On Friday Crikey studied the Coalition frontbench’s collective CV with a magnifying glass. Today it’s time to bust some myths about the ALP frontbench. Or not.

There’s a healthy dose of lawyers, and what Labor lacks in former CEOs, they make up for in teachers. Former automotive electrician Joel Fitzgibbon can jump start the Rudd bus if it conks out, and Peter Garrett wins for coolest CV entry (admit it, you’d emboss rock star on your business card too if you could). 

There’s a former (female) labourer, a former RAAF apprentice aircraft electrician, a casino cashier and anyone suffering from a panic attack on the campaign trail can consult the Member for Holt who used to be Chief Executive Officer of the Anxiety Disorders Foundation of Australia.

And while you can rightly quibble over the percentages in the Coalition attack ads, as Barry Cassidy did yesterday, there sure is a healthy dose of former union official postings strewn through the ALP’s collective CV.  

You know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when ‘diplomat’ is looking like a gritty blue collar job compared to your colleagues. These MPs may not all have been union officials, but the majority have all been party hacks at one time or another. A couple of them have been inhaling the rarified air of the party room their whole professional lives.

You decide:

Mr Kevin Rudd MP, Member for Griffith: Diplomat 1981-88, Chief of Staff to the Hon. W Goss 1988-91, Director-General, Cabinet Office (Qld) 1991-95, Senior China Consultant, KPMG Australia 1996-98.

Ms Julia Gillard MP, Member for Lalor: Solicitor 1987-95; Partner 1990-95, Chief of Staff to the Victorian Leader of the Opposition, J Brumby, MLA 1995-98.

Mr Wayne Swan MP, Member for Lilley: Lecturer, Queensland Institute of Technology 1976-77, 1981-82 and 1985-88, Policy analyst, Office of Youth Affairs 1978, Adviser to the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon. WG Hayden, MP 1978-80; Special Ministers of State, the Hon. MJ Young, MP and the Hon. KC Beazley, MP 1983; and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon. WG Hayden, MP 1984, Party official, Adviser 1996-98.

Senator Christopher Evans: Industrial officer, Federated Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 1982-87, State Secretary, Fire Brigade Union (WA) 1987-90. (see also Party positions above).

Senator Stephen Conroy: Superannuation Officer, Transport Workers’ Union, Research assistant.

Mr Anthony Albanese MP, Member for Grayndler: Bank officer 1980-81, Research officer to the Minister for Local Government and Administrative Services, the Hon. T. Uren, MP 1985-89, Party official 1989-95 (see Party Positions above), Senior Policy Adviser to the Premier (NSW), the Hon. RJ Carr 1995-96.

The Hon Arch Bevis MP, Member for Brisbane: Teacher 1975-77, Organiser, Queensland Teachers’ Union 1977-80, Deputy General Secretary, Queensland Teachers’ Union 1980-90.

Mr Chris Bowen MP, Member for Prospect: Research and media officer to the Hon JA Crosio, MP 1994-95, Industrial officer, Finance Sector Union 1995-2000, Senior adviser to the Hon. PC Scully, MLA (NSW) 2000-01; Chief of Staff 2001-04.

Mr Tony Burke MP, Member for Watson: Sales and shop assistant 1982-91, Electorate officer to Senator GF Richardson 1993-94, Electorate officer to Senator MG Forshaw 1994-95, Lobbyist and director, ‘Euthanasia No’ 1995-97, Director, Aticus Pty Ltd, 1996-97, Campaign manager, Australian Republican Movement 1997, Union organiser, Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association 1997-2003, Member, Legislative Council (NSW) 2003-04.

Senator Kim Carr: Teacher 1979-89 and 1992-93, Ministerial adviser and policy analyst.

The Hon Simon Crean MP, Member for Hotham: Assistant General Secretary, Federated Storemen and Packers Union of Australia 1976-79; General Secretary 1979-85, Vice-President, Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) 1981-83; Senior Vice-President 1983-85; President 1985-90, Member, National Labour Consultative Council 1981-90, Member, Economic Planning and Advisory Council 1984-90, Member, International Labour Organisation Governing Body 1986-90, Member, Qantas Board 1987-90, Member, Australian Industry Development Corporation Board 1988-90.

Dr Craig Emerson MP, Member for Rankin: Economic analyst, United Nations 1978-80, Economic Adviser to the Minister for Resources and Energy and the Minister for Finance 1984-86, Assistant Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet 1986, Economic and Environmental Adviser to the Prime Minister, the Hon R.J.L. Hawke, MP 1986-90, Director-General, Department of Environment (Qld) 1990-95, Chief Executive Officer, South East Queensland Transit Authority 1995-96, Director, Eco Managers 1996-98.

Mr Laurie Ferguson MP, Member for Reid: Research Officer, Federated Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 1976-84, Member, Legislative Assembly, New South Wales (see Parliamentary Service above), Mr Martin Ferguson AM, MP, Member for Batman: Federal Research Officer, Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 1975-81, Assistant General Secretary, Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 1981-84, General Secretary, Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 1984-90, Member, Australian Council of Trade Unions Executive 1984-90, Vice-President, Australian Council of Trade Unions 1985-90, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions 1990-96, Member, ILO Governing Body 1990-96, Life Member, Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers’ Union 1995.   

Mr Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Member for Hunter: Automotive electrician 1978-90, Electorate officer to EJ Fitzgibbon, MP 1990-96, Part-time TAFE lecturer, Small business operator, Graduate Certificate in Business Administration (University of Newcastle).

Mr Peter Garrett MP, Member for Kingsford Smith: Lead singer, ‘Midnight Oil’ 1977-2002, President, Australian Conservation Foundation 1989-93 and 1998-2004, Board member, Greenpeace International 1993-94.

Mr Alan Griffin MP, Member for Bruce: Public servant 1984-85, Union organiser 1986 and 1988-89, Electorate secretary 1987-88 and 1989-90, Ministerial adviser to the Victorian State Minister for Community Services, the Hon. K Setches, MLA 1990-91, Ministerial adviser to the Hon. S Crean, MP 1991-93.

Senator Joseph Ludwig: Barrister, Cadet Industrial Inspector 1978-80; Assistant Industrial Inspector 1980-82; Industrial Inspector 1982-88, Training consultant 1988, Industrial Advocate, Australian Workers’ Union (Qld) 1988-93; Senior Industrial Advocate 1993-99, Justice of the Peace from 1997.

Senator Kate Lundy: Builders labourer 1984-86, Organiser, Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (formerly Building Workers’ Industrial Union) (ACT Branch) 1986-96; Vice-President 1987-96, Member, ACT Trades and Labour Council Executive from 1988; President 1993-96.

Ms Jenny Macklin MP, Member for Jagajaga: Researcher, Australian National University 1976-78, Economics Research Specialist, Legislative Research Service, Parliamentary Library, Canberra 1978-81, Research Coordinator, Labor Resource Centre 1981-85, Adviser to the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon. D.R. White, MLC 1985-88, Director, National Health Strategy 1990-93, Director, Australian Urban and Regional Development Review 1993-95.

Mr Robert McClelland MP, Member for Barton: Associate to the Hon. Justice PG Evatt, DSC, Judge of the Federal Court of Australia 1981-82, Solicitor 1982-96; partner in firm 1988-96.

Senator Jan McLucas: Teacher 1979-88, Electorate officer 1991-94.

Mr Bob McMullan MP, Member for Fraser: Party official and union official.

Ms Tanya Plibersek MP, Member for Sydney:  Women’s Officer, University of Technology, Sydney, Domestic Violence Unit, NSW Ministry for the Status of Women, Electorate officer.

Ms Nicola Roxon MP, Member for Gellibrand: Judge’s Associate, the Hon. Justice Mary Gaudron, High Court of Australia 1992-94, Union organiser, National Union of Workers 1994-96, Industrial lawyer: Senior Associate, Maurice Blackburn and Co 1996-98.

Senator Nick Sherry: Secretary, Tasmanian University Union and various business committees 1976-79, Cashier and night auditor, Wrest Point Hotel Casino 1976-79, State Secretary, Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Union (Tas) 1979-90; National Councillor and Trustee 1981-90; Negotiator, superannuation, education, training and career path design, Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Union (Tas) 1979-90, Board Member, College of Hospitality 1980-90, State Executive, Tasmanian Trades and Labour Council 1985-1990, President 1998-1990, Trustee, Host-Plus Superannuation Fund 1986-90, Manager, Trustee, Company Secretary, Club-Plus (Tas) Superannuation Fund 1987-1992, Board Member, Hospitality Group Training 1985-90, Board Member, Employment and Skills Formation Council 1988-1990.

Mr Stephen Smith MP, Member for Perth: Solicitor, lecturer and tutor 1978-83, Principal Private Secretary to the State Attorney-General, WA 1983-87, Party official 1987-90 (see Party Positions above), Adviser to the Treasurer, the Hon. PJ Keating 1991, Adviser to the Minister for Science and Technology, the Hon. RV Free 1991, Adviser to the Prime Minister, the Hon. P. Keating 1991-92.

Mr Lindsay Tanner MP, Member for Melbourne: Articled clerk and solicitor 1982-85, Electorate assistant to Senator BC Cooney 1985-87, Assistant Secretary, Federated Clerks’ Union (Vic) 1987-88; State Secretary 1988-93.

Senator Penny Wong: Member, Human Rights Committee, Law Society of South Australia 1998-2002, Chair, UNIFEM Adelaide Breakfast Committee 1999-2001, Founding member, Celebrating Diversity Coalition.

Mr Anthony Byrne MP, Member for Holt: Chief Executive Officer, Anxiety Disorders Foundation of Australia, Adviser to Senator JMA Collins.  

The Hon Graham Edwards MP, Member for Cowan: Officer, Dept of Defence, Dept of Veterans’ Affairs and Vietnam Veterans’ Counselling Service, Member, WA Legislative Council 1983-97.

Ms Jennie George MP, Member for Throsby: Secondary school teacher, General Secretary, NSW Teachers’ Federation 1980-82, First woman elected Vice President ACTU 1987, President, NSW Teachers’ Federation 1986-89, Assistant National Director, Trade Union Training Authority 1989-91, Assistant Secretary, ACTU 1991-1996, President, Australia Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), 1996-March 2000, Board Member, Delta Electricity 2000-2001.

Ms Catherine King MP, Member for Ballarat: Social worker 1989-92, Research officer 1992-93, Industry policy officer, Australia New Zealand Food Authority 1993-94, Assistant Director, Population Health Division, Commonwealth Dept of Health and Aged Care 1994-98, Director, Injury Prevention, Population Health Division, Commonwealth Dept of Health and Aged Care 1998-99, Senior Manager, KPMG Consulting 1999-2001.

Ms Kirsten Livermore MP, Member for Capricornia: Union organiser, Community and Public Sector Union 1995, Solicitor 1996-98. 

Mr John Murphy MP, Member for Lowe: Public servant, Dept of Veterans’ Affairs 1970-91, NSW State Manager, Public Service and Merit Protection Commission 1992-98, Accredited Mediator, Lawyers Engaged in Alternative Dispute Resolution. 

Mr Brendan O’Connor MP, Member for Gorton: Union official 1986-2001, Assistant National Secretary, Australian Services Union 1993-2001.  

Mr Bernie Ripoll MP, Member for Oxley: Electrician 1986-90, Union Organiser, State Public Services Federation of Queensland (SPSFQ) 1995-98, Apprentice aircraft electrician, RAAF 1983-84.

The Hon Warren Snowdon MP, Member for Lingiari: Senior Project Officer, Central Land Council, Alice Springs 1983-87, Founding President, Central Australian Regional Trades and Labour Council, Assistant Secretary, Northern Territory Trades and Labour Council, Teacher, Commonwealth Teaching Service and Northern Territory Teaching Service 1976-78 and 1981-83, Researcher, Australian National University. Consultant 1996-98.

Senator Ursula Stephens: Teacher 1974-92, Small business operator 1992-96, Senior Project Officer, NSW Premier’s Dept. 1997-2001.

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