Natalie Hutchins

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The Honourable
Natalie Hutchins
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
for Sydenham
Assumed office
29 November 2014
Preceded by New seat
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly
for Keilor
In office
27 November 2010 – 29 November 2014
Preceded by George Seitz
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Personal details
Born (1972-03-09) 9 March 1972 (age 42)
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Steve Hutchins

Natalie Maree Hutchins (née Sykes, born 9 March 1972[1]), also known as Natalie Sykes-Hutchins,[2] is an Australian politician. She has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 2010, representing the electorates of Keilor (2010–2014) and Sydenham (2014–present).[2] She has been Minister for Local Government, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister for Industrial Relations in the Andrews Ministry since December 2014.

A former union organiser, Hutchins was first woman to be elected Assistant Secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council (VTHC). She was a Senior Advisor to the former Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, Chief of Staff to the former Victorian Minister of Education, Mary Delahunty, and was a founding partner in the research and strategy company Global Workplace Solutions. Hutchins, a member of Labor's Unity faction,[3] is a member of the Australian Labor Party National Executive.

Married to Steve Hutchins, Senator for New South Wales, she has one child and five step-children.

Early life and background[edit]

Educated at public schools in the north-western suburbs of Melbourne including St Albans North Primary School and Buckley Park High School. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at La Trobe University, an institution that has been the starting point of many Victorian political figures from both sides of the political spectrum including current Victorian Minister, Jacinta Allan and Shadow Minister, Martin Dixon; Federal MPs Michael Danby (ALP) and Sharman Stone (Liberal); former ACTU Secretary and union icon Bill Kelty and current Federal Director of the Liberal Party, Brian Loughnane.[4] During her years at university she was the president of the Latrobe University Labor Club and the Victorian President of the National Union of Students. While in high school and studying for her degree she worked variously as a waitress, a dance teacher and a printer's assistant.

Unionism is part of her family with three generations working on the waterfront. Her great-great grandfather, Hughie Sykes, was one of the first members of the Waterside Workers Federation of Australia.[5] The first committee of which boasted two future Australian Prime Ministers – Andrew Fisher and Billy Hughes.


Following her graduation, Hutchins became an organiser and industrial officer at the National Union of Workers. In 1996 she was the first woman to be elected as the assistant secretary of the Victorian Trades Hall Council, in the organisation's 137-year history.[6] During her time at the VTHC, Hutchins was one of the police negotiators for the union movement during the 1998 waterfront dispute, coordinated the WorkCover campaign and was instrumental in obtaining legislative changes to stop trainee and apprentice bullying in the workplace. In 1999, shortly after the 1999 election of the Bracks Labor Government, Hutchins resigned her position at the VTHC citing "leadership tensions".[7]

In 2001, Hutchins was employed as a senior organiser with the Transport Workers Union of Australia (TWU) where she negotiated national wages agreements in the airlines, car carrying and road transport industries. A key event during her time with the TWU was the collapse and closure of airline Ansett Australia.

Hutchins started a business partnership in 2007, called Globe Workplace, which focused on workplace research and strategy across Australia. Globe Workplace staff have completed major research projects for both state and federal governments into workforce skills shortages in the transport, logistics manufacturing industries.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Hutchins was a senior advisor to the former Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks and Chief of Staff and to the former Minister of Education, Mary Delahunty. Long considered[citation needed] by Labor as a future Member of Parliament, Hutchins' name was proposed in June 2000 for preselection for the Victorian Federal Seat of Isaacs following the death of the sitting member Greg Wilton.[8] In 2006, her name was briefly mentioned as a preselection candidate for the NSW state seat of Blue Mountains following the move of Bob Debus to the Federal Parliament.[9]

In 2009, following the retirement of George Seitz, who had held the seat for Labor since 1982, Hutchins was endorsed by Labor's National Executive as the candidate for Keilor in the 2010 Victorian state election.[10] Hutchins was subsequently elected and was appointed as Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Public Transport in a February 2012 reshuffle. On 19 February 2013, she was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Ports, Freight & Logistics.[11]


  1. ^ "Ms Natalie Hutchins". Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Paula, Maud (23 June 2009). "Labor names candidate to replace Seitz in Keilor". Brimbank Leader. Retrieved 14 December 2010. 
  3. ^ Ferguson, John (19 February 2013). "Labor leader left hanging". The Australian. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ McKay, Sandra "Woman in top union role" The Age, Melbourne, 6 December 1996
  7. ^ Dargan, Felicity "Union leader quits amid infighting" Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne, 21 November 1999
  8. ^ Grattan, Michelle, "But will the best woman win" Sydney Morning Herald, 30 June 2000
  9. ^ Davies, Anne and Phillip Coorey, "Debus quits Macquarie Street for Canberra" Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 2006
  10. ^ Austin,Paul, "Captain Brumby on top after an almost seamless trade season", The Age, Melbourne, 23 July 2009
  11. ^
Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
George Seitz
Member for Keilor
New seat Member for Sydenham
Political offices
Preceded by
Tim Bull
Minister for Local Government
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
Preceded by
Robert Clark
Minister for Industrial Relations