So ACT Greens Senate candidate Simon Sheikh was a former financial member of the Labor Party. He’s hardly the only political operative who’s switched teams over the years.
Crikey has been tracking current and former political turncoats and defectors in parliament since January 2006 when Victorian Senator Julian McGauran famously resigned from the Nationals to join the Liberal Party in 2006 before losing his seat to the Democratic Labor Party in 2010. We’ve since found 50-odd of them — but let us know if we’ve missed anyone or need to correct the record …
Tony Abbott: Liaised long and hard with DLP acolytes during his days at Sydney University in the 1970s and didn’t make a call on which party to join until years later.
Ian Alexander: One one of a clutch of WA Labor MPs who went independent in 1991. Now an active member of the Greens.
Gilbert Allison: Liberal MP for Maryborough in 1971-77; National for Maryborough in 1983-89.
Alison Anderson: NT Labor minister, quit the ALP to sit as an independent (nearly causing the minority ALP NT government to collapse), joined the Country Liberal Party before last years’ NT election, now enjoying ministerial responsibilities in a CLP government.
Gordon Ashley: Former Victorian Liberal MP in Bayswater who ran as an independent at the 2006 state election after losing a preselection contest due to head office intervention. Replacement Heidi Victoria continues to go from strength to strength.
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Brian Austin: Defected from the Liberals to the Nationals after the 1986 Queensland election, allowing Sir Joh to form majority government.
Greg Barns: The former Liberal staffer was an endorsed 2002 Tasmanian Liberal candidate for the state seat of Denison before being disendorsed over the asylum seeker issue. Became an unsuccessful Democrat candidate at the state election in 2002. In 2013 emerged as a Wikileaks party spokesperson and presumably candidate.
Andrew Bartlett: Democrats senator until 2008 now a QLD Greens candidate and party convenor.
Sam Benson: Won the 1962 Batman byelection for Labor but was expelled from the party, reelected in 1963 but was expelled over his tenacious support for the Vietnam War.
Harry Black: Queensland MP who defected from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to the City Country Alliance in 1999.
John Bradford: Former Liberal MHR who stayed in Parliament as a member of Fred Nile’s Christian Democratic Party before losing.
Ernie Bridge: WA Kimberley MP and Labor government minister dumped the party in 1996 before being re-elected as an independent.
Robert Brokenshire: Liberal MP in South Australian lower house seat of Mawson now a member of Family First in the upper house.
Pam Buchanan: WA Labor MP and first female government whip in the Legislative Assembly turned independent in 1991. Died in 1992.
Troy Buswell: A humorous exchange from the WA Assembly in 2010 reveals the Liberal chair-sniffer was a member of the Right and Centre-Left subfactions of the ALP when he was at uni (Buswell fondly recalled the Left-Right splinter comprised “freethinkers … the ones who drank wine out of bottles!”).
Terry Cameron: The former ALP South Australian state secretary and federal executive member (and son of senator Don Cameron and nephew of Clyde) was elected to the SA Legislative Council on the ALP ticket but quit the party and with another ALP defector, Trevor Crothers, voting for the Liberal bill to privatise the Electricity Trust of South Australia.
Vince Catania: Son of former ALP MLA for Balcatta and Mayor of Vincent, Nick Catania defected from Labor to National in 2009.
Don Chipp: Was a minister in the McMahon years before he joined the Liberals as a grumpy backbencher in March 1977 and successfully ran for the Democrats in the Senate later that year.
Mal Colston: Resigned from Labor to sit as a disgraced “Queensland First” independent in the Senate in 1996 so he could keep his deputy president sinecure.
Elizabeth Constable: Lost preselection battle in WA when a member of the state Libs, ran for the set of Churchlands as an independent and held her seat right up until she retired at the 2013 election, having been made a Minister by Colin Barnett after the 2008 election.
Peter Costello: Cosied up to Michael Danby and the Balaclava branch of Young Labor as a member of the Social Democratic Students Association of Victoria while a student at Monash University in Melbourne.
Trevor Crothers: South Australian Labor MP who joined with Terry Cameron in defecting over the ETSA privatisation legislation.
David Dalgleish: Queensland MP who defected from Pauline Hanson’s One Nation to the City Country Alliance in 1999.
John Devereux: ALP Senator from Tasmania who became an independent.
The whole of the DLP: Self explanatory.
Frank Donovan: WA Labor MP for Morley who turned independent in 1991. Did not recontest.
Alex Douglas: Queensland Member for Gavan defected from the LNP to sit as an independent in late 2012 following a spat with Campbell Newman over parliamentary committee spots.
Sam Doumany: Liberal MLA in 1974-83 and Queensland attorney-general, then held executive positions in the non-parliamentary National Party before coming back to the Liberals in recent times to be treasurer of the Queensland branch.
Paddy Embry: WA One Nation MLC formed the New Country Party in 2003.
Bill Feldman: Parliamentary leader of One Nation in the Queensland Parliament who defected to the City Country Alliance in 1999.
Anthony Fels: One-term WA Legislative Councillor (2005-2009) forced to quit the Liberals after reading out a prepared speech by Noel Crichton-Browne, then had a go at starting an anti-daylight savings party. He then contested unsuccessfully in 2009 for Family First, and then in 2013 as an independent.
Paul Filing: Federal MP for Moore in 1990-98; lost Liberal preselection in 1995 but ran and won as an independent in 1996.
Vince Gair: Labor Premier of QLD from 1952 until 1957. A split within the party over granting three weeks’ leave to workers (actually a broader dispute with the Labor executive) led to Gair and eight of his nine ministers being expelled from Labor. Together with many Labor colleagues they formed the Queensland Labor Party, but most of their candidates were defeated at the election, at which the Country/Liberal coalition ended 25 years of Labor government. Gair later joined the DLP and became a senator for Queensland whose retirement was one of the contributing factors to the constitutional crisis of 1975.
Peter Garrett: Drifted from the Nuclear Disarmament Party to become a doomed Labor MP in Kingsford Smith.
Bruce Goodluck: Held the Federal seat of Franklin for the Liberals for many years, retired and then was elected to the Tasmanian parliament in Franklin as an independent.
Larry Graham: WA Pilbara MP parted ways with Labor in 2000 and won one more election as an Independent Labor member before retiring.
Dianne Hadden: Legislative councillor from Ballarat who quit the ALP in protest against the Bracks government’s treatment of regional Victoria.
Steele Hall: Was a state MP for the Liberal and Country League, forerunner of the Australian Democrats, who served as SA premier. Formed a breakaway party, the Liberal Movement, which then merged with the Liberal Party. Was a senator with the Liberal Movement and later in the Reps for the Liberals.
Kris Hanna: The former ALP member in SA defected to the Greens and then stood as an independent at the 2006 state election.
Pauline Hanson: Endorsed and subsequently disendorsed as a Liberal candidate for Oxley in 1996, elected as an Independent, lost in 1998, then formed One Nation. Continues to contest elections but highly unlikely to ever win anything.
Brian Harradine: Former Father of the Senate was an ACTU executive member and ALP social conservative before morphing into a long term independent.
Michael and Peter Hodgman: Both were first elected to Tasmania’s Legislative Council as independents before switching to the House of Assembly as endorsed Liberal Party candidates, Michael via a stint as a Lib in federal parliament.
William Holman:Labor Premier of NSW from 1913-1916, and upon switching to the Nationalist Party, continued as premier until 1920.
Ray Hopper: The Queensland Nationals MP for Darling Downs, nicknamed “Hopper the swapper” due to his shifting allegiances was first elected as an independent in 2001. Now leads the Katter’s Party in the QLD parliament.
Frank Hough: The WA One Nation MLC joined the New Country Party in 2003.
Billy Hughes: Expelled from the Labor Party in 1916 after he walked out of a caucus meeting with other rats over conscription, shortchanging the voters of West Sydney who had elected him as Labor member in 1901, 1903, 1906, 1910, 1913 and 1914. Stayed on the conservative side for the remainder of his 50 years in parliament, although he defected at least one further time as various conservative parties formed and collapsed. He was there at the birth of the Liberal Party in the 1940s.
Kent Johns: Liberals candidate for Werriwa is the current Liberal mayor of Sutherland Shire Council and former ALP Mayor of Rockdale City Council.
Carl Judge: Yeerongpilly MP left the LNP in 2013 to sit as an indy.
Bill Kaus: Liberal MLA in 1966-83; National Party MLA in 1983-86.
Bob Katter Jr: Has gone from Nationals to independent to Katter’s Australian Party in a long arc spanning decades.
Bob Katter Sr: Was a Labor Party member until 1957, when he joined the Queensland branch of the DLP. In the same year he left the DLP joined the Liberal Party. Ran for the state seat of Flinders in that year. Eventually joined the Country Party and became a Federal MP until his death in 1990.
Cheryl Kernot: Lured to Labor from the Democrats in 1997 by then-lover Gareth Evans.
William Kidston: Became Labor premier of Queensland in 1906, but left in May 1907 to form his own political party, which about half of the Labor members and many Liberals joined. In late 1908 he formed a new Liberal Party. He was at some stage premier under all three.
Joh Kingston: The One Nation class of ’98 Queensland MP became an independent in 1999.
John Knuth: Brother of current Nationals state MP another one of the class of ’98, he bailed on One Nation to become an independent in 1999.
Don Lane: Defected from Liberal to National after the 1986 Queensland election, allowing Sir Joh to form majority government.
Ronan Lee: ALP member for the Queensland state seat of Indooroopilly left to join the Greens before losing the seat. Ended up in Tasmania.
Meg Lees: Quit the Democrats to form the Progressive Alliance after being dumped as leader.
Joseph Lyons: Was Labor Premier of Tasmania from 1923-1928. Following the government’s narrow defeat, he went into federal politics in 1929 and became a minister in Scullin’s government. He along with four other MPs crossed the floor to vote against the government in 1931, and then together with the Nationalists helped form the United Australia Party, under which he became Prime Minister from 1932-1939.
Kevin Lyons: One of Joe’s 12 children was a Liberal member of the Tasmanian parliament in the 1960s. Resigned and sat out the rest of the term as an independent until the 1969 election when he ran for the newly formed (and short lived) Centre Party. Won a seat and held the balance of power as deputy premier.
Rod Mackenzie: Quit the ALP while president of the Victorian Legislative Council in 1987, after voting with the opposition to block upper house reform.
Julian McGauran: The former Liberal member rejoined the party in 2006 after 20 years with the Nationals. Ended up losing to the DLP.
Neil McInnes: The Victorian state MP for Gippsland South defected from the National Party to the Liberals following the 1979 election. The Nats won the seat back at the following election
Peter McLellan: The Victorian MP for Frankston East between 1992-99, McLellan left the Liberal Party after the 1996 election due to dissatisfaction with Jeff Kennett. He was contesting his seat as an independent when he died on the morning of the 1999 election, forcing a rerun some weeks later.
Aidon McLindon: Beaudesert MP was originally a Liberal, switched to the Nationals, came in via the LNP to win Beaudesert seat in 2009, then quit to form his own Queensland Party before controversially merging into the KAP.
Rob Messenger: Quit Campbell Newman’s LNP in 2010 to sit as an independent.
Robin Millhouse: Was the Liberal Country League Attorney General under Steele Hall’s South Australian Premiership, then left the LCL to form the Liberal Movement with Steele Hall. While Steele and most of the LM members returned to the Libs, Millhouse did not and was one of the driving forces of the Australian Democrats.
Bob Moore: Liberal MLA in 1969-83; National Party MLA in July-October 1983.
Shane Murphy: The Tasmanian pro-logging Labor senator later became an independent.
Beryce Nelson: Liberal MLA in 1980-83; National Party MLA in 1983-86.
Brendan Nelson: There have long been claims he had been a member of the ALP (he’s denied it). Nelson told The 7.30 Report in 2007 he has moved on from when he was a Labor Party member in the early 1990s. But in August 1994 he confessed an affinity with the Labor Right: “I would feel equally comfortable as a moderate Liberal as I would in the Labor Right.”
Sean Nelson: The Queensland MP (1998-2001) for Tablelands hit the road from One Nation in 1999 to become an independent. The then 26-year-old was suspended from Parliament in 1998 for pouring milk on the steps of parliament to protest dairy industry deregulation. Scored just 14% when standing as an independent for re-election.
Rob Oakeshott: National turned independent.
David Oldfield: Pauline’s right-hand man and One Nation NSW founder was an independent NSW MLC until 2007.
Edward Oldfield: WA Liberal became an Independent Liberal and finally embraced Labor during a hung parliament in 1960.
Jack Paff: Queensland MP who defected from One Nation to the City Country Alliance in 1999.
Phillip Pendal: South Perth MP parted ways with the Liberals shortly after his win in 1993, and went on to win two more elections as an independent before retirement.
Trevor Perrett: Won Barambah in 1988 for the Citizens Electoral Council when Joh resigned, then with very little publicity later joined the National Party and ended up as primary industries minister in Rob Borbidge’s government. Lost his seat in 1998 after a s-x scandal with a pr-stitute.
Janet Powell: The third leader of the Australian Democrats defected to the Greens in 2004.
Dolly Pratt: MP for Joh’s old seat of Nanango, the ex-deputy Queensland One Nation leader became an independent in 1999.
Peter Prenzler: Queensland MP who defected from One Nation to the City Country Alliance in 1999.
Harry Quick: Bruce Goodluck’s successor in Franklin resigned from the ALP and sat out his last three months or so as an independent.
Peter Richardson: Federal MP for Tangney (WA) in 1975-77; resigned from the Liberal Party and joined the Progress Party, whose Senate ticket he then headed (unsuccessfully of course) at the 1977 election.
Elsia Roberts: The ex-One Nation MP for Gympie jumped ship in 2002 to become an independent (and famously cried in Parliament over the death of her poodle, Popsicle).
Alan Rocher: Dumped by the WA Liberals but then ran as an independent and later appointed consul-general in LA by John Howard.
John (Jack) Scaddan: Nicknamed “Happy Jack” and a Labor premier of WA from 1911-1916, he resigned in March 1917 from the Labor Party and helped form the National Labor Party. In 1919 he joined the Country Party and even later he served with the Nationalists. He held a ministry in every party in which he was a member at some point.
Geoff Shaw: The Frankston Liberal MP has done a triple pike, joining Labor in the 1990s before saddling with the Liberals and then, earlier this year, quitting the party in disgrace to become an independent.
Simon Sheikh: He was a NSW Labor member for a disputed period of time before turning independent, running advocacy group GetUp! and then joining the Greens for a 2013 ACT Senate tilt.
John Siddons: Was deputy to Don Chipp then fell out with Janine Haines and left the Democrats to form the Unite Australia Party in 1987. Was sighted at the Democrats’ conference in 1997.
Peter Slipper: Slippery was one of the original Joh for Canberra fans but lost Fisher as a Nat in 1993, regaining it as a Lib in 1996. He then famously abandoned the LNP after being elected as a replacement speaker for Harry Jenkins with Labor support.
Bob Such: Was minister in the SA Liberal government in the . However after some sort of disagreement has held his seat as an independent ever since.
Dan Sullivan: Liberal deputy opposition leader quit the party to join Family First WA in 2007, which he contested under unsuccessfully in 2008.
Peter Wong: Independent NSW MLC elected in 1999 as part of the defunct Unity Party.
Andrew Wilkie: Once a member of the Liberal Party and Young Liberals who stood in two elections as an endorsed Green and now an independent crossbencher.
Tony Windsor: National turned independent.
Nick Xenophon: Member of the Adelaide University Liberal Club before realising the errors of his ways.
*Have we got it wrong? Who else should on the list? Let us know: [email protected]