Glenn Sterle

Glenn Sterle

Glenn Sterle (born January 3, 1960) is an Australian politician. A former trade union organiser, he has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian Senate since 2005, representing the state of Western Australia.

Sterle was born in Melbourne, but was raised in the Perth suburb of Langford. He attended Thornlie Senior High School, but dropped out at the age of 17 to work as a furniture removalist. Three years later, he founded his own business operating road trains throughout northern Western Australia and the Northern Territory. He spent fourteen years working as an owner-operator before giving up his business to take on a position as an organiser with the Transport Workers Union in 1991. As well as working as an organiser, Sterle served on his local branch committee, and was ultimately elected to the union's federal council in 1998, remaining in all three positions until his election to the Senate in 2004. His time with the union included a brief stint as acting state secretary in 1998 and an integral role in a major airline strike in the state in 2000. It was also during this period that Sterle received the Centenary Medal, in 2003, for services to training in the transport industry.

Sterle's involvement with the union prompted him to join the Australian Labor Party in 1991, and in 1999, he was elected as a delegate to the party's state conference. He served as the ALP's transport policy convener in 2000, and was a delegate to the party's national conference in 2002 and 2004. He subsequently decided to make a bid to enter parliament, and in the leadup to the 2004 federal election, challenged the preselection of veteran Senator and former Cabinet minister Peter Cook. Cook was determined to remain in parliament, but withdrew from the ballot of their shared Centre Faction when it became clear that Sterle had achieved enough support to win. As a result, Sterle gained the second position on the party's Senate ticket and was easily elected to parliament. As with many newly elected Senators, Sterle has tended to be a fairly low-profile figure since taking his seat on 1 July 2005, although he has been sharply critical of the Howard government's industrial relations changes and attempts to limit parliamentary scrutiny of government actions.

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