Like the naval admiralty, the role of the President of our major political parties is to guide and monitor the direction of the organisation, overseeing party procedures as well as the operations of the executive arm as well as using their extensive networks to raise much needed funds.

It’s important to note that Presidents have no official role in the parliamentary arm of the respective parties, however, to believe that their influence does not reach to the floor of the House of Representatives is an exercise in naivety.

So who are these somewhat secretive party presidents?

Liberal Party of Australia – Nick Greiner AC (pictured right)

Given the recent constitutional brouhaha regarding the dual citizenship of our politicians, it’s somewhat ironic that the President of the Liberal Party of Australia was born in Hungry.

Nick Greiner was a small boy when his family immigrated to Australia in the early 1950s.  He went to school on Sydney’s North Shore and graduated from the University of Sydney with Honours in Economics. 

Greiner was elected as the State Member for Ku-ring-gai at a by-election in 1980 and in 1983 successfully challenged for the position of Leader of the Opposition.  At the 1984 election, Greiner successfully slashed Labor’s margin from 41 to 21 seats and in 1988 defeated Labor’s Barry Unsworth to become the Premier of NSW.

The referral of the ‘Metherell affair’ to ICAC resulted in an imminent threat of a no-confidence motion against Greiner and in 1992 he resigned as Premier.

Since leaving office, Greiner has been heavily involved in corporate life as a company director.  He is Chairman of QBE Asia Pacific, a Director of SGSP and CHAMP Private Equity. 

Of all the disappointments experienced by this political elder, his most recent would be the failure of his beloved Souths Sydney Rabbitohs – the club of which Greiner is a Life Member - to make the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

Australian Labor Party – Wayne Swan (pictured left)

A slight air of controversy has always surrounded Wayne Swan and his election to the role of National President of the Australian Labor Party in June 2018 was no different. 

Swan ran a concerted political campaign to oust the incumbent, Mark Butler, including a Facebook page ‘Wayne Swan for ALP National President’ which boasted over 1,200 followers.

Swan was born, raised and educated in Nambour QLD, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Queensland.

Swan worked as a federal parliamentary staffer for Bill Hayden, Mick Young and Kim Beazley before taking on the role as State Secretary of the QLD Labor Party.

In 1993 Swan was elected as the Member for Lilley, however he was defeated by Elizabeth Grace as part of the Howard Government landslide in 1996.  Controversy again surrounded Swan with allegations of secret donations to the Australian Democrats referred to the Australian Federal Police.  The matter was later dropped.

Swan returned to work as a political staffer but maintained his local public profile.  Swan successfully toppled Grace to again become the Member for Lilley in 1998.

He was appointed Federal Treasurer following the election of the Rudd Government in 2007 and remained as Julia Gillard’s Deputy Prime Minister following her successful challenge in June of 2010.  In 2011, Swan was named Euromoney magazine’s Finance Minister of the Year.

Following Rudd’s successful challenge of Gillard in 2013 Swan resigned from both his roles and retired from parliamentary life at the 2013 election.

Following a successful battle with cancer, Swan has become the face of the prostate cancer public awareness campaign.