Hull (House of Reps, Riverina) (if you count deputy mayors)

Alex McTaggart (NSW Legislative Assembly, Pittwater)

Sang Nguyen (Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne West Province)

Richard Torbay (NSW Legislative Assembly, Northern Tablelands)

Henry Tsang (NSW Legislative Council) (if you count deputy mayors)

Gerry Wood (NT Legislative Assembly, Nelson)

Richard Wynne (Victorian Legislative Assembly, Richmond)

but the current Kangaroo Island Mayor, Michael Pengilly is listed on
the Libs website ( as
being their candidate for the departing Dean Brown's seat of Finnis.

You should be able to put him on the list of successful transitions
already, given his status as the local mayor and the Liberal nature of
the seat!

Torbay also has the distinction (along
with Clover Moore at least of the list) of being both Mayor and MP for
some time, although Torbay only held on to his Mayor job until the next
Mayoral elections (from memory admittedly).

It would be interesting to know how many independent
MPs (genuine independents as opposed to turncoats like Katter) were not
prior mayors. Peter Andren (Calare, Federal) is one but he had the
recognition advantage of being a former TV newsreader.

that millionaire property-developer Clive Berghoffer was simultaneously Mayor of
Toowoomba & State Member for Toowoomba South until Goss changed the
laws & he had to resign the State seat.

Brisbane City Councillor Tim Nicholls has been
pre-selected for the State seat of Clayfield.

Kaselehlie Steve,

Howard Hobbs
- Nats MP for Warrego (seat in south west Queensland), Chairman of
Tambo Shire Council from 1980 - 87, Tambo Councillor 1975-80.

Jeff Seeney - Deputy Opposition Leader, Nats MP for Callide, was Monto Shire Councillor from 1992-98, Deputy Mayor 1994 - 97

Peter Wellington - Independent MP for Nicklin, was a Maroochy Shire Councillor.

Another one from a previous State Parliament was:

Lex Bell, Independent MP for Surfers Paradise from 2001 -
2004, Served on the Gold Coast City Council for sixteen years:
Councillor, 1994 - 2001; Mayor, 1988 - 1994; and Alderman, 1985 - 1988.

They're just a few I could think of off
the top of my head, and all those details about dates of service are on
the Qld Parliament website.

It may interest you also that in
Queensland, under legislation introduced by the Beattie Government in
2001, councillors now have to resign before standing for State

Going the other way

Ivan Petch: State member for Gladecville, defeated in 1995 by John
Watkins, later became mayor of the city of Ryde.