Damian Drum

Damian Kevin Drum (born 28 July 1960) is an Australian politician who has represented Murray and Nicholls in the Australian House of Representatives since the 2016 federal election as a member of The Nationals. Drum served as the Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister in the Second Turnbull Ministry between 20 December 2017 and 5 March 2018.[1][2]

Damian Drum

Member of the Australian Parliament
for Nicholls
Assumed office
18 May 2019 (2019-05-18)
Preceded bySeat created
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Murray
In office
2 July 2016 (2016-07-02)  18 May 2019 (2019-05-18)
Preceded bySharman Stone
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister
In office
20 December 2017 (2017-12-20)  5 March 2018 (2018-03-05)
Preceded byNew ministerial title
Succeeded byKeith Pitt
Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for the North Western Province
In office
30 November 2002  31 October 2006
Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for the Northern Victoria Region
In office
25 November 2006  26 May 2016
Victorian Minister for Sports and Veterans Affairs
In office
17 March 2014  4 December 2014
PremierDenis Napthine
Preceded byHugh Delahunty
Succeeded byJohn Eren
Personal details
Damian Kevin Drum

(1960-07-28) 28 July 1960
Shepparton, Victoria, Australia
Political partyNational Party

Australian rules football career
Personal information
Original team(s) Congupna
Height 180 cm (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 80 kg (176 lb)
Playing career1
Years Club Games (Goals)
1982–1989 Geelong 63 (34)
Coaching career3
Years Club Games (W–L–D)
1999–2001 Fremantle 53 (13–40–0)
1 Playing statistics correct to the end of 1989.
3 Coaching statistics correct as of 2001.
Sources: AFL Tables, AustralianFootball.com

Drum is the former member for the North-West Region and later the Northern Victoria Region in the Legislative Council of Victoria between 2002 and 2016; and served as the Victorian Minister for Sports and Veterans Affairs in the Napthine Ministry from March to December 2014.[3]

He is also a former Australian rules footballer and coach, most notably as senior coach of the Fremantle Football Club in the Australian Football League from 1999 to 2001. He turned to a life in politics after being sacked as Fremantle's coach during the 2001 season.

Early life

Drum was born in Shepparton. After graduating from high school, he became a carpenter and joiner, running his own shed construction business for several years. At the same time, he embarked on a football career, and was drafted to the then-VFL's Geelong Football Club in 1981. Over the next nine years, he played 63 games for Geelong. While playing football, he also operated his own business selling sheds and garages. He retired from the VFL at the end of 1990, and joined Victorian Football Association club Werribee in 1991.[4]

Coaching career

In 1993, he quit his business and took up a coaching position with Port Melbourne in the VFA, leading the club to a Grand Final loss against his former club Werribee. In 1994, he moved to Sydney, taking up a position as the assistant coach of the Sydney Swans in the Australian Football League (AFL), under head coach Ron Barassi. After five years in this role, Drum was approached by Fremantle, who had not renewed the contract of their first coach, Gerard Neesham. Drum had been one of the most highly anticipated coaching recruits of the season, and some were surprised that he signed with the struggling Dockers. He had been expected to sign with the Collingwood Football Club the previous year, but the deal had fallen through.

Drum coached Fremantle for three seasons, during which the side suffered from a lack of success. In his first season, the club finished 15th (second-last). There was a slight improvement in his second season, in which Fremantle won several high-profile games; still, the club struggled, finishing twelfth. However, it was the 2001 season, in which Fremantle lost their first nine games of the season, that sealed Drum's fate. He was dismissed after the club's round-nine loss to the Sydney Swans, and was replaced by former Fremantle player and inaugural club captain Ben Allan,[5] who didn't fare much better, with the Dockers still winless after Round 17 in a 22-round season.

After losing the Fremantle job, Drum moved back to Victoria and took up a position as coach of the Bendigo Diggers in the Victorian Football League. The situation was similar to Fremantle – the Diggers finished the season winless, with a single draw against the Murray Kangaroos.[6] At the end of the season, Drum decided to retire from football and move into politics, successfully seeking Nationals pre-selection for the Victorian Legislative Council seat of North Western Province at the 2002 state election.[7]

Political career

Victorian parliament

Drum was first elected to parliament in 2002 during the Labor Party landslide, in which many seats across the state fell to the minority government, and numerous shadow ministers lost their seats. Drum was elected despite the losses sustained by the conservative parties, with the Liberal Party losing a net total of 26 seats while the Nationals suffered a net loss of only one seat.[8]

Despite being a newly elected member with no previous political experience, Drum advanced quickly in the Nationals' ranks. The Liberal and National parties had broken off their Coalition in 2000, and hence fought the 2002 election separately. As a result, the Nationals had to organise a shadow cabinet of their own. Drum soon found himself Deputy Leader of the National Party in the Legislative Council,[9] party Whip, and Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs, Education Services, Sport, Recreation, Racing, Consumer Affairs and the Commonwealth Games. From 2003 onward, he was a member of the Environment and Natural Resources Committee.

For the 2006 election the Legislative Council underwent major structural changes. Drum's previous seat of North-West Region was replaced by the much larger Northern Victoria Region and proportional rather than preferential voting. Drum was easily elected with a quota in his own right and was the only National Party member for the region.[10]

In March 2014, Drum was appointed Minister for Sports and Veterans Affairs in the Napthine coalition government, serving until the government was defeated at the 2014 state election.[3]

Federal parliament

On 11 April 2016, the Nationals announced that Drum had been preselected to contest the federal seat of Murray at the 2016 federal election.[11] He resigned from the Victorian Legislative Council on 26 May, prior to the closing date for the nomination of candidates for the federal election.[12] The seat had been held by the Liberal's Sharman Stone, who announced her retirement on 26 March 2016.[13] Because there was no sitting Coalition member, a three-cornered-contest for the seat ensued, in which Drum defeated his Liberal opponent, Duncan McGauchie,[14][15] son of Donald McGauchie.[16] Drum ultimately prevailed with 55 percent of the two-party vote to McGauchie's 44 percent. This, however, did not make Murray a marginal seat. It had been held by either the Liberals or Nationals since its creation in 1949; the Coalition would have won it with well over 70 percent of the vote in a "traditional" two-party matchup with Labor. Indeed, much of the region had been held by a conservative party without interruption since Federation.

Murray was abolished ahead of the 2019 election, and was essentially replaced by the Division of Nicholls. This seat was as comfortably safe as its predecessor, and Drum won the new seat at that election with 70 percent of the two-party vote.


  1. Turnbull, Malcolm (19 December 2017). "Ministerial Arrangements" (Press release). Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. Damian Drum, currently the Chief Nationals Whip, will join the ministry as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.
  2. Belot, Henry (1 March 2018). "Darren Chester handed Veterans Affairs portfolio in Cabinet reshuffle". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  3. Willingham, Richard (13 March 2014). "Premier Denis Napthine announces fresh frontbench". The Age. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  4. Barrett, Damian (6 April 1991). "Grand final action replay". Herald-Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 67.
  5. Hinds, Richard (31 May 2001). "Drum deserved a more dignified exit". Sydney Morning Herald.
  6. West, Luke (16 September 2010). "Diggers' days relived ... Diggers-Bombers team of the decade".
  7. Halliday, Claire (17 November 2002). "Good sports try their hands at a new game". The Sunday Age.
  8. "Former AFL coach saves Nats". The Age. Melbourne. 9 December 2002.
  9. Baker, Richard (10 December 2002). "Nats get some coaching tips". The Age.
  10. Colebatch, Tim (13 December 2006). "Preferences trip up all but the DLP". The Age.
  11. "Damian Drum wins Nationals pre-selection for Victorian seat of Murray". ABC News. 11 April 2016. Retrieved 11 April 2016.
  12. "DOCUMENTS RELATING TO THE CALLING OF THE DOUBLE DISSOLUTION ELECTION FOR 2 JULY 2016" (PDF). Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 8 May 2016. Archived from the original (PDF) on 8 May 2016.
  13. "Sharman Stone: Liberal MP for Murray retires from politics after 20 years". ABC News. Australia. 26 March 2016. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  14. "McGauchie concedes, Drum wins Murray". The Weekly Times. 13 July 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  15. "Murray, VIC". Tally Room, 2016 Federal Election. Australian Electoral Commission. 23 July 2016. Archived from the original on 8 August 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
  16. Wallace, Rick (16 April 2016). "Duncan McGauchie wins preselection to replace Sharman Stone". The Australian. Retrieved 23 July 2016.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Sharman Stone
Member for Murray
Division abolished
Division created Member for Nicholls
Political offices
New ministerial post Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Keith Pitt
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