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The $1M annual travel fund for members of the major political parties and trade unionists - paid for by you

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You may not have known about your gift of about $1M per year to fund overseas travels for young political apparatchiks.

Welcome to another special privilege available only to members of the major political parties and of course their trade union mates.


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Here are the people who decide who gets paid to go where.

Organisation of the Council

The Principals

The Principals of the Council are the Parliamentary Leaders of the four main political parties in the Federal Parliament. The Principals are:

  • The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia; 
  • The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Australian Labor Party;
  • The Hon Warren Truss MP, Leader of The Nationals; and
  • Senator Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens. 

Council Membership


The Hon Alan Ferguson The Hon Alan Ferguson
Chairman of the Australian Political Exchange Council 
(appointed March 2014)


Members (in order of appointment)

Mr Brian Loughnane Mr Brian Loughnane 
Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia
(appointed February 2003)
Mr George Wright Mr George Wright 
National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party
(appointed June 2011)
The Hon Tony Smith MP The Hon Tony Smith MP
Member for Casey
(appointed June 2014)
The Hon John Cobb MP The Hon John Cobb MP
Member for Calare
(appointed June 2014)
Gary Gray AO MP The Hon Gary Gray AO MP
Member for Brand
(appointed August 2015)
Senator  Senator Sarah Hanson-Young Senator Sarah Hanson-Young
Senator for South Australia
(appointed August 2015)

Past Chairs and Council Members


The Minister with portfolio responsibility for the political exchange programme is the Special Minister of State, The Hon Mal Brough MP.

Special Minister of State The Hon Mal Brough MP
Special Minister of State, Minister for Defence Materiel and Science

And who gets to use your $1M to fund their travel wish-list?

Council Activities


Outgoing Delegations

Each year the Council considers delegate nominations put forward by the parties of the Principals. Nominees are young Australians considered by their respective parties to have the potential to make a significant contribution to political life.

Delegates are required to be party members, Australian citizens and if possible, between the ages of 25 and 40 (with the exception of the exchange programme with the United States of America where the age limit must be 40). To maximise developmental opportunities, delegations comprise a representative, broadly-based group of young Australian political leaders. Delegates are selected from a range of political backgrounds including:

  • members of federal and state parliaments; 
  • party organisations, both professional and voluntary; 
  • industry associations; 
  • trade unions; 
  • members of ministerial and electorate staffs; and 
  • local government representatives. 

Nominations must be forwarded to the Council through political parties’ secretariats / nominated offices.