Hon. Paul Keating
His distinguished parliamentary career began in 1969 when he was elected to the House of Representatives, representing the electorate of Blaxland for the Australian Labor Party (ALP). In 1975, at the age of thirty one, he became a federal minister and held the portfolio of Minister for Northern Australia in the ALP Whitlam Cabinet.
Between 1976 and 1983 Mr Keating served in the Opposition Shadow Ministry and was spokesperson for a number of portfolios including agriculture, minerals and energyWith the election of a Labor national government in 1983, Mr Keating became Treasurer [Finance Minister], a position he held until 1991. This role saw him initiate and implement economic reforms that transformed the Australian economy. These included the progressive deregulation of the financial sector, the float of the Australian dollar, extensive tax reform, the dismantling of many protectionist barriers and the maintenance of the Accord with the Australian trade union movement. In 1984 he was named Finance Minister of the Year by financial/economic journal Euromoney.
In December 1991 Mr Keating became Prime Minister and in March 1993 he led the ALP to an historic fifth term of government. As Prime Minister he continued his progressive reform program which included the establishment of a National Training Authority, a national superannuation scheme and labour market and training reforms that addressed Australia’s long-term unemployment problems. The Keating Government also implemented the historic Mabo legislation that recognised the land rights of Australia’s Indigenous people. Mr Keating also raised proposals for constitutional reform to facilitate Australia becoming a republic.