The Elizabeth Reid Network (ERN) is thrilled to announce Georgia Betros as the winner of the prestigious 2021 Bridget Whelan Scholarship.


Georgia has been a parliamentary and policy adviser to the Shadow Minister for Environment and Water, Terri Butler MP, for the past four years.

Georgia will use part of the Scholarship to expand her leadership and management skills by enrolling in the Australian Graduate School of Management @ UNSW Business School’s Women in Leadership Course (WIL). 

“In the Elizabeth Reid Network’s 2021 survey, many current and former female political staff identified a lack of leadership and executive management training as a problem in Parliament. Some staff identified a link between this lack of training and the cultural problems that exist in Parliament House” said President of the ERN, Annie O’Rourke.

Georgia grew up in Toowoomba in regional Queensland and her paternal family are Lebanese. She is passionate about increasing female leadership in politics, as well as increasing the participation of young women of colour in staffing positions. She will use part of the Scholarship to conduct research into how to increase the number of female staff from diverse backgrounds working in politics. She hopes to use this research to establish and facilitate a network of CALD female staffers or potential staffers in Queensland.


Terri Butler MP said: "Ms Betros deploys her formidable intellect for the public good. She has an innate curiosity that drives her appetite to always learn as much as she can about any public policy issue that we're working on”


These qualities are matched by her deep compassion, her sense of justice, her quick wit, and her intention to make space for others -- as she has demonstrated through her proposal to use this year's Scholarship to help make the staffing corps more representative”.


Whilst the ALP is now on the precipice of gender parity in the Federal Parliament due to the adoption of an affirmative action policy, there still isn’t gender parity in senior staffing positions, and representation for both staff and politicians from CALD backgrounds is woefully lacking.


In the last Federal Election, only 1 in 10 candidates from the major parties came from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

“As part of the Jenkins Review, the ERN this year recommended the party adopt gender quotas for senior staff. Georgia’s research on ways to recruit, mentor and provide for a network of women from CALD backgrounds to work in politics will be very welcome” said Annie O’Rourke.

The announcement of the winner was made by the Leader of the Australian Labor Party, the Hon Anthony Albanese  MP.


Funding for the Scholarship comes from contributions from former and current ALP MPs, Senators and Staff. This year Maurice Blackburn has come on board as our first ever corporate sponsor.

The judging panel is: 

Tanya Plibersek - Shadow Minister for Women

Annie O’Rourke - President of the ER Network

Kirsten Mulley - Former State ALP Staffer and close friend to Bridget Whelen

Our Sponsors:

Maurice Blackburn Lawyers, The Whelan Family, Alison Hill, Andrea Wilson, Andrew Dempster, Andrew Giles MP, Anika Wells MP, Brian Mitchell, Dr Anne Aly MP, Dr Anne Aly MP, Dr Jim Chalmers MP, Hon Tony, Burke MP, Jennifer Mason, Josh Wilson MP, Kate Thwaites MP, Kirsten Andrews, Patrick Possum Gorman, Senator Anne Urquhart, Sharon Claydon MP, Skye Laris, Hon Terri Butler MP, Virginia O’Halloran

Excerpt of Georgia Betros's Acceptance Speech 


2019 Recipient - Georgia Goldsworthy

2018 Recipient - Rachel Durrant

2017 Recipient - Karelle Logan


Annie O - President of the ERN

The Hon Anthony Albanese - Leader of the Opposition


Georgia Betros - winner of the 2021 scholarship


Liberty Sanger - Principal, Maurice Blackburn, major sponsors


The Hon Tanya Plibersek - Shadow Minister for Women


For female advisers in the Australian Labor Party

Offered by the Elizabeth Reid Network

The Bridget Whelan Scholarship is an annual award of $10,000 for female advisers in the Australian Labor Party. It is named in honour of the talented Bridget Whelan who worked in the NSW and Federal Government for the Labor Party from 2000 to 2011. Bridget worked as a Senior Adviser for Minister John Della Bosca and Premier Morris Lemma, and as a Chief of Staff for Attorney-General John Hatzistergos and Minister Mark Arbib. During her time in Government, Bridget ran the NSW Legislative program and was responsible for a raft of important legislation. Bridget also worked hard to support, guide and mentor other female advisers.

The purpose of the Scholarship is to assist female advisers with several years experience to extend and develop their skills and capacity and contribute further to the party – whether in policy, communications or leadership roles.

We are seeking passionate and committed women who see a future for themselves as political advisers, and want the opportunity to broaden their knowledge and horizons at either a national or international level.


How can the scholarship funds be spent?

The Scholarship of $10,000 will be awarded to an outstanding candidate who can use the funds to undertake travel, further education and training, or other activities that will prepare them to undertake more challenging work within the party as an adviser.  

It is expected that the funds will be spent within 12 months of being awarded, with a requirement that a written report be provided to the Elizabeth Reid Network for distribution to female advisers and others within the party.


Who should apply?

To be eligible for the Scholarship, female applicants must meet the minimum selection criteria of:

  • 3 or more years experience as a political adviser (at Federal or State level)

  • 2 or more years of work experience in another workplace

  • Australian citizen or resident


The successful applicant will also demonstrate the potential to contribute to the ALP and act as a mentor for younger female advisers at the completion of their Scholarship activities.

About the Elizabeth Reid Network

The Elizabeth Reid Network was launched in 2016 as a network for current and former female advisers within the Australian Labor Party. Its goal is to create a network to support female advisers and encourage their participation in the political process.


For further information

Contact Annie O’Rourke, President of the Elizabeth Reid Network on 0488 557 166 or

BWS-banner 2021.png

2021 Winner Announced

Congratulations Georgia Betros -
recipient of the 2021 Bridget Whelan Scholarship!
30th August 2021

Winner of 2021 Scholarship