The Hon Brendan O'Connor MP is the Minister for Skills and Training, a Cabinet position in the Albanese Labor Government.
A belief in the benefits of secure employment and quality education and training, as well as a commitment to fairness and equal opportunity, led Mr O’Connor to commence his career in a union.
He represented the interests of Victorian workers before becoming Assistant National Secretary of the Australian Services Union (ASU).
He was elected to parliament in 2001 and has since headed several portfolios.
As Minister for Employment Participation, he overhauled the employment services system, streamlining the process to provide a personalised service called Job Services Australia.
As Minister for Home Affairs, one of his many noteworthy achievements includes reforming Australia’s anti-dumping regime to encourage fairer and equitable business practices.
Mr O’Connor went on to serve as Minister for Small Business at Cabinet level, the first time in over ten years that the portfolio had been elevated to such a level. Mr O’Connor worked to cut red tape and support growth and jobs through tax reform, including the $6500 Instant Asset Write-off to assist Australia's 2.7 million small businesses to improve their cash flows and the introduction of Australia’s first Small Business Commissioner.
In 2013, Mr O’Connor was elevated to Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and finished the term as Minister for Employment, Skills and Training.
From 2013 – 2019, Mr O’Connor was appointed Shadow Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. In 2019, he was appointed Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry, Science, and Small and Family Business as a member of Anthony Albanese’s Labor frontbench team and served as Shadow Minister for Defence from January 2021 until Labor won the 2022 election.
Mr O’Connor has degrees in Arts and Law from Monash University and completed Harvard University’s Trade Union Program.