James McGrath (Australian politician)

James McGrath (born 14 May 1974) is an Australian politician and Senator for Queensland since 2014. He is a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland and sits with the Liberal Party in federal parliament.

James McGrath
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister
In office
21 September 2015  22 August 2018
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded by
Succeeded bySteve Irons
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
In office
18 February 2016 (2016-02-18)  19 July 2016
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Preceded byMichaelia Cash
Succeeded byAlex Hawke
Senator for Queensland
Assumed office
1 July 2014
Preceded bySue Boyce
Personal details
Born (1974-05-14) 14 May 1974
Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia
Political partyLiberal
Other political
Liberal National Party of Queensland
Alma mater
OccupationPolitical adviser

Early life

McGrath was born in Toowoomba and graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Laws and from the Queensland University of Technology with a Master of Laws. He was admitted as a solicitor and worked as an articled clerk in a legal firm before working with the Queensland Parliamentary Ombudsman between 1999 and 2001. McGrath is a former political strategist who worked with Lynton Crosby on Boris Johnson's 2008 London mayoral campaign[1][2] until June 2008 when he was endorsed by the Liberal Party of Australia after saying of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, "let them go if they don't like it here."[3]


Between 2009 and 2010, McGrath was the deputy federal director of the Liberal Party of Australia. He was 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.[4]


McGrath was elected to the Senate at the 2013 federal election. In 2014, he delivered his maiden speech, calling for the GST rate to rise to 15 per cent, federal health and education departments to be abolished, youth radio station Triple J and ABC to be privatised and defended people's right to make homophobic comments as well as "hurtful and bigoted and stupid and dumb things".[5] He served as Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister in the Turnbull Government from September 2015 to August 2018, and Assistant Minister to the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection from February to July 2016.[6]

Having supported Malcolm Turnbull in the 2015 leadership spill, McGrath rebelled against Turnbull in 2018, with a view that a Queensland leader such as Peter Dutton would advance the success of the LNP in his home state. Consequently, he resigned from his executive position on 22 August 2018.


On 5 October 2019, Senator McGrath posted a picture on his Facebook page with the caption "Car 1. Flock of cockatoos 0." The picture depicted a dead and mangled cockatoo in the roof rack of a vehicle presumably Senator McGrath's. This lead to widespread condemnation online. [] []

It was soon revealed that this was not the first post of its kind by the Senator, who in 2007 posted a picture of two dead birds caught in the grill of a car with the caption "I think dinner tonight has been sorted thanks to my bullbar. Suggestions for how to cook the roadkill?" []. In other posts he has suggested hitting as many as six kangaroos in a single evening [] and has referred to cockatoos as "Menaces" and that "Anyone who thinks cockatoos are cute needs their head read by a suitably qualified medical professional" [].

Senator McGrath later updated the original caption suggesting that the context of the post had been "missed" and that the post was highlighting the "The dangers faced by drivers" in the country. []


  1. "Old adversary 'gobsmacked' by LNP appointment". Brisbane Times. 15 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  2. Remeikis, Amy; Hurst, Daniel (24 November 2012). "LNP selects top three for Senate bid". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  3. "London mayor sacks Australian over race jibe". Sydney Morning Herald. 24 June 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
  4. "Senator the Hon James McGrath". Parliamentary biography. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  5. "Liberal senator James McGrath makes radical call for GST rise, privatisation of 'left-biased' ABC". Sydney Morning Herald. 16 June 2014. Retrieved 16 June 2014.,
  6. "Ministerial Swearing-in Ceremony". Events. Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Sue Boyce
Senator for Queensland
Political offices
Preceded by
Josh Frydenberg
as Parliamentary Secretary
Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister
Succeeded by
Steve Irons
Preceded by
Alan Tudge
as Parliamentary Secretary
New ministerial post Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection
Succeeded by
Alex Hawke

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