Craig Emerson

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Dr Craig Emerson
Craig Emerson.jpg
Minister for Trade
In office
14 September 2010 – 26 June 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byStephen Smith
Succeeded byRichard Marles
Minister for Tertiary Education and Science
In office
25 March 2013 – 26 June 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byChris Bowen
Succeeded byKim Carr
Minister for Small Business
In office
3 December 2007 – 14 September 2010
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byFran Bailey
Succeeded byNick Sherry
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Rankin
In office
3 October 1998 – 5 August 2013
Preceded byDavid Beddall
Succeeded byJim Chalmers
Personal details
Craig Anthony Emerson

(1954-11-15) 15 November 1954 (age 66)
Baradine, New South Wales, Australia
Political partyLabor Party
Alma materUniversity of Sydney (BEc, MEc)
Australian National University (PhD)
ProfessionEconomist, Politician
WebsiteParliamentary website
Personal website

Craig Anthony Emerson (born 15 November 1954) is an Australian economist and former Labor Party politician who was the Member of the House of Representatives for Rankin in Queensland from 1998 until 2013. Emerson served as Minister for Trade, Minister for Tertiary Education and Science and Minister for Small Business in the Rudd and Gillard Governments.

Early life[edit]

Emerson was born in Baradine, New South Wales to Ern and Marge Emerson, and raised as a Roman Catholic.[1] He and his late elder brother, Lance, were subjected to physical and emotional abuse from their mother, Marge. He was intensely religious as a child, finding solace from his turbulent home life, recalling that "Catholicism helped me make sense of Mum's volatile behaviour where there was no sense to be made of it."[2] He earned a bursary to attend St Patrick's College, Strathfield. He later attended the University of Sydney, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) and a Master of Economics. He also holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the Australian National University.[citation needed]

Early career[edit]

Early in his career, Emerson variously worked as an economic analyst with the United Nations, an economic adviser to the Minister for Resources and Energy and the Minister for Finance Senator Peter Walsh, an Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and economic and environmental adviser to Prime Minister Bob Hawke.[3] He became Director-General of the Queensland Department of Environment in 1990, where he became embroiled in the Cape Melville affair.[3] He was chief executive officer of the South East Queensland Transit Authority from 1995 to 1996.[3]

Following the defeat of the Goss Government in 1996, Emerson set up a small business partnership, Eco Managers, with former economic adviser to Premier Wayne Goss, Raymond Garrand. They advised various clients on electricity supply issues in Queensland and global petroleum companies on energy policy.[citation needed]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Representing the Australian Labor Party, Emerson was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the Member for Rankin at the 1998 federal election.

Emerson was appointed Shadow Minister for Innovation, Industry, Trade and Tourism from 2001 to 2003, and then Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations and the Public Service from 2003 to 2004. Emerson was relegated to the backbench following the 1998 federal election, having supported Simon Crean and Mark Latham in leadership ballots against the wishes of his Right faction in Queensland. While on the backbench he wrote a book, Viral Signs, Vibrant Society, proposing new economic and social policies for the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party. Following the election of Kevin Rudd as Leader of the Labor Party and Julia Gillard as Deputy Leader in December 2006, Emerson was appointed Shadow Minister for the Service Economy, Small Business and Independent Contractors.[3]

On 3 December 2007, Emerson was named Minister for Small Business, Independent Contractors and the Service Economy and Minister Assisting the Finance Minister on Deregulation in the newly elected Rudd ministry.[3] In June 2009, he was also appointed Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs.[3]

On 14 September 2010, Emerson was appointed the Minister for Trade,[3] expanded to Minister for Trade and Competitiveness in a ministerial reshuffle announced on 2 March 2012.[4] In October 2011, Emerson released a paper with Gillard's approval which advocated for continued rapid rates of population growth.[5]

On 29 October 2012, Emerson was assigned the role of Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Asian Century Policy.[6][7]

In March 2013, in a further reshuffle of ministerial responsibilities, Emerson gained an additional portfolio as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research.[8] However, after a leadership change in the federal Australian Labor Party in June 2013 in which Kevin Rudd took over as prime minister from Gillard, Emerson resigned his ministerial portfolios and said he would not contest his seat at the next election.[9] Following the Australian federal election held a few months later in September 2013, Jim Chalmers took over from Emerson as the MP for the seat of Rankin in Queensland.


After leaving parliament, Emerson established an economic consulting firm, Craig Emerson Economics Pty Ltd. His clients have included Wesfarmers, Coles, AGL Energy, Santos, the BCA, the ACTU and the PNG Government. Emerson is an adviser to KPMG. He was also a regular presenter on Sky News Australia for some years after leaving parliament.[10]

In 2014, Emerson was appointed as an Adjunct Professor of Victoria University. He is a member of the CEDA Council on Economic Policy and is Chair of the Advisory Board, Centre for Transformative Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology. Emerson is also President of the Australia China Business Council NSW.[citation needed]

In February 2018, Emerson's memoir, The Boy from Baradine, was published by Scribe Publications.[11]

In August 2018 Emerson was involved in public disagreement with Sky News Australia when he resigned as a commentator for the TV network. Emerson resigned in protest when Sky News broadcast an interview with the right-wing Australian activist Blair Cottrell. Emerson said that, "My father fought Nazis in World War II and was interred in a German POW camp." Explaining his decision on Twitter, he said that the decision by Sky News to screen the interview with Cottrell was "another step in a journey to normalising racism and bigotry in our country."[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jacqueline Maley (26 December 2009). "Labor Party and Catholics | Liberal Party | Catholic Church". Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  2. ^ Snow, Deborah (23 February 2018). "Craig Emerson's book bares soul of the former Labor minister". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Hon Dr Craig Emerson MP". Senators and Members. Commonwealth of Australia. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Changes to the Ministry" (Press release). Office of the Prime Minister of Australia. 2 March 2012. Archived from the original on 16 March 2012. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  5. ^ Franklin, Matthew (1 October 2011). "Big Australia back on the agenda, says Craig Emerson". The Australian.
  6. ^ Packham, Ben (29 October 2012). "States to implement Asian white paper schools language teaching recommendation". The Australian. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  7. ^ "ParlInfo – STATEMENTS ON INDULGENCE : United Nations Security Council: Reference to Federation Chamber". 29 October 2012. Retrieved 20 November 2012.
  8. ^ "Full list of changes to the Gillard ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  9. ^ "Craig Emerson resigns as MP, minister". Nine News. Australian Associated Press. 26 June 2013. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  10. ^ Perry, Kevin (18 August 2014). "Sky News goes inside The Cabinet tonight on @Foxtel @SkyNewsAust". Nelbie. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 18 June 2015.
  11. ^ "The Boy from Baradine by Craig Emerson". Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  12. ^ Amanda Meade, 'Craig Emerson quits Sky News over Blair Cottrell interview', The Guardian, 6 August 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
David Beddall
Member of Parliament for Rankin
Succeeded by
Jim Chalmers
Political offices
Preceded by
Fran Bailey
Minister for Small Business
Succeeded by
Nick Sherry
Preceded by
Stephen Smith
Minister for Trade
Succeeded by
Richard Marles
Preceded by
Chris Bowen
Minister for Tertiary Education and Science
Succeeded by
Kim Carr