Who’s really calling the shots?

A huge source of power for the Minerals Council of Australia is a secretive revolving door that sees key staff go back and forth between the highest positions in politicians’ offices, the public service, coal companies, and the coal lobby.

Here are just some of the powerful players behind the scenes.

In Scott Morrison’s office:

John Kunkel

Chief of Staff

John Kunkel is the Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff, but before that was the deputy CEO of the Minerals Council from 2010-2016, and the Chief Advisor, Government Relations at Rio Tinto from 2016-2018.

Read More

Brendan Pearson

Senior Advisor

Brendan Pearson is Senior Adviser at the Office of the Prime Minister. Before that he was the CEO of the Minerals Council from 2014 to 2017.

Read More

Current Minerals Council of Australia staff and directors:

Helen Coonan

Chair of the Minerals Council

Helen Coonan is the current Chair of the Minerals Council. Before that, she was a Cabinet Minister during the Howard Government from 2004-2007.

Read More

Tania Constable

CEO of the Minerals Council

Tania Constable is the current CEO of the Minerals Council, and has held a number of senior roles in Government, including being the Sunrise Commissioner for Australia and Timor Leste during the controversial development of the Joint Petroleum Development Area and Greater Sunrise Project.

Read More

Sid Marris

General Manager

Sid Marris is currently the Minerals Council’s General Manager – Strategy, State & Territory Relationships. Previously he spent almost 9 years at the Minerals Council before becoming Senior Advisor – Energy, Climate Change, Resources and Northern Australia for Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Sid Marris had also been the Canberra bureau chief for The Australian before moving to the Minerals Council.

Read More

Matthew Steen

Director – Economics & Industry Policy

Matthew Steen was an adviser to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott before joining the Australian Coal Association in 2013, which was then subsumed by the Minerals Council. Matthew is now the Director – Economics & Industry Policy at the Minerals Council.

Read More

Leanne Fry

Manager, Creative and Design

Leanne Fry worked for the Liberal Party before joining the Minerals Council of Australia as Manager, Creative and Design 4 years ago.

Read More

Simon Troeth

General Manager, Industry Positioning and Engagement

Simon Troeth is the General Manager, Industry Positioning and Engagement at the Minerals Council. He previously worked in John Howard’s office and the Premier of Victoria’s, amongst many roles in government for the Liberal Party, before joining the Minerals Council in 2017.

Read More

Mark McCallum

CEO, COAL21

Mark McCallum is the CEO of Coal21 and was the General Manager – Climate and Energy for the Minerals Council from 2018 to 2020. He is also Chair and Co-Founder of Harry Communications, which has worked on projects with the Prime Minister. He has also held various oil and gas lobbyist roles.

Read More

James Sorahan

Director, Taxation

James Sorahan was a policy adviser to the former Minister for Resources, Martin Ferguson, and before that Minister Chris Bowen. He is currently the Director, Taxation for the Minerals Council of Australia and the Executive Director of the Minerals Council of Australia – Victoria Division.

Read More

Patrick Gibbons

Director – Climate Change, Environment and Energy.

Patrick Gibbons is the Minerals Council’s Director – Climate Change, Environment and Energy. Patrick has previously worked for former Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt, as an adviser for many years and in adviser roles in other Liberal governments at state and federal level.

Read More

Ben Dillaway

Senior Manager – Media

Ben Dillaway is the Senior Manager – Media to the Minerals Council of Australia. Previously he was the Deputy Chief of Staff and former media adviser to the Hon. Steve Ciobo while Ciobo was a senior Government Minister.

Read More

Demus King

General Manager of Trade, Investment and Investor Relations

Demus King is the General Manager of Trade, Investment and Investor Relations at the Minerals Council. He has previously held a range of senior roles in Government departments including the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism including oversight of NOPSEMA, and worked as the Manager of Government Relations at BHP from 2017 – 2018.

Read More

Mark Bonner

Principal Adviser, Climate Change

Mark Bonner is Principal Adviser, Climate Change at the Minerals Council of Australia. He has held several senior roles in Federal and Queensland government departments.

Read More

Megan Davison

Executive Director – Members (Eastern Australia Regions)

Megan Davison has been at the Minerals Council of Australia since 2007. Before this she worked for the Australian Greenhouse Office, the Commonwealth Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, and the Victorian Department of Primary Industries.

Read More

Ellen Butler

Manager of Engagement

Ellen Butler is the Manager of Engagement for the Minerals Council of Australia, and held various roles in Government departments from 2005 – 2012. She also worked as a Government Relations adviser for Shell from 2012 – 2015.

Read More

Josh Cosgrave

Director – Low Emissions Technology

Josh Cosgrave is the Director – Low Emissions Technology at Minerals Council of Australia. He previously has held roles in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and Resources, Energy and Tourism.

Read More

We need our politicians to answer to the community, not the coal lobby – but this won’t happen until we put an end to the revolving door. Take action and call on companies and politicians to Cut All Ties.

Ways to Get Involved

Here’s the plan to take back our democracy from the polluters

Here’s the plan to take back our democracy from the polluters

Our strategy
Take action by ‘Adopting an Office’ near you

Take action by ‘Adopting an Office’ near you

Take action
The Dirt File

The Dirt File

Read more