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Hon. Paul Keating

In July 2009, Mr Keating, former Prime Minister of Australia, became the Patron of the John Curtin Prime Ministerial Library. The Hon. Paul Keating resigned as JCPML patron in June 2014.

Brief Biography

Paul Keating was Australia’s 24th Prime Minister, leading the nation from December 1991 to March 1996. Paul Keating is one of the great Australian political leaders. His continued high international standing reflects his political and social achievements, his knowledge of world affairs and the close contacts that he maintains with national leaders and former leaders.

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.

Under the Keating Government, foreign relations focused on developing independent policies, recognising Australia’s geographical position in the Asian region. Mr Keating took an active role in the development of APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and initiated its annual leaders’ meeting with its commitment to a regional free trade agenda.

Mr Keating has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Law from Keio University in Tokyo (May 1995), the National University of Singapore (September 1999) and the University of New South Wales (April 2003).

As a political observer he contributes articles to newspapers and international journals that discuss international, economic and social issues and maintains a keen interest in policy areas with which he was involved in government.

His book, Engagement: Australia Faces the Asia-Pacific, examines Australia’s foreign policy objectives and achievements during his term as Prime Minister and was published in March 2000. It has been translated into Japanese and Chinese.

Mr Keating is a frequent visitor to China and the Asian region and a sought after keynote speaker at major domestic and international conferences. He is an engaging orator, adept at delivering a formal paper or speaking extemporaneously. As a speaker, his talent is pulling together disparate ideas, trends and facts, in an historical context, to produce a ‘big picture’-type analysis of the topic. Paul Keating is a most articulate speaker with a wealth of international financial, political and diplomatic experience and an acute contemporary insight into global affairs. He has an abiding interest in architecture, urban design and music.

Biographical information courtesy of the Office of the Hon. Paul Keating, 2009.

In supporting the JCPML, Mr Keating has kindly provided permission for his 2002 Anniversary Lecture and 2009 Anniversary Lecture to be accessible via the JCPML website.

For more information on Mr Keating, visit his official website.