Maxine McKew has generated a flurry of excitement in federal politics and the government is clearly worried, rolling out big guns such as Tony Abbott and Andrew Robb to label her a “celebrity” pulling a stunt.
McKew is well known but she’s hardly a celebrity. The same applies to former ABC journalist and S-x Discrimination Commission Pru Goward who is about to join the NSW Parliament for the Liberals.
However, the phenomenon of journalists getting into parliament and doing well is clearly on the rise. Crikey has been building our “journalists in parliament” lists for five years and we’ve updated them this morning.
McKew would be number 69 if she knocks off the PM, but she’s more likely to join our list of 28 former journalists who tried but failed to get elected.
There have been mutterings that McKew’s decision will confirm government prejudices about ALP bias at the ABC. Whilst it is true that both Barrie Cassidy and Kerry O’Brien are former Labor staffers, there are seven former ABC journalists who made it into Parliament for conservative parties and ten for Labor. The following lists are not as lopsided as many would think:
ABC Conservatives in Parliament
Peter Collins: The former Liberal leader in NSW and state Treasurer was a television journalist and researcher for Four Corners.
Ian Cover: from ABC broadcaster on The Coodabeen Champions to Liberal Upper House MP in Victoria and now back on the ABC.
Eoin Cameron: From radio broadcaster to Federal Liberal backbencher and then back to ABC Radio in Perth where he now does Breakfast.
Rob Messenger: ABC radio broadcaster in Bundaberg who is now National Party member for Burnett in the Queensland Parliament.
Cameron Thompson: Liberal Member for Blair who took the seat off Pauline Hanson and before that worked for the ABC in Darwin and Longreach.
Bruce Webster: the NSW Liberal member for Pittwater in the mid-1970s who did 30 years of sport at the ABC.
Grant Woodhams: the National Party member for Greenough in WA worked with ABC radio in Tasmania, South Australia, NSW and Victoria.
ABC journalists to Labor MPs
Ian Baker: the former ABC news chief of staff in Victoria was Agriculture Minister in the Kirner Government.
John Bowler: formerly of the ABC and now besieged local government minister in WA.
Alan Carpenter: ferocious 7.30 Report presenter to WA Labor Premier
Bob Carr: The Bulletin and ABC news and current affairs to NSW Labor Premier.
Bob Debus: NSW Attorney General worked on ABC documentaries in the 1970s.
Mary Delahunty: Labor’s Education Minister and later Planning and Arts Minister in Victoria, was a former news reader and presenter of The 7.30 Report.
Clare Martin: The ALP’s chief minister in the Northern Territory was the morning presenter on ABC 666 Canberra and a presenter of The 7.30 Report.
Barbara McCarthy: Northern Territory Labor MLA for Arnhem and a former news presenter in Sydney and Darwin.
Neville Oliver: the former head of sport at the ABC is now in the Tasmanian parliament for Labor.
Diana Warnock: long time ABC radio personality and subsequent Labor MLA for Perth in the WA Parliament from 1993 until 2001.