Where are they now?
Since our patron, Elizabeth Reid, became the first Women’s Adviser ever appointed by a Prime Minister in 1973, there have been literally thousands of women employed as staffers of ALP parliamentarians and party offices.
In the first of our ‘Where are they now?’ series, now you can learn what some of these fabulous women have gone on to do in their professional (and personal) lives.
Katie Hall – Footscray, Victoria
When did you first work for the ALP and what was your role?
I joined the ALP in 1998 when I was 15 and did a work experience placement in a local Senate office. I stayed involved in the party and when I was 18, Nicola Roxon offered me a part time role organising the ‘100 years, 100 women’ event celebrating the centenary of the party and the election of 100 Labor women across Australia.
What did you go onto do after that?
I finished my university degree and worked in hospitality and as an electorate officer. I was very proud when Nicola Roxon rang to offer me a full-time role in her office. She had become a mentor and it was inspiring to learn off a talented young MP, who was leading the way for the advancement of women in the Party.
I had entered university wanting to become a journalist but politics became my passion. Nicola’s office was in the heart of multicultural Footscray and I understood the importance of having an effective local Labor team to advocate for people and community groups who needed support navigating Government processes.
A shout out to all those wonderful, compassionate electorate officers out there in the ER Network! It really is a really honourable job - there’s so many vulnerable people out there who need someone to champion their cause.
What did you find most rewarding career-wise about working for the ALP?
Sometimes you have to remind yourself that although the work can be demanding, you have a front row seat to history unfolding and that is a great privilege. You also make life-long friends in the process!
In the scheme of things, not many of us get to work for (or represent) our great party and it’s a huge honour. We all carry a responsibility to do our best for the movement and when we have victories the hard work makes it all the more enjoyable.
What is a highlight of your time as a staffer?
My first day in Julia Gillard’s office was the first day she was acting Prime-Minister. I remember sitting in the car with her and pinching myself that I was a member of her team on such a historic day.
Our battle to introduce plain packaging on tobacco products was a brave Labor initiative - Nicola was truly a reformist health minister. In terms of policy achievements, working on plain packaging was a highlight. The evidence shows the policy has worked and is saving lives. Staring down the tobacco industry is no mean feat!
What are you doing now?
I left staffer life in 2010 and worked in a number of interesting communications roles - at Victoria Police, the organ donation service and at the City of Melbourne. I’ve been a regular guest on the ABC discussing politics and current affairs and enjoyed freelance writing when I was on maternity leave after the birth of my daughter.
I still live in Footscray and it’s been the honour of a lifetime to be endorsed as the ALP candidate for Footscray for the 2018 election. I’m having lots of fun campaigning and if successful, want to be an activist MP and achieve great things for our community.