Revolving Doors

James McGrath

James McGrath

Fossil Fuels | LNP | Revolving Doors

Current Positions

  • Senator for Queensland, elected 2013, re-elected 2016 and 2022
  • Shadow Assistant Minister to the Leader of the Opposition from 5.6.2022
  • Shadow Assistant Minister for Finance from 5.6.2022
  • Chair of the Young Liberals Sunshine Coast Branch (Qld)


  • Various roles with the Conservative Party (UK) including Deputy Campaign Director for the Boris Johnson Mayoral Campaign, Special Adviser to Shadow Chancellor, Chief of Staff to the Party Chairman, Campaign Co-ordinator 2002-08
  • National Presidential Campaign Director for the Maldivian Democratic Party, 2008

Past Positions

  • Chair of Education and Employment Legislation Committee
  • Chair of Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters from 2014 to 2015
  • Deputy Chair of Education and Employment References Committee from 2019 to 2021
  • Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister from 21.9.2015 to 28.8.2018
  • Assistant Minister for Immigration from 18.2.2016 to 19.7.2016
  • Assistant Minister for Regulatory Reform from 29.3.2017 to 20.12.2017

Mining Connections

  • Queensland LNP senator James McGrath performed various roles for the UK Conservative Party from 2002-08. McGrath worked as a political operative for conservative campaign managers Crosby Textor (now C|T). C|T has lobbied on behalf of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation, which controls extensive coal assets in Australia,the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) in Queensland, and has worked for the Queensland Resources Council.
    • C|T has also managed campaigns for the UK Conservatives and the Australian Liberal Party. Lynton Crosby was a key political strategist in UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s inner circle. Textor was a key gure inside the office of Tony Abbott when he was the Parliamentary leader of the federal Liberal Party.
  • McGrath was elected as a Queensland Liberal senator in 2013. Senator McGrath’s August 2014 Statement of Registrable Interests reveals he was contracted to Santos GLNG and KPMG in the period September 2013 to 30 June 2014, that is, after election to the Senate but before his maiden speech – in which he claimed to wear the shoes of Santo Santoro and thanked National Party Senator Matthew Canavan, once a Liberal, for his friendship.
  • McGrath served as minister assisting PM Malcolm Turnbull from September 2015 to August 2018 but switched allegiances to the camp of hardline leadership contender, Peter Dutton, in the leadership spill.
  • In April 2019 McGrath threatened to call for the federal environment minister, Melissa Price, to be sacked if she did not sign off on the final Commonwealth approval for the Adani project. Minister Price subsequently gave approval to Adani’s groundwater-related management plan on 8 April 2019. According to the CSIRO and Geosciences Australia, Adani’s groundwater modelling was “not suitable”.
  • As a Senator in 2014, McGrath sat as part of a Senate Select Committee Inquiry and heard evidence in relation to coal seam gas projects in Queensland. Senator McGrath, however, had a conflict of interest due to his employment with the Santos GLNG project during the relevant period. McGrath failed to inform witnesses (or note on the transcript) that he had a conflict of interest due to employment with Santos GLNG. It is unknown whether McGrath informed other Senators, or the Senate Select Committee Secretariat, regarding this conflict.

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