Did anyone notice former federal Labor MP Christian Zahra hitting the airwaves this week defending the special funding deals the Catholic education sector has received in recent years?
Zahra is one of many former MPs who has thrown himself into the political fray as he ekes out a living as the National Catholic Education Commission executive director after serving in the federal Parliament.
Encouraged by The Australian and his former Labor colleagues, the Catholics are going hard against Gonski 2.0, declaring they have lost confidence in Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
It is Zahra who is front and centre this week (more on that in Josh Taylor’s story in Crikey today), but here are few more former MPs who have taken on interesting jobs of late:
Bernie Ripoll — (Qld Labor, Oxley). The father of the future of financial advice (FOFA) reforms has remained in the financial advice space as a director of Map My Plan, a fintech play that gives advice without selling products. He is also mentioned in this press report as assisting the insurance sector head off regulatory intervention after the CommInsure scandals.
Bruce Billson — (Vic Liberal, Dunkley). The former small business minister is now executive chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia, which includes the likes of 7-Eleven, Caltex and Domino’s. In April, the council was reported as trying to head off government attempts to regulate and prevent the exploitation of overseas workers.
Simon Crean — (Vic Labor, Hotham). The former Labor leader and minister across a range of portfolios in the Hawke, Rudd and Gillard governments has taken on the chair of the Australian Livestock Exporters Council, the live animal exports industry body. This is not one for the faint-hearted. Showing a propensity for difficult situations, Crean was also co-opted as an adviser to the Andrews state Labor government on the CFA dispute in Victoria.
Martin Ferguson — (Vic Labor, Batman). The former resources minister hasn’t made it any easier for his successor David Feeney in the Green-friendly Melbourne seat of Batman, by taking up the cudgels for the fossil fuel industry. Ferguson joined the board of Kerry Stokes’ Seven Group Holdings and also serves on the BG Group board, along with chairing the advisory board of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA), the oil and gas industry that includes Shell, Exxon, Mobil, Woodside, BHP, and is the industry lobby on the very political issues surrounding coal-seam gas and fracking. Making sure he uses all his ministerial experience, the former tourism minister is also chair of a group called Tourism Accommodation Australia.
Mark Latham — (NSW Labor, Werriwa). You hardly need Crikey to outline his multi-hatted media career, which, after more indiscretions than you could count, is now reduced to a column in The Daily Telegraph, his internet streaming and interviews with Alan Jones on 2GB and Andrew Bolt on Sky News. Has also churned out plenty of books over the years, plus columns for The Spectator and the AFR.
Kevin Rudd — (QLD Labor, Griffith). The former prime minister had his run at the UN secretary-general job torpedoed by Malcolm Turnbull last year, a decision that doesn’t seem to have caused any lingering community consternation. He has been busy internationally since the 2013 defeat, including roles at the Harvard Kennedy School, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and Chatham House in London. Rudd was also appointed chair of the Independent Commission on Multilateralism at the International Peace Institute in Vienna and became the first president of the Asia Society Policy Institute in New York City. In 2015, he was appointed chair of something called Sanitation and Water For All, and he also actively contributed to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on China. Rudd is also a member of the Berggruen Institute‘s 21st Century Council and has been awarded an honorary professorship at Peking University, plus he is a member of the Global Leadership Foundation, an organisation that works to support democratic leadership, resolve conflict and promote good governance. All of which would be great prep work to be UN secretary-general, if only his host country would nominate him.