Senator the Hon James McGrath

CURRENT POSITION
  • Deputy Government Whip in the Senate
  • Chair of Education and Employment Legislation Committee
  • Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters
  • Deputy Chair of Education and Employment References Committe
PREVIOUS POSITIONS

 

  • Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister from 2015 to 2018.
  • Assistant Minister for Immigration from 2016.
  • Assistant Minister for Regulatory Reform from 2017.

MINING CONNECTIONS
  • Queensland LNP senator James McGrath performed various roles for the UK Conservative Party from 2002-08. McGrath worked as a political operative for conservative campaign managers Crosby Textor (now C|T). C|T has lobbied on behalf of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, which controls extensive coal assets in Australia,the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) in Queensland, and has worked for the Queensland Resources Council.
    • C|T has also managed campaigns for the UK Conservatives and the Australian Liberal Party. Lynton Crosby was a key political strategist in UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s inner circle. Textor was a key gure inside the office of Tony Abbott when he was the Parliamentary leader of the federal Liberal Party.
  • McGrath was elected as a Queensland Liberal senator in 2013. Senator McGrath’s August 2014 Statement of Registrable Interests reveals he was contracted to Santos GLNG and KPMG in the period September 2013 to 30 June 2014, that is, after election to the Senate but before his maiden speech – in which he claimed to wear the shoes of Santo Santoro and thanked National Party Senator Matthew Canavan, once a Liberal, for his friendship.
  • McGrath served as minister assisting PM Malcolm Turnbull from September 2015 to August 2018 but switched allegiances to the camp of hardline leadership contender, Peter Dutton, in the leadership spill.
  • In April 2019 McGrath threatened to call for the federal environment minister, Melissa Price, to be sacked if she did not sign off on the final Commonwealth approval for the Adani project. Minister Price subsequently gave approval to Adani’s groundwater-related management plan on 8 April 2019. According to the CSIRO and Geosciences Australia, Adani’s groundwater modelling was “not suitable”.
  • As a Senator in 2014, McGrath sat as part of a Senate Select Committee Inquiry and heard evidence in relation to coal seam gas projects in Queensland. Senator McGrath, however, had a conflict of interest due to his employment with the Santos GLNG project during the relevant period. McGrath failed to inform witnesses (or note on the transcript) that he had a conflict of interest due to employment with Santos GLNG. It is unknown whether McGrath informed other Senators, or the Senate Select Committee Secretariat, regarding this conflict.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This entry in the #RevolvingDoors series has been produced from the Dirty Power Report authored by Michael West and Simone Marsh in collaboration with Greenpeace.

Please read the report here.

 

 

 

FOOTNOTES:

 

 

[1] In July 2014, James McGrath become a federal Liberal Senator representing QLD. McGrath’s parliamentary profile does not disclose Santos Gladstone LNG (Santos GLNG) project and KPMG work, rather it states “self-employed contractor 2012-14”. Source: https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Parliamentarian?MPID=217241 (Viewed 3/2/19) In his maiden speech, McGrath mentions Crosby Textor, claimed to wear the shoes of former Liberal senator Santo Santoro, and thanked National Party Senator Matthew Canavan for his friendship. McGrath and Canavan had Toowoomba backgrounds. Source: CSG lobbyists: Untangling the web of the influence peddlars (Simone Marsh for MichaelWest.com.au, 13 October 2017)  https://www.michaelwest.com.au/csg-lobbyists-untangling-web-influence-peddlars/ (Viewed 3/2/2019)

[2] McGrath’s Statement of Registrable Interests (1 August 2014) identifies contracting work at Santos GLNG and KPMG (2012-14) prior to entering the Senate. However, no detail of McGraths roles/positions or exact dates are revealed. McGrath assisted in the LNP’s 2010 federal election campaign in Queensland, and the 2012 campaign that lead to election of the Newman LNP State Government in Queensland. Source 1: https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/from-bli-bli-to-blighty-and-back-the-remarkable-rise-of-james-mcgrath-20111012-1lkuf.html (Viewed 3/2/2019) Source 2: https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/james-mcgraths-defeat-brings-mal-brough-return-closer/news-story/83d2cc629af65d0f6a17e25ed748472d (Viewed 3/2/2019)

[3] McGrath performed various roles for the UK Conservative Party 2002-08. McGrath worked as a political operative for conservative campaign managers Crosby Textor (founded by Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor). Crosby Textor have lobbied on behalf of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) in Queensland, and have worked for the Queensland Resources Council. APPEA is dominated by foreign gas interests. Crosby Textor have also managed campaigns for the UK Conservatives and the Liberal Party. Lynton Crosby was a key political strategist in UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s inner circle. Mark Textor has Tweeted quotes of climate science denier James Delingpole. Textor was a key figure inside the office of Tony Abbott when he was the Parliamentary leader of the federal Liberal Party. Source 1: Lynton Crosby’s lobby firm linked to Australian fossil fuels (The Guardian, Environment Blogs by Graham Readfearn, 20 July 2013) https://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2013/jul/19/lynton-crosby-david-cameron-tobacco-australia-lobbyist-mark-textor (Viewed 3/2/2019) Source 2: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/james-mcgrath-and-the-libertarianism-of-the-australian-tea-party-,6679 (Viewed 13/1/19)

[4] Advisor to Conservative London Mayor, Boris Johnson. Source: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/james-mcgrath-and-the-libertarianism-of-the-australian-tea-party-,6679 (Viewed 13/1/19).

[5] Liberal Party polling firm Crosby Textor has links to British spy company Hakluyt & Co. Hakluyt founder and former MI6 officer Christopher James was appointed a senior adviser to Crosby Textor in 2006. In May 2008, former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer joined the advisory board of Hakluyt – “a secretive British firm that sells intelligence on government policy intentions – including those in Australia – to big business. The firm, Hakluyt & Co, was founded by former officers of British spy agency M16. Hakluyt has been embroiled in several corporate spying scandals and was caught in 2001 paying a former German intelligence agent to infiltrate green groups in Europe on behalf of the oil companies Shell and BP. Hakluyt employs many former British intelligence officers and provides companies with high-level business and political intelligence on investment opportunities.” Source: SMH, 15 October 2008, Journalists Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie https://www.smh.com.au/national/downer-joins-eddington-at-spy-company-20081014-506f.html(Viewed 21/1/19)

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