22/04/2010 - 00:00

Political staff to resources roles

22/04/2010 - 00:00

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A SERIES of moves by political staffers into roles linked to the resources sector reveals the growing need for corporate players to find their way around bureaucracy and political roadblocks.

A SERIES of moves by political staffers into roles linked to the resources sector reveals the growing need for corporate players to find their way around bureaucracy and political roadblocks.

Among the interesting changes is big resources consultancy WorleyParsons, which is beefing-up its government relations operation in Perth, a business headed by Marcel Anderson, a former adviser to Carmen Lawrence when she was premier in the early 1990s.

Former television journalist Simon Dowding has joined Ms Anderson at WorleyParsons, leaving his role as press secretary to Immigration Minister Chris Evans. Mr Dowding was a long-running adviser to former state health minister and attorney-general, Jim McGinty.

It is understood Karen Brown has taken over the role advising Mr Evans. Ms Brown was formerly a media and government relations adviser to the private sector with Halden Burns before running for a seat in state parliament as a Labor candidate.

Following the 2008 election she became an adviser to state Labor leader Eric Ripper.

Among other recent moves, Fortescue Metals Group has employed Premier Colin Barnett’s former chief-of-staff Deidre Willmott as a government relations adviser. Ms Willmott stepped down from the chief-of-staff role in November due to a potential conflict of interest with her husband Michael Lishman’s expanding corporate law practice. For the past six months she has been state director of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which will be held in Perth in late 2011.

Kieran Murphy, a former adviser to Labor premiers Geoff Gallop and Alan Carpenter, has become a government affairs adviser with Crosslands Resources, and former TV reporter Rob Newton has joined the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia.

Another former senior state Labor staffer, Casey Cahill, has done the opposite, moving out of a senior role with GRD to become a director of internationally backed consultancy Kreab Gavin Anderson, which established itself in Perth in October last year.

Former head of the Government Media Office, Paul Plowman, has quit the government and is expected to establish a consulting practice in the lobbying space. Mr Plowman effectively made himself redundant by restructuring the GMO and sought to leave the public service last October. Premier Colin Barnet asked him to stay on temporarily due to other staff changes, such as Ms Willmott’s move to CHOGM and the arrival of Brian Pontifex to replace her as his chief-of-staff.

 

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