Jan 31, 2023

Four on the floor - who are the Labor MPs to watch?

Four on the floor - who are the Labor MPs to watch?

Labor’s 2022 election victory brought the changeover of seats – some of which no one thought were attainable by opposition candidates. With so many new faces to account for, we share the key Labor MPs you need to watch as the Albanese Government hits its stride in 2023…

Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah - Member for Higgins (VIC)

From medicine to politics, Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah is one of Australia’s leading experts in infectious diseases. She worked as a clinician and researcher at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne for the past 13 years prior to her election in 2022 – where she defeated then-incumbent Liberal, Dr Katie Allen.

A member of the Labor Right faction, Ananda-Rajah’s entry into politics was partly influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic – to advocate for the rights of healthcare workers and patients. In response to the pandemic, she also co-founded Health Care Workers Australia, and she uses her position to push for better healthcare practices.

Though the concept of a former physician-turned-politician is not new (i.e. the recently vanquished Dr Katie Allen), the Albanese Government will benefit from having an expert in the field legitimising its health direction.  

Josh Burns – Member for Macnamara (VIC)

First elected in 2019, Josh Burns is a proud grandson of migrants who uses his position as Chair of Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights to promote a multicultural and multifaith Australia – including advocating for our First Australians.

As a former teacher’s aide and a factory hand, Burns also supports the profound role education can play in changing lives. Aligned with Labor’s Right faction, his key policy areas include education, climate change, and human rights.

Having been a political operator for a while, staffing for predecessor Michael Danby and working as a senior adviser for Dan Andrews, it’s safe to assume that Burns has extensive political knowledge that will help his rise up the Labor ranks - it may land him onto the frontbench in a possibly re-elected Albanese Government, or even before.

Andrew Charlton – Member for Parramatta (NSW) (pictured above)

Andrew Charlton is an economic powerhouse, whose prior experience includes advising Prime Minister Kevin Rudd during the global financial crisis, founding economic think-tank ‘the e61 Institute’ and working internationally (including for the United Nations).

Unsurprisingly based on his professional background, Charlton’s policy focus areas include economics and international development. However, he is also a passionate long-term advocate for climate change and co-authored a Quarterly Essay on this topic in 2011 with Richard Flanagan – Man-Made World: Choosing between progress and planet.

Elected in 2022 to one of Sydney’s fastest growing areas, he represents one of the most influential seats in NSW. Charlton’s political nous, as well as his business background, makes him a useful part of the Albanese Government. Breaking the mold of the Labor unionist, Charlton will be able to angle himself as approachable to both the party base and corporate Australia. 

Peta Murphy – Member for Dunkley (VIC)

The first woman to ever be elected to the Dunkley electorate in 2019, Peta Murphy’s impressive career history is defined by a commitment to social justice and building strong communities.

She worked in the Victorian justice system as a Public Defender for over a decade and her interests are promoting the need for legal, social, health, employment and education services to work together to tackle disadvantage. Murphy holds an influential role for this issue, as Chair of the House Standing Committee on Social policy and Legal Affairs.

Her political experience as Brendan O’Connor’s chief of staff has aided her in keeping her seat in the 2022 election. If Dunkley can be kept in Labor’s hands, Murphy will likely see dividends with future promotions, making this Labor social justice campaigner a key player in party and government decisions.

She has openly spoken on her history of breast cancer – using her maiden speech to promote better treatment and understanding.

Want to learn more about who’s who in Parliament? Advoc8 tracks extended biographies for elected officials with details including qualifications and prior work history. Contact us for a demo or to discuss how we can support your organisation in developing best practice advocacy.