Labor has been demanding answers this week as to why Prime Minister Scott Morrison was dismissed from his role as Managing Director of Tourism Australia back in 2006.
The questions came in hard and fast during Question Time in the Senate on Tuesday as Penny Wong and Jacinta Collins questioned the Government’s Leader in the Senate Mathias Cormann about Morrison’s sacking. Cormann dodged the question, accusing Labor’s dirt unit of being “busy” and claiming his boss was a “great advocate” for the tourism industry.
Labor’s questions came after a story was published in The Saturday Paper claiming that an auditor-general’s report completed 10 years ago revealed that in the period leading up to Morrison’s dismissal, his agency faced a series of audits and a review of its contractual processes ordered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, amid serious concerns about its governance.
So, with the spotlight currently shining on the PM’s career prior to bagging the top job, we’ve taken a look at the previous careers of some of the country’s most powerful and well-known politicians.
Before making the leap into politics, Deputy Prime Minister and Nationals Leader Michael McCormack bagged himself a journalism cadetship with The Daily Advertiser in Wagga Wagga in 1981, rapidly rising to the rank of editor in just 10 years, at the age of 27.
In 1999, McCormack was appointed a Justice of the Peace in New South Wales, before co-founding a small media and publishing business in Wagga Wagga, which he owned and operated in partnership until he was elected to parliament in 2010.
Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten started his professional life as a lawyer with Maurice Blackburn Cashman before moving into the union movement in 1994, starting out as an organiser for the Australian Workers’ Union.
He then became the AWU’s Victorian Secretary and then National Secretary. Shorten was also a director of Australian Super before entering parliament in 2007.
While Shorten’s right-hand woman, Deputy Leader of the Labor Party Tanya Plibersek started her career in local government, landing a job in the Domestic Violence Unit of the NSW Government after graduating from UTS in Sydney. She was elected as the MP for Sydney in 1998 and has since been reelected seven times.
She may no longer have a role in the cabinet or be deputy leader of the Liberals, but former Foreign Minister Julie Bishop enjoyed a highly successful career in law before she was elected as the member for Curtin, in Western Australia, in 1998.
Bishop worked as a commercial litigation lawyer at Perth firm Clayton Utz, becoming a partner in 1985, and being promoted to managing partner in 1994. After being elected as an MP in the late 1990s, Bishop quickly rose through the ranks and served as deputy leader of the party for 11 years, serving under two prime ministers and three leaders in total, before resigning from cabinet after the spill which saw Malcolm Turnbull ousted in August.
Treasurer and current Deputy Liberal Leader Josh Frydenberg also started professional life as a lawyer. After completing a degree at Monash University and a Master of Philosophy at England’s prestigious Oxford University he was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the Supreme Court of Victoria. He then worked as a ministerial adviser in Canberra between 199 9and 2004, alongside the likes of Alexander Downer and then-Prime Minister John Howard.
Frydenberg’s career then took an unexpected turn as he opted to spend a month working as a jackaroo on a South Australian sheep station before joining Deutsche Bank as a Director of Global Banking in January 2005. He was elected as the Federal Member for Kooyong in 2010.
Before rising through the ranks of the Liberal party, Belgian-born Finance Minister Mathias Cormann worked as a Ministerial Chief of Staff and Senior Adviser in WA state government. Between 2003 and 2007 he worked for major Western Australian health insurer HBF in a range of senior management roles, including as General Manager HealthGuard and as General Manager of HBF Health Insurance.
Prior to establishing her One Nation party, Pauline Hanson famously ran a fish and chip shop in Ipswich, QLD, with her than-business partner Morrie Marsden. Over time she acquired full control of the company, before selling the business following her election to parliament as the MP for Oxley in 1995. She lost her federal seat three years later in 1998, one year after founding her right-wing One Nation Party in 1997.
Barnaby Joyce worked as an accountant before becoming one of Australia’s most renowned political figures. After graduating from university he travelled around NSW working as a farm worker, banker and even a nightclub bouncer. He then spent three years with a chartered accountancy firm before completing five years with a major regional bank.
In 1999 he launched his own business Barnaby Joyce and Co, which he owned and operated for 10 years in the western Queensland town of St George, before successfully running for the Senate in 2004.
Joyce was elected as the MP for the NSW seat of New England in 2013, making him the only person to have represented one state in the Senate and a different state in the House of Representatives. He also served as Leader of the National Party, and Deputy Prime Minister, before stepping down in February following the scandal surrounding his affair with former staffer Vikki Campion.
Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton entered politics at the age of just 18 when he joined the Young Liberals, and made his first run for office one year later when he stood for the Queensland seat of Lytton.
However, following the unsuccessful bid, Dutton then joined the Queensland Police Force and spent the majority of his decade-long service as a detective in the drug and sex offenders squads, before being elected as the member for Dickson in 2001.