Senator for Victoria Incumbent Assumed office
Personal details Born 5 March 1970
Adelaide, South Australia
Nationality Australian Political party Australian Labor Party Alma mater Monash University
Feeney was born in Adelaide. His father is a immigrant from Northern Ireland. Raised Catholic, he attended Mercedes College, Adelaide before moving to Melbourne, where he attended Monash University, gaining a Master's degree in Public Policy. He worked in the national office of the Transport Workers Union, and for Ian Baker, a Labor member of the Victorian Parliament. A prominent member of the right-wing Labor Unity faction, Feeney served as Victorian State Secretary of the Labor Party and State Labor Campaign Director from March 1999 to December 2002, where he enjoyed considerable success as a fund-raiser and campaign director. Despite this, he was dismissed in 2002 as a result of a change in factional alignments within the party.
Feeney then worked for the Labor Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, as Director of Strategy, and was the Campaign Director for Labor during the 2006 South Australian state election. The re-elected Labor Premier, Mike Rann, referred to him in his victory speech as "my Eisenhower". During the 2007 federal election campaign Feeney was Labor's Assistant National Secretary, in charge of marginal seat campaigning. In December 2006 he supported Kevin Rudd's successful challenge to the leadership of Kim Beazley.
In March 2006 Feeney was endorsed as a Labor candidate for the Australian Senate from Victoria for the 2007 federal election. It was initially expected that he would succeed Robert Ray as the lead Labor Senate candidate, but as a result of factional agreements involving the powerful Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association (SDA) this position went to former Senator Jacinta Collins, and Feeney was given the third position on the Labor ticket, which he narrowly won, ahead of the Australian Greens candidate.
Feeney took his Senate seat on 1 July 2008. In 2010, as the Rudd government declined in opinion polls, was one of the factional leaders, along with Mark Arbib, Don Farrell and Bill Shorten, involved in the replacement of Rudd as leader of the Labor Party and Prime Minister by Julia Gillard. It was Arbib and Feeney who persuaded Gillard to agree to challenge Rudd for the Labor leadership. This group became known in the media as "the faceless men."
At the 2010 federal election Labor narrowly retained government with the support of the Greens and indepenent members. On 14 September 2010, Feeney was sworn in as Parliamentary Secretary for Defence in the Gillard Government. He faces re-election to the Senate at the 2013 federal election.
Feeney is married to Liberty Sanger, a principal and board member of Maurice Blackburn lawyers.
Current members of the Australian Senate NSW Vic QLD WA SA Tas Territories Labor (ALP) • Democratic Labor (DLP) • Greens (Grn) • Liberal (Lib) • Country Liberal (CLP) • National (Nat)
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