Gabrielle Harrison

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The Honorable
Gabrielle Harrison
BA
Member of the
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
for Parramatta
In office
27 August 1994 – 20 March 2003
Preceded by Andrew Ziolkowski
Succeeded by Tanya Gadiel
Minister for Sport and Recreation
In office
4 April 1995 – 8 April 1999
Personal details
Born Gabrielle Mary Harrison
25 March 1964
New South Wales
Nationality  Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Andrew Ziolkowski (deceased), Ron Bonham
Children 1 son
Alma mater Macquarie University
Occupation Clerk
Website NSW Legislative Assembly webpage[dead link]

Gabrielle Mary Harrison (born 25 March 1964) was an Australian politician. She served as an Australian Labor Party Member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1994 until 2003, representing the electorate of Parramatta. Harrison succeeded her first husband, Andrew Ziolkowski, who died in office.[1]

Private life[edit]

Harrison is the daughter of Edwin Harrison and Faye Ware. Harrison's brother, Steve, was a union official and joint secretary of the Australian Workers' Union. Harrison has a sister, Jennifer.[2] The death of her first husband came at a very difficult time for her and her brother, who also suffered the loss of their grandparents in the same week.[3]

Early years[edit]

Harrison studied law at Macquarie University, in Sydney. At university she became heavily involved in student politics, and was chairman of the university Students' Union. It was at university that she met her future husband Ziolkowski, who was on the Students' Council and editor of the university newspaper, Arena. She joined the Australian Labor Party in 1984, and was active in Young Labor. After university, she became secretary of the Parramatta branch of the ALP. She married Ziolkowski on 30 November 1985.

New South Wales state politics[edit]

In July 1993, Ziolkowski advised Leader of the Opposition, Bob Carr, that he had been diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer of the oesophagus.[3]

When her husband died in 1994, Harrison was endorsed by the Labor Party as candidate for a by-election for the seat of Parramatta.[4] She was criticised by her opponent, Liberal candidate, Wendy Jones, for running for office instead of staying at home and looking after her son Tristan, then aged 7.[5][6] Harrison won the 1994 Parramatta by-election without being forced to preferences, earning a swing of nine percent towards her party.[7] Harrison was re-elected at the 1995 and 1999 State elections. With strong interests in netball, running and fishing, Harrison was appointed Minister for Sport and Recreation in 1995. She lost her portfolio following the 1999 State election.

During 2002, Harrison (along with NSW Speaker John Murray) was sued before the Australian Industrial Relations Commission for A$800,000 by former staffer Anne Stonham, who claimed that her contract was "unfair" and she had been overworked.[8] The court subsequently found in favour of Harrison. Another staffer, John Cairn, accused Harrison of keeping photographs of her enemies in a locket around her neck.[9]

In the lead-up to the 2003 State Election, it was reported that,

Right-wing party bosses want to replace former sports minister Gabrielle Harrison in Parramatta with Tanya Gadiel, a member of the staff of Police Minister Michael Costa. ..... Mrs Gadiel [does not] have the support to win local rank-and-file preselection ballots.[10]

Harrison conceded that she had lost support among her branch members[11][12] and subsequently announced on 20 December 2002 that she would not be seeking re-endorsement as the Labor candidate in the 2003 State election.[13]

Gadiel was endorsed as Labor candidate for Parramatta in a bitter pre-selection.[14]

Post politics[edit]

Harrison lives with her second husband Ron Bonham, her son Tristan, and Bonham's daughter. In late 2002, she told media that she was looking forward to a quiet life.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Hon. Gabrielle Mary HARRISON (1964 - )". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 24 March 2011. Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Full Day Hansard Transcript (Legislative Assembly, 12 October 1994, Corrected Copy)". Hansard & Papers, New South Wales Legislative Assembly. Parliament of New South Wales. 12 October 1994. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  3. ^ a b "Death of Andrew Charles Frederick Ziolkowski, Member for Parramatta". Hansard & Papers, New South Wales Legislative Assembly. Parliament of New South Wales. 13 April 1994. Archived from the original on 25 March 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  4. ^ Carlton, Mike (21 May 1994). "Leading from affront". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  5. ^ Loane, Sally (19 May 1994). "Labor's Working Mum won't be Bullied". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. 
  6. ^ Churlov, Martin (6 October 1996). "Making Time For Tristan". The Sun-Herald. 
  7. ^ Green, Antony (1994). "Parramatta - By-election". NSW Election Database. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Kennedy, Alan (3 September 2002). "Harrison 'threatened' to use power". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Kennedy, Alan (12 September 2002). "Ex-minister 'kept photos of enemies in her locket". The Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Mitchell, Alex (22 December 2002). "Labor factions white-ant key seats". The Sun-Herald. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  11. ^ West, Andrew (15 September 2002). "On your bike, Gabi". The Sun-Herald. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 18 June 2010. 
  12. ^ Silmalis, Linda (15 December 2002). "Sassy Labor star is now the invisible MP". The Sunday Telegraph. News Limited. 
  13. ^ "NSW — Former minister Harrison to quit politics". AAP. 20 December 2002. 
  14. ^ "Labor infighting over Parramatta pre-selection". PM (ABC Radio). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 25 February 2003. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  15. ^ Silmalis, Linda (22 December 2002). "MP seeks job in school tuckshop". Sunday Telegraph. News Limited. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Andrew Ziolkowski
Member for Parramatta
1994 – 2003
Succeeded by
Tanya Gadiel