Andrew Brideson

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Andrew Ronald Brideson (born 19 October 1944) is an Australian politician. He was a Liberal member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 1992 until 2006, representing Waverley Province. A former teacher and trade unionist, he has been a relatively low-level backbencher for most of his career, spending only two years in an understaffed shadow ministry from 2002 until his demotion in 2004. He did not contest the 2006 state election.

Brideson was born in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton, and studied at Bentleigh and McKinnon High Schools. He studied teaching at Frankston Teachers College and the Hawthorn Institute of Education, and occupied teaching positions at various rural schools in the West Gippsland and Wimmera regions between 1964 and 1975. In 1976, he was promoted to the position of deputy principal, and worked in this position in a number of schools.

During his teaching career, Brideson had been an active trade unionist in both the Teachers Association of Australia and Victorian Affiliated Teachers Federation, and at the end of the 1983 school year, took up positions heading both organisations. In a rare move for a unionist, Brideson acted as an advisor to several shadow ministers in the conservative Liberal Party state opposition of the time. It was also during this time he became possibly the only union leader in history to lose a wrongful dismissal claim as an employer after he sacked most of his staff without just cause. He left his position with the national body in 1990 after seven years at the helm, but continued on with the Victorian organisation until his move into politics in 1992.

In the leadup to the 1992 state election, Brideson succeeded in obtaining Liberal preselection for the then safe Liberal seat of Waverley Province, which effectively ensured that he would be elected. In his first six-year term, he served on the Public Bodies Review Committee (1992–1996) and then as the Chairman of the Drugs and Crime Prevention Committee (1996–1999). He also served as the parliamentary representative on the Monash University Council from 1997. However, he was overlooked for a ministerial position in Jeff Kennett's Liberal government.

He was re-elected at the 1999 election, which saw the Liberal Party lose power to the Australian Labor Party under Steve Bracks, but was subsequently appointed Chairman of the Road Safety Committee regardless. In this way, he headed an inquiry that aimed to bring down the amount of road deaths, after it had reached its highest number for several years. Though his term was for the most part relatively uneventful, Brideson was involved in a minor scandal in 2001 when he was accused of plagiarising parts of a parliamentary report by taking slabs of material directly from the internet. [1]

Brideson did not face election in 2002, which saw the Liberal opposition defeated in a landslide, with saw the other Liberal member for Waverley Province lose their seat, as well as several shadow members. The devastating loss opened up numerous shadow ministerial positions, and Brideson was given the portfolios of scrutiny of government and waste watch and appointed as the Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet. He was a relatively low-profile figure in these roles, however, and received far less attention than his predecessor, David Davis. He subsequently lost the first two positions to younger MLC Richard Dalla-Riva in January 2004, though he remained Secretary to the Shadow Cabinet without portfolio for the remainder of his career.

Brideson kept a particularly low profile after his demotion, and rumors of his impending retirement began circulating in late 2004. On 11 March 2005, Brideson became the second Liberal frontbencher to announce publicly that he would not be contesting his seat at the 2006 state election. He also suggested that other older Liberal MPs should consider stepping down at the election. As one of ten members of the parliamentary party aged sixty or over, Brideson had come under pressure to make way for a younger replacement, though he denied that this resulted in his decision to retire. [2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "MP defends report on $23,000 study trip.", Australian Associated Press, 7 December 2001.
  2. ^ "Fourth Vic Liberal announces retirement", ABC News, 18 March 2005.