Meet Rod

Fueled by a fierce personal commitment to equality and fairness, I dedicated myself to giving a voice to those whose struggles often went unnoticed. In the heart of parliament, I stood as a passionate advocate, driven by the belief that everyone’s experiences and opinions deserved acknowledgment. My mission was deeply personal; it was about ensuring that the stories of everyday individuals, much like my own, were heard and respected. With every effort, I fought to break down barriers and change perceptions, pushing for policies that genuinely reflected the needs of the people I represented. It was not merely a job—it was a calling, a purpose that fueled my determination to create a world where every person, regardless of their background, felt seen, valued, and understood. Through my advocacy, I aimed to make equality and fairness more than just ideals, but tangible realities for each and every one of us.


Rod’s achievements in Parliament include but are not limited to:

Made touting illegal in Victoria

Secured amendments to ensure a review of the governments’ Commercial Passenger Vehicle reforms.

Secured a Parliamentary Inquiry into Homelessness in Victoria

Appointed to Advisory Panel to supply recommendations to Transport Minister in response to the impact of Covid-19 on the CPV industry, will also be advising on the government response to the Parliamentary inquiry into the reforms of the CPV 2017

Secured the Parliamentary Inquiry into Expanding the Free Tram Zone

Secured government support for Channel 31 to renew their broadcasting license

Secured a parliamentary inquiry into the Multi Purpose Taxi Program

Was successful in lobbying to have the CPV industry included in the May 2021 lockdown $5000 business support grants that continued throughout the year

Secured support to save the Nagambie – Avenel – Euroa school bus

Supported the Road Safety Amendment Bill 2019 to see mandatory license suspension for people who travel 45km above the speed limit

Secured amendments to the Road Toll inquiry

Secured an Inquiry into Rural Public Transport Needs

Secured a $22 million COVID-19 support package for the CPV and Taxi Industry

The Legislative Council passed Rod’s motion to acknowledge the damage caused to Taxi and Hire Car Licence holders by the 2017 reforms

Successfully lobbied the government to have the taxi and hire car industry eligible for the Business Costs Assistance Program during lockdowns. These grants were up to $2800 per week. 

Successfully lobbied the Legal and Social Issues Committee to begin a parliamentary inquiry into Children of Imprisoned Parents

Personal Life

I was born and raised in Melbourne and had lived in the Eastern Metropolitan region for more than 40 years. My ambition had never been to become a politician, but rather to fight for what is fair. I entered parliament at the age of 60.

Before that, most of my life was dedicated to building my own small business as a hire and taxi car operator. In 2014, Uber entered the taxi and hire car market illegally. Their cars didn’t carry a valid license to operate in Victoria, and the fares they charged were below the cost of delivery – they were simply buying market share. Overnight, my business took a dramatic turn. Suddenly, and through no fault of my own, everything slipped through my fingers, and the financial pressure became so intense that I lost my home. At that moment, I knew I would never own a home again.

So, just seven months before the 2018 state election, I formed a political party and launched my campaign with the support of the commercial passenger vehicle sector. With their backing, we managed to secure a seat in the upper house. I entered parliament with a singular purpose: to fight for fairness and represent those who are often left to fall through the cracks.

What Rod Believes

I believe every Australian has the right to fair and equal pay, sick leave, holiday pay, superannuation, and parental leave. I firmly believed that it is time for governments to be held accountable for their actions and decisions. Democracy, to me, is not just about having a representative government; it is about holding the government accountable. Transparency, accountability, and cutting red tape are principles I firmly stand by.

I advocated for government intervention to address the increasing casualization of the workforce, the rising costs of living, and to put a stop to the exploitative work practices of the gig economy.

During my tenure as an elected representative of the Eastern Metropolitan region, I had the privilege of taking my community’s voice, experiences, and issues to parliament. This was a role I took very seriously, understanding the importance of representing my community to the best of my ability.

I am now the program lead for ManpowerGroup Australia, overseeing some upcoming select projects in the months ahead. Together, we are working on a strategy that will assist the unemployed, underemployed, and those working in the gig economy to create employment opportunities. This will enable us to recruit, train, and employ workers, ultimately creating a pathway to secure, well-paying full-time employment with all the associated benefits, including Super. I firmly believe that the gig economy model is neither fair nor sustainable, especially not in the best interests of working families.


“I did not go to parliament to throw rocks and stifle progress. I went to parliament to ensure my community were heard. Those  four years have shown that we can negotiate with this government and effect change for the better.”

Rod Barton