Since Tony Abbott took over as Opposition Leader in 2009, there have been whispers about the role and influence of his Chief of Staff, Peta Credlin. In the last few weeks, these grumblings have become news reports as a trickle of leaks and public statements from within the government have become a flood.
Peta Credlin is suddenly making more headlines than the PM himself, and politically? That’s a serious problem. Staff are their to guide and support a leader in the media and in their decision making; they’re not supposed to become the story.
Who holds the power behind closed doors?
There have been reports that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop will no longer take direct orders from Credlin and other Ministers feel frustrated by her extreme power. Politicians, such as Queensland Senator Ian McDonald, have come out and said she is too controlling to work with. Just this morning Paul Sheehan penned a piece for the Sydney Morning Herald on the sheer power of the ‘Credlin Phenomenon’.
Apparently Prime Minister Tony Abbott even calls Credlin “the boss” behind the scenes, but who is Peta Credlin and what is her role? We’ve decided to break it down for you…
Who is Peta Credlin?
Peta Credlin has been Abbott’s Chief-of-Staff since 2009. Before this, the trained lawyer had been Chief of Staff to former opposition leaders Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull. Credlin is married to Brian Loughane, the Federal Director of the Liberal Party. They are known as a ‘power couple’ in political circles.
The Prime Minister speaks highly of Credlin and values her opinion above all others. Some members of the government have expressed concern that Tony Abbott may be prioritising his staffer’s views over that of his elected Cabinet – and they are blaming the government’s poor performance in the polls on Credlin’s influence.