Congratulations to Rachel Durrant - recipient of the 2018 Bridget Whelan Scholarship

Labor Leader Bill Shorten announced in Parliament House that the winner of the annual $10,000 Bridget Whelan Scholarship is Rachel Durrant, currently the Adviser on Communications and Campaigns from The Hon. Tanya Plibersek’s office. The event was attended by our Patron, Elizabeth Reid AO, Senators, MPs, staffers and special guests including Bridget Whelan’s sister and niece.

The Elizabeth Reid Network would like to thank the following people for their generous donations towards the 2018 Bridget Whelan Scholarship fund...

The Whelan Family

Ms Catherine Morgan

Ms Kirsten Mulley

Senator The Hon. Kristina Keneally

The Hon. Darren West, MLC

The Hon. Mark Dreyfus QC, MP

Ms Janine Freeman, MLA

Ms Jessica Shaw, MLA

Ms Joan Pease, MP

Ms Katherine Margar

The Hon. Sharon Bird, MP

Ms Trish Doyle, MP

The Hon. Julie Collins, MP

Ms Sophie Cotsis, MP

Ms Cassie Rowe, MLA

Mr Luke Foley, MP

Dr Susan Close, MP

Dr Jim Chalmers, MP

Mrs Lisa O'Malley, MLA

Ms Meryl Swanson, MP

The Hon. Stephen Dawson, MLC

Senator Deb O’Neill, MP

Ms Anita Dow, MP

Ms Ella Haddad, MP

Ms Sharon Claydon, MP

Ms Jo Haylen, MP

Ms Jenny Aitchison, MP

Ms Nat Cook, MP

Ms Yasmin Catley, MP

Ms Alison Hill, 

Senator Jenny McAllister

Senator The Hon. Claire Moore

Dr Anne Aly MP

Mr Brian Mitchell MP

The Hon. Roger Cook

The Hon. Tanya Plibersek, MP

The Hon. Wayne Swan, MP

The Hon. Jenny Macklin, MP

The Hon. Daniel Andrews, MP

The Hon. Stephen Jones, MP

Ms Chris Black

Ms Annie O'Rourke

The Hon. Annastacia Palaszczuk


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

“I was so thrilled to win the inaugural Bridget Whelan Scholarship - but even more blown away by the opportunity it gave to me travel to the US and learn first hand from progressive campaigners and organisers. I strongly encourage every woman staffer who has a passion for furthering their career, and the ALP’s election prospects, to apply for this amazing opportunity”.


Karelle Logan,

Inaugural winner of the Bridget Whelan Scholarship, 2017.



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