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E27: Who’d work in politics?

Former political staffer Sean Sammon shares his insights into the roles people play behind people in power. As a twenty-something policy advisor, little did he know that he would be present when Australian political history was being made. He share with us his experience of the riding political roller coaster that was the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd government and how he got out alive.


Links to some of the things Sean touched on:


  • “That handshake” - watch the moment former Labor Opposition Leader lost the 2004 Australian Federal Election campaign to then-Prime Minister John Howard here.
  • Who the hell is Joh Bjelke-Peterson? For those of you who were there, a refresher. For those of you who don’t have a clue, strap yourselves in, it’s a killer of a political story.
  • While Sean was working away as a staffer for Labor rising stars Mark Arbib and Kate Lundy, Australia experienced the removal of not one but two sitting prime ministers - Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. The ABC’s Adele Ferguson captured all the gory details in the seminal documentary The Killing Season. Watch and learn.
  • Some of the political characters Sean mentioned:
  • Bill Shorten MP, Federal Opposition Leader
  • Bridget Whelan, former Chief of Staff to Mark Arbib
  • Allison Hill, former media adviser to Mark Arbib
  • Susan Templeman MP
  • Some of the political shows mentioned:
  • House of Cards
  • Veep
  • Yes Minister
  • Former political speechwriter to Julia Gillard, Michael Cooney’s book The Gillard Project: My Thousand Days of Despair and Hope, explores the different types of political staffers refers to in our podcast.
  • Guardian Australia journalist Katherine Murphy wrote an essay for Meanjin: A Political Life Is No Life At All on the life and times of Greg Combet, Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation in the Second Gillard Ministry.


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