Michaelia Cash – The Screech From Floreat Beach.

Michaelia Clare Cash was born on 19 July 1970 in Subiaco, Western Australia.[1]  Her father was Samuel Ernest (George) Cash who was a long term State politician in both the Lower and Upper House. He was a Minister and later President of the Legislative Council in Western Australia. [2] Her mother was Ursula Clare Yelland. [9]

“From an early age, I learnt that you can either talk about change or be part of the change process,” she said. “My parents brought my siblings and I up with a very simple philosophy – to achieve, you work hard, and to achieve more, you simply work harder. There were never any excuses made for me and to this day I am very glad that a strict work ethic was instilled in me at a very young age. I have been criticised by some who claim I am a workaholic but I would say that hard work and maximum effort has simply been a way of life – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” [2]


Educated at Iona Presentation College in Mosman Park, Cash graduated from Curtin University with a Bachelor of Arts with a triple major in public relations, politics and journalism. [2]

While studying, she became a member of the Liberal Party of Western Australia and was an executive member of the Curtin University Young Liberals from 1988 to 1990. She was then part of the Western Australian Young Liberal Movement, where she held numerous positions including State Vice-President. Cash was also a long-time member of the Liberal Party of Western Australia’s State Council, and was President of the Moore Division. She has also served on the Party’s State Executive. [2]

With a keen interest in the law, in addition to her law degree which she received from the University of London, Senator Cash holds a Bachelor of Arts with a triple major in public relations, politics and journalism from Curtin University in Western Australia and a Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Western Australia.  [1]   (05:26, 27 July 2008)


Prior to entering Federal Parliament, Senator Cash was a Senior Associate at the law firm Freehills in its Perth employment and industrial relations practice, where she worked from 1999 to 2008.[2]

“I practiced in all areas of employment and industrial law including industrial relations, employee relations, occupational health and safety, equal opportunity, executive employment, and unfair dismissal,” she said. “In June 2001 I was seconded to the Freehills Melbourne office for 12 months where I gained valuable insight into the federal industrial relations system.” [2]

Cash moved on to become a staffer in the office of Ross Lightfoot.   Lightfoot was the Liberal maverick best known for posing with an AK-47 assault rifle in Iraq while handing over a $US20,000 donation from Woodside to the Kurdish regional government. [7]  Lightfoot was also a long-term partner of the now retired Foreign Minister and Member for Curtin, Julie Bishop.[8]




Michaelia Cash Married

On 26 January 2002, Senator Cash married Richard Price, a barrister and brother of the late political journalist, Matt Price.


They live in Floreat, a Western suburb of Perth. The couple have no children but, according to unsubstantiated rumour, enjoy the company of their 3 cats.


Cash apparently enjoys a curry.



A leading female inspiration throughout her political career has been Margaret Thatcher. “If there was a glass ceiling for women in politics, Margaret Thatcher smashed it,” she said. “In 1975 she achieved much of what the world is still trying today to achieve for women. She was a working mother. She was a professional – studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths based education).  She was the object of scorn and vitriol from many on the left of politics and yet she did not wilt. She towered over her critics. She got on with the job, because she was a politician of action.” [2]

Pre-selected in third position on the Western Australian Liberal Party ticket in 2007, she replaced the retiring 71 year old Ross Lightfoot at the 2007 ‘Kevin in 07’ General Election.


Following her election to the Senate, she was elected to the Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties.

By 2010 Cash had added the the Regulations and Ordinances Committee to her CV.  Then in September 2010 Tony Abbott made her the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Status of Women and the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration.


With the election of the Abbott Government in 2013, Cash was appointed the Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women in the Abbott Government on 18 September 2013.

By then her CV had grown to include a number of Committees.

  • Senate Standing: Regulations and Ordinances from 2.2.10 to 7.2.13.
  • Senate Legislative and General Purpose Standing: Education, Employment and Workplace Relations from 1.7.08 to 14.5.09; Education, Employment and Workplace Relations: Legislation Committee from 14.5.09 (Deputy Chair from 2.2.10) to 23.8.11 and References Committees from 14.5.09 (Chair from 2.2.10) to 23.8.11.
  • Senate Select: Men’s Health from 3.2.09 to 12.5.09; Climate Policy from 17.3.09 to 15.6.09.
  • Joint Statutory: Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity from 16.3.12 to 5.8.13.
  • Joint Standing: Treaties from 1.7.08 to 7.7.11; Migration from 1.7.11 to 5.8.13.
  • Joint Select: Christmas Island Tragedy from 3.3.11 to 29.6.11; Australia’s Immigration Detention Network from 22.6.11 to 30.3.12.

Cash was also a Temporary Chair of Committees from 2.2.10 to 28.9.10.


Following the leadership change from Abbott to Turnbull, Cash was appointed the Minister for Employment and the Minister for Women on 20 September 2015.



In April 2016 18 year old Josh Park-Fing died from head injuries sustained when he fell from a flatbed trailer being towed by a tractor while completing a Work for the Dole program at the Toowoomba Showgrounds, for which he was paid $218.75 per week.

An internal report to Cash completed in September 2016 was not released in 2016.



Around one minute into employment minister Michaelia Cash’s interview with 3AW’s Neil Mitchell, the Melbourne radio journalist summed up what was to come over the next nine minutes.
“Oh dear,” he said, as Cash struggled to explain the Turnbull government’s submission to the Fair Work Commission’s minimum wage case, which claimed that low paid workers are “often found in high-income households”.
While it offered little by way of opinion in its submission to the FWC’s recent decision to cut Sunday penalty rates, the Turnbull government had far stronger views for the annual review of the minimum wage, arguing an increase was “not an efficient way to address relative living standards or the needs of the low-paid”.
Mitchell wanted to know “how many of the 200,000 people struggling on $17.70 an hour are coming from high income households? How relevant is the minimum wage in that case.”
“The minimum wage is absolutely relevant and no one denies that,” she replied.
So Mitchell pressed for a number. Again and again. He wanted a figure for workers going home to “fat rich parents at home” or “going home to wealthy support”.
“That’s not what the government is saying,” Cash said.
“Yes it is,” Mitchell replied.
And on it went, with Cash trying to explain that: “Often what it is, is that they will have another partner that has a high income and they are part of the contribution to that household’s income”.
She accused Mitchell of trying to “pick and choose”, before deflecting that it was a detail “provided to us from the department”.
But he was undeterred, saying “If 99% of low income workers have got higher paid houses to go home to, then it’s entirely different than if it’s 1%. Now what is it? Do we know?”
She tried to fend him off again: “I think this is where the confusion lies. Very much. You need to look at the submission as a whole, OK?” [6]


The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) is calling for Employment Minister Michaelia Cash to answer all questions about when and what she knew about disgraced industrial cop Nigel Hadgkiss breaking the Fair Work Act.
Minister Cash has admitted to knowing for just under a year that Australian Building and Construction (ABCC) chief Nigel Hadgkiss had acted unlawfully in regards to the laws he was supposedly enforcing.
The ACTU, on behalf of working people, want to know who else in the Turnbull Government knew about this reckless law breaking and why they covered it up?
The Turnbull Government has now said it will pay Mr Hadgkiss’s legal fees with taxpayers’ money. That cannot and should not happen. [4]

“Taypayers should not be paying his legal expenses — Mr Hadgkiss was a political appointment to a $426,000 a year job, not elected by anyone, who took it upon himself to blatantly act unlawfully for years.”
“It’s evident this is a cover-up that must extend far beyond the Minister Cash’s office.”
“Despite resigning in disgrace, Minister Cash has praised Mr Hadgkiss for re-establishing the rule of law, even though she has known for almost a year about his law breaking behaviour.”
“Working people have no faith in this Government or the bodies they create and people they appoint.”
“Minister Cash has spent the past two years attacking working people and their unions, and she has never been held to account for her vicious behaviour.”
“Instead of focusing on mass underemployment, stagnant wage growth and finding a solution to the youth unemployment crisis, Minister Cash has used every opportunity as an elected official to attack unions and working people.”[4]


Michaelia Cash bought her fourth property on 4 November last year (2017) when she acquired the house next door to her home in the prestigious Perth suburb of Floreat. The Employment Minister settled on the $1.4 million property a month later. But it was only following questions from the media that Cash registered the new property – on 21 January – or eight days later than she should have. Politicians are required to update their register of interests within 35 days of purchase.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has accepted Cash’s apology, explaining she was “mortified” by the error, and emphasised the delay was only a matter of days and that Cash had been away on holidays at the time. “She is a very hard working and punctilious Minister and she’s had an oversight here and she’s very sorry about it,” he said. [3]

In a December 2017 cabinet reshuffle, Cash was appointed to the new position of Minister for Jobs and Innovation. The old employment portfolio was abolished, while her other two positions were relinquished to Kelly O’Dwyer.


Buzzfeed 25 Oct 2017

A staff member in the office of employment minister Michaelia Cash has resigned after BuzzFeed News revealed journalists from two news outlets received a tip-off from Cash’s office ahead of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids on the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU). Cash told Senate Estimates on Wednesday evening she had been advised that “without my knowledge” a single staff member in her office found out from a “media source” about the raid, and then told journalists.

The minister said she was not aware of the information until the raids took place. The staffer is “very distressed”, Cash said, and has now resigned. The late admission was in contradiction to earlier statements from Cash, who had denied throughout the day that anyone in her office leaked the information. She later said she was not informed about it at the time.

The AWU Sydney and Melbourne offices were raided on Tuesday afternoon in relation to donations made by the union over a decade ago when it was led by current Labor leader Bill Shorten. AWU secretary Daniel Walton told Sky News the media arrived outside both AWU offices 15 minutes before the AWU received a phone call advising it that a warrant had been issued. Walton said that when asked, members of the media told AWU staff they were there to cover the raid.

Cash denied five times her office leaked the information, telling Senate Estimates her office was not informed about the raids until they had begun. “I found out as it unfolded on the television after I returned from a meeting yesterday about 4.45pm on the ABC,” Cash said on Wednesday morning. “My understanding was that a phone call was made to my office once the search warrant was issued just before I saw it on the television … 4.30, 4.45pm,” she said.

When asked if she or her office advised any other person about the raid, Cash said: “No, as I said I literally watched it on the television unfold myself”.

When asked again if anyone in her office had tipped-off the media, Cash said: “I said my office received a phone call from the Registered Organisation Commission notifying them that search warrants were being executed as the phone call was being made.”

When asked a third time, Cash said her office fielded media calls for her to respond after the raids, but denied it had tipped-off the media. “I have full faith in my staff,” she said.

When asked a fourth time, Cash said she could “assure” senators that her office “did not find out about the raids until after they were being conducted”. Cash then refuted the claims for a fifth time saying:

DOUG CAMERON: Can you assure the Senate that no-one in your office called any media outlets about 3.30 yesterday?

MICHAELIA CASH: Yes I can and quite frankly I am offended on behalf of my staff as to those allegations. They are very serious allegations.

CAMERON: They are questions.

CASH: They are very serious allegations and I refute them.

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull later told Question Time: “The minister for employment has assured me that she did not advise any journalists about the raid … she is in estimates, I believe, this afternoon, and will no doubt have the opportunity to go into this in great detail.”

BuzzFeed News has spoken to journalists who claim they received a phone call from Cash’s office an hour before the raids, to make sure there would be cameras outside the AWU offices in Melbourne and Sydney.

The journalists say Cash’s office phoned them around 3.30pm on Tuesday with the location and time of the raid, emphasising that it would take place at a union office. The staffer pointed out the union in question, the AWU, used to be run by Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Labor has backed independent senator Nick Xenophon’s call for an independent inquiry to establish who tipped-off the media prior to the AFP raids. “If Turnbull and his Liberals have nothing to hide, then they must support this inquiry,” MP Brendan O’Connor said. “Turnbull and his Liberals need to immediately answer what they knew, when they knew it and who they told.” [11]

Buzzfeed 23.12.2017

Employment minister Michaelia Cash has been ordered by a Federal Court judge to turn over any documents to the Australian Workers Union (AWU) about her office’s involvement in tipping off media about a police raid on the AWU.

The AWU launched a Federal Court challenge seeking a declaration that the Registered Organisation Commission (ROC) investigation was politically motivated and invalid, and that the subsequent raids on their office were unlawful.

The union served subpoenas to Cash; Mark Lee from the ROC; the Fair Work Ombudsman; and Cash’s former senior media adviser David De Garis. Parts of each subpoena were challenged by the recipients on a number of grounds.

Cash applied to the court to have her subpoena set aside, but on Wednesday Federal Court justice Mordy Bromberg ruled that she would have to provide the union with materials about who was involved in the media tip off.

The judgement is mostly a victory for the union, however Cash succeeded in having some documents struck out.

The court action followed revelations from BuzzFeed News that Cash’s office tipped off media and aims to probe the validity of the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids. The raids were part of an investigation by the Turnbull government-established watchdog the ROC into donations made by the union over a decade ago when it was led by current Labor leader Bill Shorten.

Justice Bromberg ordered that Cash and each party should disclose a number of documents and communications prior to the raids on the AWU.

Cash’s office challenged parts of the subpeona that sought any documents that “concern any offer of engagement or employment made to Mr Lee” and any subsequent decision to suspend or withdraw this offer.

The subpoena followed a report alleging he was set to begin working for Cash’s office. The court ruled that any documents that did show the details of any employment arrangement were relevant and should be disclosed to the AWU.

Several categories of documents sought from Cash’s office by the AWU were struck out by the court. The judge found: “Whilst the Minister may have an interest in the outcome of this proceeding, she is not a party to it and ought not be burdened with making substantial enquiries in the search for documents unless and until it is apparent that the documents sought may be of assistance to the AWU’s case”.

De Garis resigned in October after admitting he tipped off the media about the AFP raids on the AWU’s Sydney and Melbourne offices in October.

Media arrived at union offices before the raids took place, and BuzzFeed News revealed that media outlets had been tipped off by Cash’s office.

Cash denied her office had any involvement in tipping off media five times in Senate Estimates, before conceding after she spoke with her staff that the leak did come from her office.

Cash is using the current AFP investigation to block freedom of information requests to release communication that would provide more information as to what she and her staff knew about the raids, when they knew it, and who they told.

The union requested any correspondence between Cash, her office and the ROC, in addition to any correspondence between the minister and relevant staff members. This could include any text messages, emails, phone lists and other correspondence.

On Wednesday, Cash was promoted by prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, adding jobs and innovation to her list of portfolio responsibilities.

De Garis has taken a job with the Australian Hotels Association, which made a $10 million deal with Cash in August to take 10,000 interns under the government’s PaTH program.

Cash’s office indicated she would be in a position to produce the documents by December 22, while De Garis said he would need up to two weeks after the delivery of the judgement. Lee said he would be able to deliver them by the middle of January 2018. [10]



In an histrionic tirade directed towards Labor Senator Doug Cameron for asking needling but legitimate questions about the name and employment “provenance” of a new chief of staff, Cash retaliated with cage-fighting abandon and lack of personal and professional control.

“If you want to start discussing staff matters, be very, very careful. Because I am happy to sit here and name every young woman in Mr Shorten’s office over which rumours in this place abound. If you want to go down that path today, I will do it.” [5]


News.com.au , 1st March 2018; MICHAELIA Cash has withdrawn comments made in Parliament yesterday about female staff members “unreservedly”, but has fallen short of apologising over the remarks. The Liberal Minister withdrew her threat to “name young women” in Bill Shorten’s office in today’s Senate Estimates hearing, but also took the opportunity to call Labor Senator Doug Cameron a “bully” in the same breath.

“I am more than happy to withdraw the comments unreservedly,” Senator Cash said, before request Senator Camerons’ questions about her own staff which provoked her outburst, to be withdrawn as well.  Senator Cash’s withdrawal follows numerous requests for her to apologise over the threat.

Earlier, she made a bizarre entrance to Senate estimates, hiding behind the shield of a whiteboard in a bid to evade cameras following her controversial rant in Parliament yesterday.


Senator Cash appeared in the corridors of Parliament House in Canberra ahead of a hearing but could only be seen momentarily as she passed a gap between a white screen with wheels and a wall. The whiteboard had reportedly been rolled into the middle of the walkway by security to give the minister privacy as she entered the committee room.

Cameramen can he heard in video footage of the incident asking Senator Cash: “Why are you hiding, minister?” and “Why do you need protection?” The Senator didn’t respond.[12]


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