Bob Sercombe

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Bob Sercombe
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Maribyrnong
In office
2 March 1996 – 17 October 2007
Preceded by Alan Griffiths
Succeeded by Bill Shorten
Personal details
Born (1949-04-03) 3 April 1949 (age 65)
Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Occupation Public servant

Robert Charles Grant "Bob" Sercombe (born 3 April 1949) is a former Australian politician who represented the Division of Maribyrnong, Victoria for the Australian Labor Party from March 1996 until his retirement at the 2007 federal election.

He was born in Melbourne, Victoria, and was educated at the University of Melbourne. He was a public servant, social planner, and administrator before entering politics. He was an adviser to Clyde Holding, a former Victorian opposition leader and a minister in the Hawke government from 1983 until 1988. Sercombe was a member of the Essendon City Council in 1983 and 1984.

Sercombe was the Member for Niddrie in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1988 until 1996. He was Deputy Leader of the Opposition 1993-94 and a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry 1992-94.

In State politics, he became well known for attempting a leadership challenge on behalf of Ian Baker who attempted to topple then Leader John Brumby in 1994. Brumby asked him to leave the front-bench after the abortive bid.

In the federal Parliament, Sercombe was an Opposition Whip from 1998 until 2001. He was elected to the Opposition Shadow Ministry after the 2004 election and appointed Shadow Minister for Pacific Islands (assisting the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd). His rather limited portfolio responsibilities were slightly expanded some time later by Beazley to include Overseas Development. As Shadow Minister, despite not having a direct Ministerial opponent, Sercombe put out a series of policy announcements about expanding Australia's relationship with that region.

Within the Labor Party, Sercombe was for many years a leading member of the Labor Right in Victoria, although later became allied to the Socialist Left faction in Victoria while being a leading light of the Centre-Left caucus in Canberra.

Just prior to a local vote of ALP members, in February 2005 Sercombe announced he was withdrawing his candidacy from Labor preselection for his seat of Maribyrnong in favour of Australian Workers' Union National Secretary Bill Shorten as Shorten had the numbers over Sercombe to win the preselection and Shorten was elected unopposed as a result. He criticised challenges to other incumbent MPs. Despite announcing his retirement Sercombe was kept on the frontbench by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley until December 2006 when he was sacked by new leader Kevin Rudd.

Remarkably Sercombe was an Opposition frontbencher in both the Victorian State and Federal Parliaments but did not become a Minister in either tier of Government.

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Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Jack Simpson
Member for Niddrie
1988-1996
Succeeded by
Rob Hulls
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Alan Griffiths
Member for Division of Maribyrnong
1996-2007
Succeeded by
Bill Shorten