Mark Arbib

Mark Victor Arbib
Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness
Assumed office
14 September 2010
Preceded by Tanya Plibersek
Minister for Sport
Assumed office
14 September 2010
Preceded by Kate Ellis
Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
Assumed office
14 September 2010
Australian Senator for New South Wales
Assumed office
1 July 2008
Personal details
Born 9 November 1971 (1971-11-09) (age 40)
Chippendale, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Kelli
Residence Australia
Alma mater University of New South Wales
Occupation Senator
Profession Union Official
Religion Roman Catholic

Mark Victor Arbib (born 9 November 1971) is an Australian politician. He has been a Labor member of the Australian Senate since July 2008, representing the state of New South Wales. He was the Australian Labor Party State Secretary of the New South Wales branch from 2004 to 2007. In February 2009, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Government Service Delivery, a position within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Since 14 September 2010, he is currently the Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development, the Minister for Sport and Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness.



Arbib was born in the Sydney suburb of Chippendale. His father, Eric Arbib was of Libyan heritage and spoke Italian, moving to Australia in the 1960s and becoming a property developer. His mother Lola was born in Sydney, and had to raise Mark and his brother after the death of their father when they were young.[1] He has a Master of Arts in Political Science and Economic History from the University of New South Wales.[2]

He lives in Sydney with his wife Kelli and two daughters. He is a supporter of the Sydney Roosters NRL club.

Early career

While studying, Arbib worked part time at a Sizzler restaurant in Bondi Junction. When there were moves to remove penalty rates, he negotiated on behalf of the part time workers and signed up members to the Liquor Trades Union.[3] Later he worked variously as a metal trades assistant, beach inspector and restaurant cook, but became increasingly involved in the trade union movement. In 1995, he was elected as President of NSW Young Labor after joining the Party in 1992. He served as Assistant General Secretary from 1999 and was the ALP State Organiser between 1996 and 1999.[2]

Career as General Secretary

Arbib was elected General Secretary of the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch) in June 2004.[2] In 2005, he was elevated to the role of national convener of the party's right wing.[4] In 2007, Arbib was Campaign Director for Morris Iemma's successful 2007 state election campaign.[2] Following the 2007 Election victory for the Labor Party, he was credited by former premier Bob Carr as "one of the best campaigners in the business."[5] However the opposition has criticised his role in procuring political donations for the Labor party from business groups.[6]

In January, 2008, the Sydney Morning Herald quoted an organisation which makes political donations to the Labor Party as saying that Mark Arbib made an art form out of extracting political donations from businesses. Said the donor: "There's no doubt Arbib wrote the book in terms of both political donations ... and their importance ... It's fine to take the higher ground and say 'we won't make donations' ... but if you don't you have got zero chance of getting (to see them)." Arbib denied the allegations.[6] Arbib was named in the ABC television program Four Corners in relation to political donations to the NSW Labor Party.[7]

Federal politics

Arbib was preselected for the number one position of Labor's New South Wales Senate ticket and won a seat at the 2007 federal election.[8]

From 1 July 2008 to 30 March 2009, Arbib served on the Senate Committees for Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Corporations and Financial Services, and Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. He was also the Co Convenor of a bipartisan parliamentary group: Parliamentarians Against Child Abuse and Neglect (PACAN) and is an Ambassador of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.

Arbib is a member of the ALP National Executive (from 2004) and a member of the ALP National Executive Committee (from 2007). In February 2009, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Government Service Delivery.[9][10] In the June 2009 reshuffle, he was promoted to Employment Participation Minister and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Government Service Delivery.[11] On 24 June 2010 he was one of the main players in the downfall of Kevin Rudd, then in his first term as Prime Minister. Arbib used his power as leader of the NSW right faction to shore up numbers to depose Rudd in favour of Julia Gillard.[12] In August 2010 Arbib stood down from the ALP National Executive to concentrate on his portfolio duties. In November 2010 Arbib was the first Federal Labor Party front bencher to support same-sex marriage.[13]

International work

The United States diplomatic cables leaks revealed that Mark Arbib was in regular contact with and acted as a 'protected' source and confidential contact for the US government,[14] providing inside information and commentary on the workings of the government and the Labor Party to officers at the US embassy in Canberra.[15][16][17]


  1. ^ Wainwright, Robert (22 July 2006). "The party planner". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Australian Labor Party : Mark Arbib – Senator Elect for New South Wales
  3. ^ Steketee, Mike (16 March 2005). "The Right's friendly new face". Australian. News Limited. 
  4. ^ Snow, Deborah (19 February 2005). "Labor's New Right Sparks". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Benson, Simon (26 March 2007). "Arbib's Mastermind Campaign". Daily Telegraph (News Limited).,22049,21444583-5001021,00.html. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Clennell, Andrew (2008-01-28). "Anger over Iemma's lopsided election campaign war chest". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 1 August 2008. 
  7. ^ Ferguson, Sarah (14 April 2008). "Dirty, Sexy Money". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Coorey, Phillip; Humphries, David; Clennell, Andrew (2 May 2007). "ALP preselection bloodletting begins". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Karvelas, Patricia (2 February 2009). "Fast rise for former ALP state secretary Mark Arbib". Australian (News Limited).,25197,25075678-5013404,00.html. Retrieved 19 February 2009. 
  10. ^ Hudson, Phillip (19 February 2009). "Rudd promotes favourite Arbib". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 19 February 2009. 
  11. ^ Hudson, Phillip (8 June 2009). "Arbib to be Labor's man on the jobs". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  12. ^ Tatnell, Paul (25 June 2010). "Gillard must watch her back: Latham". Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax). Retrieved 27 June 2010. 
  13. ^ Karvelas, Patricia (6 November 2010). "Mark Arbib wants Labor to back gay marriage". Australian (News limited). Retrieved 9 November 2010. 
  14. ^ Maley, Paul; Dodd, Mark; Wilson, Peter (10 December 2010). WikiLeaks outs Mark Arbib as US informant "WikiLeaks outs Mark Arbib as US informant". Australian. News Limited. WikiLeaks outs Mark Arbib as US informant. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  15. ^ Dorling, Philip (9 December 2010). "Yank in the ranks". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Dorling, Philip (9 December 2010). "Arbib revealed as secret US source". The Age. Fairfax. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 
  17. ^ Dorling, Philip (9 December 2010). "The American friend: Arbib secret source". Canberra Times. Fairfax. Retrieved 10 December 2010. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Brendan O'Connor
Minister for Employment Participation
Succeeded by
Kate Ellis
Preceded by
Tanya Plibersek
Minister for Social Housing and Homelessness
2010 – present
Preceded by
Kate Ellis
Minister for Sport
2010 – present
New title Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development
2010 – present

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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