The Valedictorians: Craig Emerson and Barry Haase

16 August 2013

Written by: Liam Quinn

The political careers of 31 MPs wind up this year. As part of our Election 2013 coverage, we’ll be profiling those saying goodbye to Canberra. We’ll feature two MPs each edition; with our next duo Craig Emerson and Barry Haase.


Craig Emerson



Craig Emerson has been a key player in the Gillard government’s ministry. The now-former member for Rankin was elected to the House of Representatives in 1998.

Much like Julia Gillard’s resignation, Craig Emerson’s came by surprise. Emerson supported Gillard in the last leadership spill, and upon Kevin Rudd being returned to the Prime Minister’s seat, announced he would not be recontesting.

His political ties date back to before he ran for the seat of Rankin. From 1986 to 1990, Emerson, who holds a PhD in economics, was an economic advisor to Prime Minister Bob Hawke.

Highest political position

Picking Emerson’s highest political career presents a small problem – there are too many choices. Here’s a list of the roles he’s held during his 15 years in Parliament:


–      Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy

–      Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs

–      Minister for Trade

–      Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy

–      Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research

Greatest political involvement

While it may be hard to quantify Emerson’s greatest political achievement, the repercussions from his latest achievement will be felt for years.

Speaking in the penultimate week of parliament, Emerson speaks on the value of education: “When you look at the sources of competitiveness in the Asian century, the preeminent source of competitiveness is investing in the talents of our young people, developing the skills and nurturing the creativity of our young people.

That is what the National Plan for School Improvement does, and our aspiration is to be in the top five schooling systems under the blueprint by 2025.”

Barry Haase

Barry Haase has been a member of the Liberal party from 1987. He was born and raised in Western Australia, and has been the member for Kalgoorie from 1998.

As a strong supporter in “a fair go”, he believes in personal freedom, compassion for those in need, a commitment to progress and to make the future ‘good’.

He has focused on issues such as the aboriginal reconciliation, economic progress, and creating a healthy community with effective communication in the bush.

His ongoing Parliamentary positions have included Shadow parliamentary secretary for infrastructure, roads and transport and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Energy and Resources.

The Liberal party support his decision to retire, “It’s 15 years, I’m currently 67, I don’t want to be an old man in politics,” Haase said.

According to the ABC network, he has “no idea” what he is going to do next.

Adria De Fazio is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, and part of upstart’s election coverage. Follow her on Twitter: @adriadf.

Kathleen O’Connor is a third-year Bachelor of Journalism student at La Trobe University, and a contributor for upstart.

Photo: Twitter – CraigEmersonMP