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Byron Shire
April 12, 2024

Former pollies and staffers mine a rich vein for new jobs

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Jeremy Buckingham at the Bentley Blockade.
Jeremy Buckingham at the Bentley Blockade.

Jeremy Buckingham, NSW Greens MP and mining spokesperson.

There is a revolving door between mining and government.

The following is a list of some of the people who work or worked as lobbyists for the mining industry who used to be or became politicians, including ministers, advisors for Liberal, Labor and National Party politicians or senior government bureaucrats. It is by no means complete but gives a sense of the extent of the revolving door between miners and the government. If you know of more, please let me know.

Ministers who became involved in mining after politics

Mark Vaile
former deputy prime minister and leader of Nationals under the Howard Government
on the board of Aston Resources – now merged with Whitehaven Coal.

John Anderson
former deputy prime minister and leader of the Nationals under the Howard Government
served as Chair of coal seam gas company Eastern Star Gas (acquired by Santos)

Martin Ferguson
Minister for Energy & Resources under Rudd/Gilllard
now chair of APPEA advisory board

Craig Emerson
Minister for Trade and Competitiveness under Rudd/Gillard
Now an economic consultant.whose clients include AGL and Santos

Greg Combet
Minister for Energy and Climate Change under Rudd/Gillard
Now an economic consultant.whose clients include AGL and Santos

NSW Mineral Council staff

Stephen Galilee – CEO
Chief of staff of the then Treasurer, now NSW Premier, Mike Baird

Scott Kennan – Director Communications
Media Advisor to Transport Minister Michael Costa 2003 – 2004

Emma Browning – Director Government Relations
Media & Policy Advisor “NSW Shadow Minister” -1997-1999

Brad Emery – Director Media and Public Affairs
Press Secretary Federal Assistant Treasurer, Peter Dutton MP 2004-2007
Advisor “Australian Government” – 2000-2004
Media Advisor Kerry Bartlett MP – 1998 – 1999

Sue-Ern Tan – Deputy CEO NSW Minerals Council 2008-2012
Senior Policy Adviser- Ian McDonald, Energy and Mining Office of the NSW Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Mineral Resources, Minister for Energy, 2006 – 2008

Ksenya Belooussova – Media Advisor at Department of Premier and Cabinet
Digital Communications Manager – NSW Minerals Council (2012 -2014)

Lindsay Hermes – Advisor – Ian Macfarlane, Minister for Industry at Department of Industry
Media and Communications Manager NSW Minerals Council 2010-2013
Media Advisor – 2013 Federal Election Liberal Party
Advisor to Deputy Leader of the Opposition ACT Government 2006 -2008

Minerals Council of Australia staff

Brendan Pearson – CEO
Assistant Secretary Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 2002-2004

John Kunkel – Deputy CEO
Senior Adviser, Cabinet Policy Unit Office of John Howard 2004-2007
Advisor to Mark Vaile, 1999-2001
Trade Advisor to Tim Fischer, 1998-1999

James Sorahan – Director – Taxation
Policy Advisor, Martin Fergusen 2010-2013
Policy Advisor, Chris Bowen 2007-2010
Policy Analyst, Australian Treasury 2005-2007

Chris Natt – Training and Education Coordinator
Worked for NT Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Fisheries, Minister for Mines and Energy 2005-2009

Chris McCombe – Assistant Director-Environmental Policy
Manager, Major Projects (Abandoned Mines Land Program) Queensland Mines and Energy 2008-2010

Third-party mining lobbyists

Liam Bathgate – Director at Australian Public Affairs
Lobbied for Shenua Watermark, Aston Resources (Maules Creek Coal Project) and Tenix Group
Chief of Staff to Barry O’Farrell 2007-2008
General Secretary of NSW National Party 1992 – 1997
Principal Private Secretary to Ian Sinclair MP (Leader of National Party) 1984 – 1987
Press Secretary to Doug Anthony MP (Deputy PM and Leader of Nationals) 1979 – 1984

Brian Tyson – Managing Partner at Newgate Communications
Lobbied for Coalpac Pty Ltd
Press Secretary Former NSW Premier Nick Greiner and Planning and Energy Minister Robert Webster 1987 – 1995

Larry Anthony – Founding Director at SAS Group
Lobbied for Shenua
Senior Vice President Federal Nationals 2006 – 2012

Mathew Watson – Managing Director at Repute Communications
Lobbied for Bickham Coal and Port Waratah Coal Services
Senior Communications Manager (Cabinet / Ministerial) in NSW Government 2002 – 2004

Michael van Maanen – Partner Newgate Communications 2013 – Present
Lobbied for Coalpac Pty Ltd
Adviser to the Federal Minister for Workforce Participation 2006 –2007
Adviser to the Federal Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 2004 – 2006
Policy Adviser in Departments of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Foreign Affairs and Trade, Defence) 2000 – 2004

Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) staff

Martin Ferguson- Chair of APPEA advisory board
Minister for Energy & Resources under Rudd/Gilllard

Chris Ward – Media Manager, Eastern Australia
Principal Media Adviser to Queensland Minister for Transport 2010 – 2011
Press Secretary to Federal Minister for Consumer Affairs and Small Business 2008–10
Senior Media Adviser to the Queensland Treasurer 2007-08
Senior Media Adviser to NSW Attorney and Minister for the Environment 2003–07

Ryan Bondar – Policy and Government Relations
Senior Policy Advisor NSW Leader of Opposition Barry O’Farrell 2008-2010
Research officer Joe Hockey 2003-2004

Michael Bradley – Director External Affairs
Ministerial advisor to Martin Ferguson Federal Resources and Energy Minister 2008-2010

Alexandra Gibson – Policy Director, NSW/VIC
Advisor to Christopher Pyne 2006-2007

Damien Hills – National Associate Director, Environment & Safety
Senior Policy Adviser Office of the Minister for Environment and Heritage (WA) March 2001 – February 2002

Kieran Murphy – Manager Media & Communications – Western Region
Communications Director Office of the Premier 2005 – 2008 (WA)

Stedman Ellis – COO,Western
Deputy DG, WA Department of Mines and Petroleum 2007-2010

Adam Welch – Senior Policy Adviser, Western
Senior Policy Officer/Policy Officer at Office of Energy – Government of Western Australia
Executive Office at Office of Energy – Government of Western Australia

Paul Fennelly – Chief Operating Officer, Eastern Australia
Director-General (CEO) of Department of State Development, Trade & Innovation-General at Queensland Government


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  1. This demonstrates how the government of the “people” has become infected by the cancer of greed and vested interest. Little wonder we get sroney faced stares when we ask our pollies to stop the proposal to mine Ilmenite in Bundjalung National Park. Throw this current NSW lot out of office next month and demand from your local candidate a commitment to govern in your best interests not the mining magnates.

  2. Jeremy, I do hope you’re not trying to imply, Australian politicians are low life scum, who’d sell their grandmother for threepence ? …..oh no wait that is in the job description, please do go on.

  3. I think it fair to say that the workings of government and the bureaucracy are foreign to the vast majority of Australians, let alone those engineers, geologists and accountants who form the bulk of those engaged in resources development. The Greens can hardly claim moral superiority after accepting the the largest single donation in Australian political history ($1.68m from Wotif founder Graeme Wood) in 2010.

  4. I don’t understand Gary !
    I don’t think accepting donations is the problem, it’s the bias and return to the donor that is the problem. It seems to me that the Greens and Mr Woods are in accordance, so the question of bias is non existent. The financial arrangements of Mr Wood seems to preclude any need for the Greens to return the favour.
    As far as the engineers, geologists and accountants …and scientists and general flunkies go, as long as they are drawing salaries in excess of some small countries GNP, the workings of government and the bureaucracy are merely something to be overcome or ignored.

  5. Yes, all these retired pollies with their snouts in the trough.

    As for the Greens, they are the only reasonably sized Party (% vote) that are fighting CSG and new coal mining and that is vital if Australia and our Planet is to have a decent future.

  6. Global warming will be affected by fires in Queensland and New South Ales,but the a Greenies refuse to allo back burning to lessen fires in aSumme,like we are having now.
    What do they really understand collectively about aaGlobal a Warming from research?


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