Albo’s Key Staffers: Veteran Advisers Re-enter the Fray
Labor’s Hewson-esque election defeat in May has led to frank and fearless discussion within the ranks of the Opposition.
As the dust cleared, it was Labor icon Anthony ‘Albo’ Albanese who emerged as the new Parliamentary Leader. Albo is a seasoned political fighter who will not hesitate in taking the tussle to the Coalition. To this end, he has wasted no time in arming his office with a number of veteran political warriors.
Tim Gartrell – Chief of Staff
Tim Gartrell started his career as a researcher in the national union movement before working as a ministerial staffer during the Keating Government, and for then-Shadow Minister Albanese under the Beazley Opposition.
In 1998, Gartrell joined the ALP National Secretariat and in 2004, on the eve of the federal election, commenced his role as National Secretary. Following Labor’s defeat under Mark Latham, Gartrell spearheaded a series of reforms within the Party and is credited with masterminding new campaign techniques that saw the award-winning Kevin ’07 movement install Kevin Rudd as the 26th Prime Minister.
Gartrell resigned from the ALP head office in 2008, taking up work with a polling company before becoming CEO of an indigenous employment advocacy charity. Added to his war-chest of campaign experience is Gartrell’s work with Reconciliation Australia, and most recently as head of the ‘Yes’ campaign during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.
Not only does Gartrell understand the inner workings of the Labor machine, he knows when it’s out of alignment and how to fix it. His appointment as Chief of Staff to the Leader of the Opposition represents a challenge for Coalition strategists who will be watching Albo’s unfolding strategy very closely.
Sabina Husic – Deputy Chief of Staff
Sabina Husic is another new face in the Opposition Leader’s office. Sabina is the sister of Federal Labor MP Ed Husic, who was recently in the news for ‘standing aside’ from the Shadow Ministry for Senator Kristina Keneally.
Sabina Husic is definitely part of the ‘new wave’ of political campaigners, having worked as Digital Communications Manager for Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews. Her command of digital communications and social media will fit well with Gartrell’s penchant for campaign innovation.
Premier Andrews wasn’t the first high-profile Labor MP that Husic has worked for, previously working under former NSW Premiers Kristina Keneally and Nathan Rees. In 2017 she was recruited by Premier State, before again working for Keneally during her unsuccessful bid for the seat of Bennelong in late 2017.
Husic returns to the parliamentary Labor Party at a time when reconnecting with voters in traditional Labor electorates represents the Party’s number one challenge.
Albanese will be hoping these two gun political operatives – joining the experienced players already in his office, including Jeff Singleton and Matthew Franklin – will help him take the fight to a reinvigorated Coalition.