Greg Combet

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The Honourable
Greg Combet
AM
Greg Combet profile.jpg
Minister for Energy and Climate Change
In office
14 September 2010 – 26 June 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Penny Wong
Succeeded by Mark Butler
Minister for Industry and Innovation
In office
14 December 2011 – 26 June 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Kim Carr
Succeeded by Kim Carr
Minister for Defence Materiel and Science
In office
9 June 2009 – 14 September 2010
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Warren Snowdon
Succeeded by Jason Clare
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Charlton
In office
24 November 2007 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Kelly Hoare
Succeeded by Pat Conroy
Personal details
Born Gregory Ivan Combet
(1958-04-28) 28 April 1958 (age 56)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Children 1 daughter, 1 stepdaughter, 1 stepson
Alma mater University of New South Wales
University of Sydney
Profession Trade Unionist
Politician
Religion None (Atheism)[1]
Website http://www.gregcombet.com.au/

Gregory Ivan "Greg" Combet AM MP (/ˈkɒmb/; born 28 April 1958) is a former Australian politician and trade unionist. He was Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions between 2000 and 2007. He was elected member for the New South Wales seat of Charlton for the Australian Labor Party at the 2007 election and was immediately appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement in the First Rudd Ministry on 3 December 2007. Combet was the Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation in the Second Gillard Ministry[2] before announcing his resignation from the ministry on 26 June 2013[3][4] following Gillard's defeat in a leadership ballot. He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, when Penny Wong was the Minister.

On 29 June he announced he would be retiring from politics at the 2013 election.[5]

Early life[edit]

Greg Combet was born in Sydney and attended Eastern Creek Primary school, then Rooty Hill High School from years 7 to 10.[6] He completed his secondary education at Baulkham Hills High School.[6] He was later educated at the University of New South Wales where he studied mining engineering,[7] and then graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics, and a Graduate Diploma in Labour Relations and the Law. He was a project officer for the New South Wales Tenants' Union, before working for the Lidcombe Workers' Health Centre. In 1987, he was employed by the Waterside Workers' Federation, now part of the Maritime Union of Australia.

Union activity[edit]

Combet's association with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) began in 1993 when he became a Senior Industrial Officer. In 1996 he was elected Assistant Secretary and in 2000, following the retirement of Bill Kelty, he became Secretary. Over his time at the ACTU, Combet has co-ordinated many union campaigns, including the 'Cavalcade to Canberra' of 19 August 1996, an anti-Howard Government protest which ended with breakaway protesters attacking Parliament.[8] He rose to further prominence during the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute. Combet also participated in campaigns to secure entitlements and compensation for the staff of the collapsed airline Ansett Australia and asbestos victims of the James Hardie company. In his capacity as Secretary of the ACTU, Combet led the campaign against the Howard Government's WorkChoices industrial relations law changes.

Parliament[edit]

Combet speaking in November 2005, shortly after the Government introduced its WorkChoices legislation.

On 25 March 2007, The Sunday Age reported that senior Labor Party figures had announced that Combet would run for election representing the ALP in the safe seat of Charlton in New South Wales.[9] However, later that day Combet told The Age newspaper that he was not planning an entry into federal politics at the 2007 election, preferring instead to continue leading the ACTU's campaign against the industrial relations law changes.[10] On 4 May 2007, Combet confirmed his intention to run for Charlton.[11] The sitting member for Charlton, Kelly Hoare, expressed anger at losing preselection for her seat,[12] and for a time considered running as an independent.

Combet stood down as ACTU Secretary to campaign full-time in Charlton in the lead up to the federal election. On 14 June 2007 Jeff Lawrence, National Secretary of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) was elected unopposed as the next Secretary of the ACTU.[13]

Combet speaking at the Your Rights at Work rally in Melbourne, 15 November 2005.
Combet explaining the effects of the proposed carbon tax in 2011 during a public forum at Petersham town hall.

Combet was elected as the new member for Charlton on 24 November 2007 as part of the ALP's victory in the 2007 Australian federal election, achieving a two party preferred swing of 4.47 percent, winning 62.87 percent of the two party vote.[14] Following the election, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed Combet as Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement in the First Rudd Ministry. He was sworn in on 3 December 2007.[15] In February 2009, Combet was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, with a focus on emissions trading, to assist Climate Change Minister Senator Penny Wong.

As a result of the resignation of Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and the subsequent ministerial reshuffle, Combet was promoted to the outer ministry on 6 June 2009, as Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science and Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change. Combet's portfolio was amended in April 2010 to Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science[16] and to help him focus on the Government's energy efficiency programs, he axed part of this scheme – Home Insulation Program (HIP) in late April due to the safety risks and the blow out in funding.[17][18]

Combet was re-elected to Charlton at the 2010 federal election, suffering a post-redistribution two party swing of 0.24 percent, winning 62.67 percent of the two party vote.[19] After Labor was returned to government in this election, Combet entered Cabinet, succeeding Wong as Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Following the passage of the government's Clean Energy Bill, the portfolio of Industry and Innovation was added to Combet's responsibilities. Combet announced his resignation from his ministerial responsibilities following Prime Minister Gillard's defeat in a leadership spill on 26 June 2013.[3][4] The seat of Charlton was subsequently won for the ALP by Combet's former advisor and chief-of-staff Pat Conroy.[20]

Personal[edit]

Combet is a director of the Chifley Research Centre.

On 12 June 2006, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to industrial relations and through advocacy for the improved health and safety of workers, including people affected by asbestos-related diseases, and to the community.[21]

Combet is separated from his second wife, Petra Hilsen, and has one daughter, one stepdaughter and one stepson. In 2012, Combet began a relationship with ABC-TV newsreader Juanita Phillips.[22]

Combet has stated that he is an atheist.[1]

In 2014, Combet published his autobiography "The Fights of My Life".[23] Since leaving politics, he is pursuing a career in the superannuation industry and the private sector.

In the 2007 ABC-TV series Bastard Boys, dramatising the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute, in which Combet was heavily involved, the role of Combet was played by Daniel Frederiksen.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Gordon, Josh; Fyfe, Melissa (14 March 2010). "Pollies in the no-God squad". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  2. ^ "Gillard announces her team". Brisbane Times. AAP. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Griffith, Emma (26 June 2013). "Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard 57-45 in Labor leadership ballot, paving way for a return to PM". ABC News (Australia). Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Peatling, Stephanie (26 June 2013). "Politics live: June 26, 2013". The Age. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  5. ^ Federal Labor frontbencher Greg Combet to retire from politics, ABC News, 29 June 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013
  6. ^ a b Stavrou, Nikolaos (2010-07-21). "Shining Star - Tireless Pursuit of Justice". Mt Druitt St Marys Standard. Retrieved 2011-12-14. 
  7. ^ Greg Combet's MP website, 27 June 2010.
  8. ^ The Parliament House riot of 1996; by Luke Deer, published by Australian National University
  9. ^ Koutsoukis, Jason (25 March 2007). "Rudd drafts another star recruit to his team". The Age. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  10. ^ Millar, Royce; Nicholson, Brendan (26 March 2007). "Combet rejects rumours of standing for safe seat". The Age. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  11. ^ Combet confirms he'll stand for ALP, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 4 May 2007.
  12. ^ Combet painted as Charlton outsider, The 7:30 Report, 31 May 2007
  13. ^ Shaw, Meaghan (13 June 2007). "Little-known Lawrence confirmed as ACTU head". The Age. Retrieved 25 November 2007. 
  14. ^ "NSW Division – Charlton". Australian Electoral Commission. 13 December 2007. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  15. ^ "Rudd Ministry" (PDF). Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 14 April 2008. Retrieved 27 January 2008. 
  16. ^ Parliament of Australia, House of Representatives 2 July 2010.
  17. ^ "Combet moved out of Defence portfolio". ABC News (Australia). 1 April 2010. 
  18. ^ Rodgers, Emma (22 April 2010). "Combet defends insulation backflip". ABC News (Australia). 
  19. ^ Charlton 2010 election results: AEC
  20. ^ Kelly, Matthew (8 September 2013). "CHARLTON: Conroy to stick to local issues". Newcastle Herald. Retrieved 14 September 2013. 
  21. ^ "COMBET, Gregory Ivan: Member of the Order of Australia". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 12 June 2006. Retrieved 26 June 2013. 
  22. ^ Le Marquand, Sarrah (29 September 2012). "ABC news presenter Juanita Phillips and climate change minister Greg Combet are Australia's newest power couple". The Daily Telegraph. 
  23. ^ Combet, Greg (2014). The Fights of My Life. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 9780522866179.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Kelly Hoare
Member of Parliament for Charlton
2007–2013
Succeeded by
Pat Conroy
Political offices
Preceded by
Warren Snowdon
Minister for Defence Materiel and Science
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Jason Clare
Preceded by
Penny Wong
Minister for Energy and Climate Change
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Mark Butler
Preceded by
Kim Carr
Minister for Industry and Innovation
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Kim Carr
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Bill Kelty
Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
2000–2007
Succeeded by
Jeff Lawrence