Greg Combet bigraphy, stories - Australian politicians

Greg Combet : biography

28 April 1958 -

Gregory Ivan Combet MP (born 28 April 1958) is an 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 before announcing his resignation from the ministry on 26 June 2013 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.. Retrieved 29 June 2013

Union activity

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. 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.

Personal

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.

Combet is separated from his second wife, , and has one daughter, one stepdaughter and one stepson. He was also in a relationship with Melissa Parke. In 2012, Combet began a relationship with ABC-TV newsreader, Juanita Phillips.

Combet has stated that he is an atheist.

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.

Early life

Greg Combet was born in Sydney and attended Eastern Creek Primary school, then Rooty Hill High School from years 7 to 10. He completed his secondary education at Baulkham Hills High School. He was later educated at the University of New South Wales where he studied mining engineering,, 27 June 2010. 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.

Parliament

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. 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. On 4 May 2007, Combet confirmed his intention to run for Charlton., Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 4 May 2007. The sitting member for Charlton, Kelly Hoare, expressed anger at losing preselection for her seat,, The 7:30 Report, 31 May 2007 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.

Combet speaking at the Your Rights at Work rally in Melbourne, 15 November 2005.

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. 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. 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 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.

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. 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.

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