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Andrew Bragg
Headshot of Senator Andrew Bragg, Parliament House Canberra, ACT.jpg
Senator for New South Wales
Assumed office
1 July 2019
Personal details
Born (1984-07-11) 11 July 1984 (age 39)
Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Political party Liberal
Occupation Accountant
Manager
Website https://www.andrewbragg.com/

Andrew James Bragg (born 11 July 1984) is an Australian politician who was elected as a Senator for New South Wales at the 2019 federal election. He is a member of the Liberal Party. A member of several committees related to finance and technology, Bragg advocates changes to the Australian retirement system and supports the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Early life

Australian National University, Canberra
Bragg at college graduation.

Bragg was born in Melbourne and grew up in Shepparton, Victoria. He played for the Congupna Football Club. He attended local Catholic schools before going on to study accounting at the Australian National University. Bragg's father and three of his grandparents were born in the United Kingdom, and he was a British citizen by descent until renouncing it in December 2017.

Career

Bragg is a trained accountant who worked in internal audit at Ernst & Young.

He then served seven years at the Financial Services Council first in superannuation and asset management policy and later as head of policy.

From 2014 to 2016, Bragg served as Director of Policy & Global Markets at the Financial Services Council. He worked to establish two key pieces of industry self-regulation: a superannuation governance standard and the Trowbridge Review & the inaugural Life Insurance Consumer Code of Practice.

In November 2016 he became the policy director of the Menzies Research Centre, a Liberal Party think tank. He became the executive director of the Business Council of Australia in August 2017.

During the period he worked for the Financial Services Council, Bragg completed a Master of Financial Regulation from Macquarie University.

Politics

Andrew Bragg Swearing In
Bragg (center) at the swearing-in ceremony.

Prior to the 2016 federal election, Bragg was an unsuccessful Liberal preselection candidate for both the Senate ticket in New South Wales and the Division of Murray in Victoria.

In April 2017, following the resignation of Tony Nutt, Bragg was appointed as the acting federal director of the Liberal Party. He was considered an ally of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. However, he was not chosen to fill the position permanently. Later in the year, he was the national director of the Liberals & Nationals for Yes campaign during the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.

Bragg was a candidate for Liberal preselection at the 2018 Wentworth by-election, caused by Turnbull's retirement from parliament. He was considered the frontrunner for a period, but withdrew from the race due to concerns that the preselection of a male candidate would be poorly received. He stated that "the Liberal Party should preselect a woman and my withdrawal can pave the way".

In 2018, Bragg won preselection on the Coalition's Senate ticket. He was elected to the Senate at the 2019 federal election.

Bragg serves on Senate committees focused on financial technology, economics, and financial services. He led the effort to create a year-long inquiry into Australia's financial technology sector then chaired the resulting committee. Bragg formed a 15-person advisory committee of legal and business experts to advise the Australian government on policies that could increase the country's competitiveness with countries like China in the financial technology sector. Bragg led a motion requiring the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) disclose information about its content-sharing agreement with The New Daily. After ABC cancelled the contract with The New Daily, Bragg wrote an op-ed supporting the move in The Daily Telegraph that said The New Daily was the propaganda arm of the superannuation industry. After Bragg refused to retract the statement, The New Daily threatened a defamation lawsuit.

Views

Bragg is a member of the Moderate Faction of the Liberal Party.

Bragg is a vocal critic of industry superannuation funds, which invest mandatory retirement contributions from workers. When Bragg worked for the Business Council of Australia, he lobbied to require the funds use independent directors. In Bragg's first speech after being elected to the Senate, Bragg discussed why he opposed mandatory retirement payments. Bragg also advocates for mandatory disclosures from industry superannuation funds on how retirement funds are being managed and how much money is given to trade unions.

Bragg supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which would require the legislature to consult a network of representatives of indigenous people before passing legislation affecting indigenous people. He lobbied other politicians to support the legislation as well. He also supported having the Australian government purchase the copyrights to the Aboriginal flag. so constituents could use the flag without worrying about copyright infringement. Bragg supports the creation of a dedicated precinct for burying the remains of indigenous people that would be called the National Resting Place or "Ngurra Precinct."

Bragg urged the Australian legislature to pass regulations for cryptocurrency in an effort to encourage cryptocurrency companies to start in Australia. He also advocated for big tech companies like Facebook and Google to make a proportional number of content deals with smaller publishers as they do with larger ones. He participated in negotiations between Facebook and smaller news organizations to broker content agreements with a more diverse range of publishers. Bragg was also an important figure in the "Consumer Data Right" privacy legislation.

Bragg led the Liberal Party's campaign to support same sex marriage, criticized anti-Asian comments during the COVID-19 pandemic, and advocated for carbon-neutral policies.

Author

Bragg contributes to The Australian Financial Review, The Daily Telegraph and The Australian and appears on the ABC and Sky News. He is the author of Fit for Service (2017), the essay "Scrap Iron for Japan" in Paul Ritchie's Forgotten People Updated (2018), and Bad Egg: How to Fix Super (2020). Bragg also published a book called Buraadja: The Liberal Case for National Reconciliation, a three-part series focused on the history of the rights of indigenous people in Australia.

Personal life

In March 2020, Bragg tested positive for coronavirus as part of a cluster of cases associated with a wedding.

Bragg is a Grand Commander in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia's Order of Christ-loving. He was awarded the honour by Archbishop Makarios after assisting the archbishop to obtain Australian permanent residency. He is reportedly "the first non-Greek and non-Orthodox person to receive the highest honour that the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia can bestow".

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