Senior unionist to join the Premier’s staff

One of the state’s most powerful unionists is taking a leadership role in the office of Premier Peter Malinauskas.

Aug 24, 2023, updated Aug 24, 2023
Sonia Romeo with Josh Peak, who succeeded her as  secretary of the SDA. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

Sonia Romeo with Josh Peak, who succeeded her as secretary of the SDA. Photo: Tony Lewis / InDaily

The Premier, a former state secretary of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees’ Association (SDA), is preparing to welcome his successor in the union role, Sonia Romeo, to a senior position in his office.

Romeo, a former secretary and, until this week, assistant secretary of the SDA, commonly known as the Shoppies, will come on board as Deputy Chief of Staff in late September.

InDaily understands that Malinauskas wanted Romeo on board from the beginning of his reign but she wasn’t prepared to make the move until recently.

While unknown to most South Australians, Romeo has been politically influential for years, both leading SA’s largest union and convening the ALP’s dominant Right faction, Labor Unity.

Her husband Dan, who was chief of staff to former Labor Premier Jay Weatherill, was also in the news this week after it was revealed at a parliamentary committee that he had joined the Premier’s Delivery Unit.

InDaily understands that Sonia Romeo’s appointment doesn’t represent an expansion of the head count in the Premier’s office, as several staff have left in recent months.

The SDA announced this week that Romeo would be replaced as assistant secretary by Jordan Mumford.

In a Facebook post, the union paid tribute to Romeo’s contribution.

“Sonia first joined the union as a teenager while working at Foodland and has made significant and lasting contributions to the union and our members,” the union said.

“To SDA members, Sonia has always been an advocate, making a tangible difference to the lives of many. She has always put the interests of our members first and fought for positive change.”

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