Victorian Labor appoints new state secretary

Victorian Labor has appointed a new state secretary as it looks to move past the branch stacking scandal that has engulfed the party, with senior government bureaucrat Chris Ford appointed to the powerful role.

It's understood former Premier Steve Bracks and former federal cabinet minister Jenny Macklin have agreed for Mr Ford to fill the top job being vacated by Clare Burns.

Hailing from central Victoria, he is currently the chief of staff for Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes and has previously worked at KPMG and the Department of Treasury and Finance.

He also plays as a local footballer for Brunswick's VAFA side.

Premier Daniel Andrews' deputy chief of staff Jessie McCrone was among those in contention for the role until the decision was made to appoint Mr Ford.

Ms Burns was appointed as state secretary in November last year but was due to take maternity leave this month and has recently been living in Canberra.


Steve Bracks. Picture: AAP
Steve Bracks. Picture: AAP


Jenny Macklin. Picture: AAP
Jenny Macklin. Picture: AAP


It comes as Ms Bracks and Ms Macklin lead a comprehensive review of the party into allegations of industrial-scale branch stacking.

The review was triggered after 60 minutes aired explosive secret tapes that led to the resignation of the Andrews Government ministers, including factional powerbroker Adem Somyurek.

The scandal also prompted a federal intervention into the Victorian branch that has suspended voting rights for the more than 16,000 rank and file Labor members.

Affiliated trade unions, including the CFMEU, have vowed to fight the intervention in court if Labor leaders cannot come to an agreement that allows them to maintain a voice within the party.

Mr Andrews and other senior Labor figures are meeting with unions over the coming weeks to hear their concerns.


Commissioner of the Australia Electoral Commission Tom Rogers.
Commissioner of the Australia Electoral Commission Tom Rogers.




Victorians will be asked what a new federal electorate should be named after the state was awarded an extra seat in the House of Representatives.

The state's booming population earned it the extra spot in Parliament following a redistribution of federal electoral divisions.

Australian Electoral Commissioner Tom Rogers also announced Western Australia and the Northern Territory would each lose a seat.

"The figures show the population has increased sufficiently to result in Victoria increasing its entitlement by one seat," Mr Rogers said.

"At the same time, the determination of entitlement requires Western Australia and the Northern Territory to each decrease by one seat."

The Electoral Commission will meet on July 14 to begin the process of redrawing boundaries.

"Redistribution Committees will be appointed and the public will soon be invited to make suggestions and comments on matters affecting the drawing of federal electoral boundaries and the naming of electoral divisions," Mr Rodgers said.

Originally published as Victorian Labor appoints new state secretary