Q & I monday

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    Should be interesting depending on what questions they let them answer.

    Monday 2 February, 2015
    2 February 2015

    Panellists: Barnaby Joyce, Minister for Agriculture; Wayne Swan, Former Treasurer; Larissa Waters, Queensland Greens Senator; John Madigan, Independent Senator for Victoria; and Jacqui Lambie, Independent Senator for Tasmania.

    Barnaby Joyce

    Since entering Parliament in 2005 Barnaby Joyce has became one of the country’s best-known MPs because of his uncompromising attitudes, his personality and his willingness to say what he thinks – sometimes to the annoyance of his own side.

    After the coalition’s election victory Barnaby entered Cabinet as Minister for Agriculture. Originally a Senator, he switched to the Lower House seat of New England prior to the 2013 poll and is tipped to one day become National Party Leader.

    Barnaby was born near Tamworth, in the New England electorate, in 1967, and claims to have expressed an interest in entering politics from his primary school days. He graduated in commerce from the University of New England and worked for a chartered accountancy firm and a bank before setting up his own accountancy business in an old shop front in the town of St George in western Queensland. Before the practice became established he faced serious financial difficulties – an experience common to many in small business, and one which left an indelible mark on Barnaby.

    When Barnaby entered the Senate he refused to be taken for granted as simply another backbencher who would support the coalition no matter what. He crossed the floor on several key votes and clashed with colleagues on such matters as single desk wheat marketing, amendments to the Trade Practices Act and voluntary student unionism. Several clashes with Liberals Wilson Tuckey and Bill Heffernan took place in public, even on camera, and have become the stuff of Canberra legend.

    Barnaby and his wife Natalie have four daughters.

    Wayne Swan

    Wayne Swan has been closely involved in Labor politics in Queensland and Canberra for most of his adult life.

    The former Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister was born in the town of Nambour, on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, in 1954. He went to Nambour High School where he was two years ahead of the man went on to lead the Labor Government, Kevin Rudd. Kevin has remarked of these school years that "Wayne was very cool and I was very not."

    In 1976 Wayne became a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology, a position he would return to sporadically over the next decade until his political career developed. He spent some time in Canberra in the late 70s and early 80s, working for Bill Hayden, Kim Beazley and the late Mick Young.

    In the late 80s he became Campaign Director for the ALP and in this position oversaw the historic win by Labor’s Wayne Goss in the 1989 election that ended 32 continuous years in the wilderness for the ALP. In 1993, after serving as State Secretary and engineering another Goss victory, he entered Federal Parliament in the Brisbane seat of Lilley.

    Although he lost the seat in the 1996 Howard landslide Wayne returned in 1998 and moved to the Opposition front-bench. A renowned factional power-broker, he played an influential background role in various Labor leadership contests. He also established himself as a key member of the Labor team in senior shadow portfolios, becoming Shadow Treasurer in 2004. He maintained the portfolio after Labor’s 2007 victory and after Kevin Rudd was deposed by Julia Gillard, leaving it when Rudd returned to the leadership shortly before the 2013 election.

    As Treasurer Wayne had the task of overseeing Australia’s successful response to the global financial crisis, which the country endured without a recession and without high unemployment. The expensive stimulus packages implemented to counter the GFC had a high political cost, however, and the coalition insists the Swan legacy is all negative – high levels of debt and deficit. Wayne addresses these issues in his new book The Good Fight.

    During the 1990s Wayne survived an attack of prostate cancer and is now a tireless advocate for early detection of the disease. He and his wife Kim live in Brisbane and have three children, Erinn, Libbi and Matt.

    Larissa Waters

    Larissa Waters became the first Queensland Senate representative for the Australian Greens in the 2010 federal election, having narrowly missed out in 2007.

    Larissa is an environmental lawyer. Before entering Parliament she worked in the community sector for eight years advising people how to use the law to protect the environment. She is passionate about human rights, protecting the environment and public participation and accountability in government.

    As a member of the Greens her chief policy areas of responsibility include environment, biodiversity, natural heritage and population.

    Larissa lives in Brisbane with her partner and their daughter.

    John Madigan

    John Madigan is an Independent Senator from Victoria.
    When he entered the Senate in 2011 he was the first federal representative of the Democratic Labour Party since 1974, but last year he split from the DLP after an acrimonious falling out with the party’s head office. He said there was ‘a cancer of political intrigue’ within the organisation.

    John was born and raised in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. After attending school at Christian Brothers College (St Kilda) and St Joseph’s (South Melbourne), John began work at the Victorian Railways Newport workshops. He completed his apprenticeship and went on to work in the mobile welding unit and civil construction department for 10 years.

    In 1993 he married and moved to Ballarat where he now lives with his wife and two children. He set up a forge and engineering workshop at Hepburn in the Victorian Central Highlands where he worked as a self-employed blacksmith.

    John is a passionate campaigner for regional areas, not only in Victoria but across Australia. He is also an ardent promoter of Australian industry and the importance of the family and local community as the foundation stones of Australian society.

    Jacqui Lambie

    Tasmanian-born Jacqui Lambie was elected to the Senate in 2013 as a member of the Palmer United Party and became deputy leader of the PUP senate team. But last year, after a rancorous falling out with PUP founder Clive Palmer, she left the party and now sits as an Independent.

    Jacqui is a single mother of two sons aged 19 and 22 and lives in Burnie, Tasmania.

    A former soldier with the Australian Army, Jacqui spent a decade serving Australia in the armed forces in the transport management and military policing divisions.

    Having been medically discharged from the army in 2000, she became an advocate for Australian war veterans and injured soldiers.

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