Peta Credlin; Uncovered


Obituary, John L CREDLIN. From the Mount Wycheproof Ensign and East Wimmera Advocate, Friday 3 September 1915

Obituary, John L CREDLIN. From the Mount Wycheproof Ensign and East Wimmera Advocate, Friday 3 September 1915

The Credlins first settled in the small farming community of Wycheproof, in the Mallee some 230 Km North-West of Melbourne in 1873. Joyhn Luen Credlin had been born in Elmore in 1860 and moved to Wycheproff with his parents.

He married Mary Josephine who died in 1923.

haroldcredlinAmongst the wider family was a Leo Credlin who played 16 games for the Carlton Football Club player from 1922 to 1925. He also played one match for North Melbourne in 1930. Leo never married. (Correction – He DID marry and had a daughter, Anne. – ‘He married Margaret Mair, a teacher, born in Geelong to a couple who were Scottish immigrants. Harold and Margaret met in the Victorian Mallee region where both were working at the time. They married, had one daughter, and I am that daughter!’ Thank you, Anne)

Researching through “Trove” I found there was a Constable Edward Loius Credlin who seems to have spent much of his working life from the late 1800’s in Bendigo, living in Morrow Street.

Unconnected and irrelevant fact; There is a Credlin Reef off the coast of Mackay in Queensland.


Len Credlin, circa 1970

Len Credlin, circa 1970

Brenda Credlin

Brenda Credlin

Born around 1940, Len Credlin attended Wycheproof Primary School

After leaving school, Len a devout Catholic and a DLP supporter noted for carrying rosary beads in his pocket. A tall man, he worked as a contractor, farming on the side.

He married Brenda Mary Barry, a graduate of Santa Maria College in Northcote from the late 1950’s. She had been employed at Melbourne’s Southern Cross Hotel and was “tall for a woman”.

The family, with their four children moved to St Leonards, at the mouth of Port Philip Bay around 1985 where they opened a general store. As was standard in a family business all the children were involved in the store.

Len and Brenda went their separate ways some time before Len died. In the store he had always seemed a little unhappy, as though he was pining for the farm life he had left behind.

Nigel, their only son, went on to play with the Geelong Falcons and was drafted by Fitzroy at pick 31 in the 1995 AFL draft. Hawthorn picked him up in the 1997 pre-season draft at No. 20 although he does not seem to have played an AFL match. He is still involved with the VFA in an administrative role.


In 1971, Peta Credlin, the eldest, was born in Wycheproof to Len and Brenda. Beginning school at St Michael’s School in Wycheproof proved an outstanding student, remembered by one of her teachers as “Smarter than me”. About 1985 the family moved to St Leonards. This move was possibly made so that Peta could become a student at Sacred Heart College, Kyneton. Here she was a standout student and was elected deputy captain in 1989, her final year. She discovered her love for public speaking and debating during a Rotary high-school exchange program in California. Amongst other activities, she was an important member of the school debating team and was apparently nicknamed “Full Back”. Credlin was noted for correcting her teachers should they make any mistakes. Even then, her knowledge and confidence were formidable.

Away from school, she seems to have been the one who stood aloofly in the store, wearing her school uniform and watching what the others did. Possibly supervising even then.


She graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Melbourne. Apparently having little to do with the campus political life, she did join a branch of the Liberal Party for a short while. Credlin continued with her studies apparently on a part time basis and by 2009-2010 she had completed a graduate diploma in legal practice and had been admitted to the Supreme Court of Victoria at a time she had been demoted by Malcolm Turnbull,.


Assuming her graduation was about 1994, there is an unexplained gap of five years until she suddenly appears, in 1999, as an applicant for a position as political staffer with Liberal Senator Kay Patterson. Normally, Human Resources people are drawn, with insatiable curiosity, to unexplained gaps in employment.

After working for several years on Kay Patterson’s staff, Credlin moved to become an advisor to Senator Richard Alston, Minister for Communications in the Howard Government.


She then left politics, and worked for three years as public relations manager for Racing Victoria. This was one of just two positions outside politics held by Credlin. After John Howard lost the 2007 election she moved to Sydney and worked with the Jockey Club. credlinpic1

Ed Note:-In my research I have keep coming across Credlins involved in racing in Victoria. Perhaps racing is a family interest which may have held Peta’s attention for several years after her graduation from Melbourne Uni.

Headhunted to manage public relations, she was a natural promoting glamour at the track. Women who worked beside Credlin apologise for singling out the hats for special mention. But her millinery at spring carnival events was magnificent. Melbourne designer Paris Kyne dressed her in elegant finery with curled pheasant feathers and black lattice brims. He’s kept the handwritten “thank you” notes she sent him.

In this position she was involved in an ABC TV programme where she commented on the role of women in Racing.

I think women have come a long way in terms of being racegoers but the business side of racing I think we need to work on more and we need to, I guess, celebrate the women who put on the show, not just accessorise it. . . . . . Racing is one of the only sports where men and women compete equally on equal terms right across the board, whether it’s as an owner or breeder, jockey, trainer. And I think as a sport, if we don’t capture a new market and that new market is overwhelmingly women, women certainly have plenty of financial power these days, we will be a sport in decline. . . . . . The change will come when you have more and more women trainers and owners championing the role of women riders and ensuring that they get a leg up into the saddle as quickly as the men do”

While she was with Vic Racing, she still kept an interest in politics. When Jeff Kennett’s Liberals lost government, Credlin massaged the new Labor team. “I assumed one day she’d play a senior role in the political landscape,” says Racing Victoria’s Bernard Saundry.


Kate Legge of The Australian reported on November 05, 2011 ” Kay Patterson played credlin2matchmaker. In October 2000 she read a newspaper story about “the 42-year-old bachelor” Brian Loughnane, newly appointed head of the Victorian Liberal Party, a man “consumed by politics” whose only known hobbies, apart from horse racing, were US politics and political paraphernalia. He had grown up in Colac, near where Credlin hails from. Patterson cut out the article and stuck it on Credlin’s computer. “You need to marry this man,” she pronounced to hoots of laughter.

After fruitless efforts to arrange an introductory cup of tea, Patterson engineered a role for Credlin at Victorian headquarters during the November 2001 federal campaign where she and Loughnane worked long and late, often the last to leave. The night before they wed, at St Patrick’s cathedral in December 2002, John Howard offered Loughnane the federal directorship based in Canberra. This job is as good as it gets for a veteran trouble-shooter.”


Tired of the commute between Melbourne and Canberra, where her husband, Brian Loughnane, was based, Credlin returned to her career as a political staffer in 2005 with Senator Robert Hill help him steer WorkChoices and the Telstra sale through the Senate.

Aborting an arranged, head-hunted job with consulting firm Gavin Anderson, Credlin accepted an invitation from communications minister Senator Helen Coonan to become her chief of staff. “She ticked all the boxes,” Coonan recalls. “She’s well rounded, she’s got an astute political brain, she understands the issues, how to deal with amendments and legislation as well as the dynamic of the Senate.”

When the Howard Government was defeated at the 2007 federal election, Credlin moved to Sydney to work at the Jockey Club until she was asked by Brendon Nelson, who had been elected federal Liberal leader and Leader of the Opposition.

When Malcolm Turnbull challenged Nelson for the party leadership, Nelson counselled her to join Turnbull’s team and she was appointed his chief of staff. This was a time where her infallibility was tested. Her Senate prowess crumbled late one night during a crucial vote on Labor’s fiscal stimulus credlin7package when Coalition senators were left floundering. Soon afterwards Turnbull demoted her to deputy. Some staff wanted her gone. It was a poisonous time. Relations between Turnbull and Loughnane were spiky. But Credlin prevailed. During her tenure as deputy she booted four media assistants from a large office which she bagged for herself. She began a Masters of Law, gaining mostly high distinctions, and completed her certificate for admission to practice. “She was never in the office,” declares one of the team. although she was demoted to deputy during this tenure.

When Turnbull himself was challenged and defeated by Tony Abbott in December 2009, Credlin became Abbott’s Chief of Staff. It was reported that people were screaming, ‘Oh my God! The cockroach lives on!”

Kate Legge wrote “Credlin cut her political teeth serving Liberal ministers in the Senate before becoming the only senior adviser in Opposition to survive the last three leadership changes – Brendan Nelson, Malcolm Turnbull, Tony Abbott – shifting loyalty from one to the next. Detractors among her peer group call her “the cockroach” for this enviable instinct for self-preservation but a hard shell and an unbreakable spirit are necessary armour in combat. As Abbott fixes on the top job, Credlin is in line for the prize position of prime minister’s chief of staff.


News Ltd on May 20th, 2013 reported that, “TONY Abbott has called his chief of staff Peta Credlin “outstanding” after she was caught drink driving on the night of the Opposition Leader’s budget reply speech. Mr Abbott said Ms Credlin was “an outstanding chief of staff, really credlin8outstanding”.”Yes, she has made a mistake, she has done the wrong thing, she accepts she made a mistake and will go through the ordinary process every Australian in this position goes through,” Mr Abbott said.Mr Abbott, who was speaking to the media after a visit to a print factory in the Sydney suburb of Silverwater today, added that Ms Credlin had been caught drink driving “during her private time”.

Well, Peta Credlin is not actually a murderer.

NOT QUITE! More by good luck than good management.

She was drunk and lucky. Stopped by a policeman before she hit a car with a mother and five year old on board or a late night pedestrian or a – – – Any one of a hundred scenarios.


On 25th September, 2013 after the change of Government, ABC Online news reported, to the total surprise of absolutely no one, “Prime Minster-elect Tony Abbott’s chief of staff has avoided punishment on a drink-driving charge in the ACT Magistrates Court. Peta Credlin, 42, arrived at court flanked by her high-profile defence lawyer and Mr Abbott’s press secretary. Ms Credlin was charged with low-level drink-driving in May when ACT police caught her returning home from Mr Abbott’s budget reply speech. Ms Credlin pleaded guilty to blowing 0.075 during a breath-test, but today avoided having a conviction recorded.

Ms Credlin’s lawyer argued for the charge to be dismissed due to her otherwise clean driving record and the punishment already received by having the matter play out in the media. Her lawyer also told the court that incoming Attorney-General George Brandis, had written to the court describing Ms Credlin’s exemplary character and how she had a 21-year unblemished driving record. Magistrate Maria Doogan noted that Ms Credlin pleaded guilty at the earliest possibility. “I find the offence proven but I’m not recording a conviction,” Magistrate Doogan said.

I’m sure many other Australians charged with the same offence have been grateful for the Court’s understanding in this way.


In December, 2013, just four months after the Election, Senator Ian Macdonald said, in Parliament, “But I have to advise them (The Prime Minister’s Office) and my constituents that I will not have unelected advisers in the Prime Minister’s office telling elected politicians who are actually in touch with their constituencies what should and shouldn’t be done.”

Credlin’s micro-managing, what appears from the outside to be a finger-pointing, bullying and dedicated control freakishness have created many enemies, most of whom choose not to stand and fight. In 2011, Kate Legge reported on these traits, ‘One Coonan adviser counts eight out of 10 staff members who left the former minister’s office during Credlin’s tenure. A trickle of Abbott advisers have departed this year, each for different reasons.

Barry Everingham wrote an interesting summary on Credlin’s influence in Government in Independent Australia on 4th Oct, 2014.credlin6It should be noted that when Abbott was delivering his address at the UN to an almost empty chamber, our Ambassador to the UN and our representative on the Security Council – the experienced and universally respected Gary Quinlan ‒ was sidelined by Abbott. But who should be there at his side, in the seat of honour — of course, the ubiquitous Ms Credlin.

Everingham continues, It is becoming increasingly obvious that Abbott is under her political spell — and it needs to be asked if it is she who has been responsible for some of the more outrageous Abbott thought bubbles recently landed on an unsuspecting and increasingly bewildered electorate. . . . . . . Time to open that can of worms and see what slithers out.

IVF Interview

That influence extended to the use of Abbott’s office refrigerator as a storage facility for Credlin’s IVF efforts. In January 2013, in a badly disguised effort to overcome the perceived anti-Abbott bias of the female half of the electorate, Credlin gave an interview with Marie Claire. The Daily Telegraph chose to sensationalise a part of that interview.

Samantha Maiden reported, after her own, hurridly arranged interview with Credlin,Ms Credlin revealed Mr Abbott offered to “run interference” for her as she went through IVF, storing her fertility drugs in his parliamentary fridge and clearing out his official bathroom for her use. “He made it sound like it could work,” Ms Credlin said. “(Abbott’s) just such an optimist. He’d say, ‘It’s OK. You’re going to try again’. You can wallow in it. I never want to be one of these people whose whole life gets defined by whether I had kids,” she told The Sunday Telegraph. “You’ve also got to dust yourself off and keep going.”

That same interview revealed major differences between Abbott and Credlin with respect to women’s rights. “Ms Credlin says she told Abbott before working for him in 2010: “I will just never agree with you on abortion. I think you are opposed to it, desperately opposed to it and you would ban it if you could. But Mr Abbott replied: “Well that’s just bullshit. I believe it should be safe, legal and rare.”


Peta Credlin has been caught up in the NSW ICAC Inquiry. A collection of emails had been suppressed but later released. What they revealed was damning! The emails reveal that, in March 2011, while the Coalition was in opposition, Ms Credlin used a major donor to the Liberal Party, Brickworks, as part of Tony Abbott’s campaign against the carbon tax. Ms Credlin, the chief of staff to Mr Abbott, is married to Brian Loughnane, the party’s federal director. Brickworks was one of the largest corporate donors to the Liberal Party, giving $384,000 in a nine-month period from July 2010 to April 2011. As well as its brand Austral Bricks, Brickworks also lists property development as a core business.credlin3

The ICAC has heard that Brickworks used the Free Enterprise Foundation, a shadowy Canberra-based organisation, to channel $125,000 in illicit donations to the NSW Liberals for the March 2011 state election. Since 2009, property developers have been banned from donating to NSW political parties, but it is legal for such donations to go to federal parties. One of the previously suppressed emails reveals that, on March 1, 2011, Mr Nicolaou sent Ms Credlin an email titled “Re Carbon Tax” advising that Brickworks was “a very good supporter of the Party.”


Credlin has become the giraffe in the room. At six foot and with an erotic grace which precludes the usual pachydermic allusion she dominates this government like no other person.

Everything the Abbott Government does and says must be looked at through a “Credlin-lens” because everything, from staffing appointments, slogans and daily talking points up to and including policy comes from her!

Unelected, unaccountable and unstoppable!

8 responses to “Peta Credlin; Uncovered

  1. And she is fabulous


  2. Just outstanding!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve been watching Peta on sky news and find her very interesting. She sounds like an awesome lady


  4. Peter Halloran

    I’m sure convicted DUI low range Australians will instruct their lawyers to use PETA’s case as a legal precedence and if unsuccessful create legal argument for discrimination .
    Beauty height and brains, sounds like a winning formula.


  5. I would like to make a correction to the above, which I read with interest.
    Leo Credlin, the former footballer who then qualified as a civil engineer, and subsequently rose to a very senior position in the then State Rivers and Water Supply, Victoria, did indeed marry a teacher from a Scots family background, and I am their daughter!


  6. I note that Harold Leo Credlin, known as Leo and mentioned early in this article, was presumed never to have married. This is quite incorrect. He married Margaret Mair, a teacher, born in Geelong to a couple who were Scottish immigrants. Harold and Margaret met in the Victorian Mallee region where both were working at the time. They married, had one daughter, and I am that daughter!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you, Anne. Sorry I missed your first comment. Correction made.


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