James Anthony McGrath is an Australian politician and current Senator for Queensland, having served since 2014 as a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland. He sits with the Liberal Party in the federal parliament and was appointed Shadow Assistant Minister for Finance and to the Leader of the Opposition following his re-election in 2022.
McGrath was born on May 14, 1974, in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. He attended Toowoomba State High School and Nambour State High School, the latter known for its alma mater of notable politicians such as Kevin Rudd and Wayne Swan. He went on to graduate from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws, where he was President of the Griffith University Liberal Club. He then completed a Master of Laws at the Queensland University of Technology and worked as an articled clerk in a legal firm before working with the Queensland Parliamentary Ombudsman between 1999 and 2001.
Before entering politics, McGrath was a political strategist who worked with Lynton Crosby on Boris Johnson’s successful 2008 London mayoral campaign and on the Maldivian Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential election victory.
McGrath’s political career began in earnest when he served as the deputy federal director of the Liberal Party of Australia from 2009 to 2010. He was then campaign director for the Liberal National Party and the Country Liberal Party between 2010 and 2012, during which the LNP recorded the largest ever electoral victory in the state of Queensland.
In 2013, McGrath was elected to the Senate and made his first speech the following year, calling for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate to rise to 15 percent and for the abolition of federal education and healthcare. He also defended people’s right to say “hurtful and bigoted and stupid and dumb things.”
McGrath’s political career has not been without controversy, including his resignation from Boris Johnson’s mayoral administration in 2008 for allegedly racist comments. He was also revealed in 2011 to have paid a disgruntled Labor staffer for dirt files on government MPs, and in 2018, was photographed alongside a group of Young LNP members making the “OK” hand gesture, which has become associated with white supremacist symbolism. Additionally, in 2019, he faced widespread condemnation for posting a picture of a dead cockatoo on his Facebook page, which was not the first time he had posted such content. Despite these controversies, McGrath remains an influential figure in Australian politics.
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