|Minister for Industry and Innovation|
14 December 2011 - 26 June 2013
|Minister for Energy and Climate Change|
14 September 2010 - 26 June 2013
|Minister for Defence Materiel and Science|
9 June 2009 - 14 September 2010
|Member of the Australian Parliament|
24 November 2007 - 7 September 2013
Gregory Ivan Combet|
28 April 1958
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Children||1 daughter, 1 stepdaughter, 1 stepson|
University of New South Wales|
University of Sydney
Gregory Ivan Combet AM (; born 28 April 1958) is a former Australian politician and trade unionist. He was Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions between 2000 and 2007. He was elected member for the New South Wales Federal seat of Charlton for the Australian Labor Party at the 2007 election and was immediately appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement in the First Rudd Ministry on 3 December 2007. Combet was the Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation in the Second Gillard Ministry before announcing his resignation from the ministry on 26 June 2013 following Gillard's defeat in a leadership ballot. He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, when Penny Wong was the Minister.
On 29 June he announced he would be retiring from politics at the 2013 election.
Greg Combet was born in Sydney and attended Eastern Creek Primary school, then Rooty Hill High School from years 7 to 10. He completed his secondary education at Baulkham Hills High School. He was later educated at the University of New South Wales where he studied mining engineering, and then graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Economics, and a Graduate Diploma in Labour Relations and the Law. He was a project officer for the New South Wales Tenants' Union, before working for the Lidcombe Workers' Health Centre. In 1987, he was employed by the Waterside Workers' Federation, now part of the Maritime Union of Australia.
Combet's association with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) began in 1993 when he became a Senior Industrial Officer. In 1996 he was elected Assistant Secretary and in 2000, following the retirement of Bill Kelty, he became Secretary. Over his time at the ACTU, Combet has co-ordinated many union campaigns, including the 'Cavalcade to Canberra' of 19 August 1996, an anti-Howard Government protest which ended with breakaway protesters attacking Parliament. He rose to further prominence during the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute. Combet also participated in campaigns to secure entitlements and compensation for the staff of the collapsed airline Ansett Australia and asbestos victims of the James Hardie company. In his capacity as Secretary of the ACTU, Combet led the campaign against the Howard Government's WorkChoices industrial relations law changes.
On 25 March 2007, The Sunday Age reported that senior Labor Party figures had announced that Combet would run for election representing the ALP in the safe seat of Charlton in New South Wales. However, later that day Combet told The Age newspaper that he was not planning an entry into federal politics at the 2007 election, preferring instead to continue leading the ACTU's campaign against the industrial relations law changes. On 4 May 2007, Combet confirmed his intention to run for Charlton. The sitting member for Charlton, Kelly Hoare, expressed anger at losing preselection for her seat, and for a time considered running as an independent.
Combet stood down as ACTU Secretary to campaign full-time in Charlton in the lead up to the federal election. On 14 June 2007 Jeff Lawrence, National Secretary of the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union (LHMU) was elected unopposed as the next Secretary of the ACTU.
Combet was elected as the new member for Charlton on 24 November 2007 as part of the ALP's victory in the 2007 Australian federal election, achieving a two party preferred swing of 4.47 percent, winning 62.87 percent of the two party vote. Following the election, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed Combet as Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Procurement in the First Rudd Ministry. He was sworn in on 3 December 2007. In February 2009, Combet was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, with a focus on emissions trading, to assist Climate Change Minister Senator Penny Wong.
As a result of the resignation of Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon and the subsequent ministerial reshuffle, Combet was promoted to the outer ministry on 6 June 2009, as Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science and Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change. Combet's portfolio was amended in April 2010 to Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and Minister for Defence Materiel and Science and to help him focus on the Government's energy efficiency programs, he axed part of this scheme - Home Insulation Program (HIP) in late April due to the safety risks and the blow out in funding.
Combet was re-elected to Charlton at the 2010 federal election, suffering a post-redistribution two party swing of 0.24 percent, winning 62.67 percent of the two party vote. After Labor was returned to government in this election, Combet entered Cabinet, succeeding Wong as Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. Following the passage of the government's Clean Energy Bill, the portfolio of Industry and Innovation was added to Combet's responsibilities. Combet had decided to step down over health concerns prior to Prime Minister Gillard's defeat in a leadership spill on 26 June 2013, but brought this decision forward and announced he would step down as minister and not contest his seat in the upcoming election. The seat of Charlton was subsequently won for the ALP by Combet's former advisor and chief-of-staff Pat Conroy.
Combet became a consultant to AGL and Santos in September 2014.
Combet is a director of the Chifley Research Centre.
On 12 June 2006, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for service to industrial relations and through advocacy for the improved health and safety of workers, including people affected by asbestos-related diseases, and to the community.
In 2014, Combet published his autobiography The Fights of My Life. Since leaving politics, he is pursuing a career in the superannuation industry and the private sector.
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member of Parliament for Charlton
| Minister for Defence Materiel and Science
| Minister for Energy and Climate Change
| Minister for Industry and Innovation
|Trade union offices|
| Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions