The Rising Political Stars You Should be Keeping an Eye On: Part I
Pollie-watching is a niche hobby some have managed to develop into a lucrative career as a ‘political commentator’. For most voters, however, watching the career of individual politicians is as relevant as tracking the impact of solar flares on Mars.
For those of us in the advocacy game, knowing which political careers are on the rise is critical to investing in relationships that can benefit our campaigning now and in the future.
This is the first of a two part series on rising stars in the NSW Parliament, starting with the Coalition government.
1. James Griffin – Liberal, Member for Manly
Of all the MPs listed here, the new Member for Manly, James Griffin, has youth and ambition firmly on his side. With a good mix of corporate and political experience, Griffin is definitely one to watch, especially if the Berejiklian Government is re-elected in 2019.
From the Liberal Party’s moderate faction and former Deputy Mayor of Manly, Griffin grew up in the area where he now lives with his wife. A former Director at KPMG, insiders describe Griffin as having a strong understanding of government policy.
Griffin has been a loyal Liberal Party foot-soldier for many years, working on a number of election campaigns including for his predecessor Mike Baird. However, it’s his background in the corporate world that will make him standout from the pack in terms of a future Ministerial role, as it did for another young Liberal, now serving as the NSW Treasurer.
2. Melinda Pavey – The Nationals, Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight, Member for Oxley
Perhaps a surprise inclusion in a list of political careers to watch, simply because many consider Melinda Pavey a veteran of NSW politics. A Member of the Legislative Council for over a decade, Pavey only recently entered the Lower House of the NSW Parliament at the 2015 election. Yet it’s here she’s truly making her mark.
When Mike Baird handed over the ‘good ship NSW’ to Gladys Berejiklian, Melinda Pavey was promoted directly from the backbench to Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight.
This may have initially been seen as a reward for backing John Barilaro as Deputy Premier, however Pavey has risen to the challenge of implementing major road infrastructure projects in Sydney and across NSW as well as overseeing our critical port infrastructure
Her media and parliamentary performances as Minister have been impressive, showing a solid grasp of her portfolio and a willingness to ‘take it up to the opposition’ whenever the need arises. Despite her years in Macquarie Street, Pavey’s time is now.
3.Dominic Perrottet – Liberal, Treasurer, Member for Hawkesbury
Some may wonder at Dominic Perrottet’s inclusion in a list of up-and-comers, considering his already meteoric rise to the position of NSW Treasurer. Yet it’s the very nature of his rise and background that makes the young Treasurer one to watch for the future.
At just 34, Perrottet’s political ascension almost ended before it began. Prior to the 2015 election an AEC redistribution saw Perrottet barely scrape across the line in his local pre-selection. At the subsequent general election he was voted in as the Member for Hawkesbury and month later he found himself elevated to Minister for Finance.
Following Mike Baird’s departure and the Right faction’s deal with the Moderates, Perrottet become the Treasurer of NSW under Premier Berejiklian.
He is very well respected within the Government, bringing a down-to-earth economic conservatism to the portfolio. The question is where to from here? Inevitably voters change Governments and many political veterans who don’t fancy a stint in opposition retire.
That’s not likely to be the case for Perrottett. Regardless of the result at the next election, the young Treasurer’s story will continue and there’s always the possibility of a federal tap on the shoulder.
Tune in next week for Part 2 on rising Labor stars to watch.