Gary Gray (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
Gary Gray
AO MP
Gary Gray September 2011.jpg
Minister for Resources and Energy
In office
25 March 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Martin Ferguson
Succeeded by Ian Macfarlane as Minister for Industry
Minister for Tourism
In office
25 March 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Martin Ferguson
Succeeded by Julie Bishop as Minister for Foreign Affairs
Minister for Small Business
In office
25 March 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Chris Bowen
Succeeded by Bruce Billson
Special Minister of State
In office
14 September 2010 – 25 March 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Joe Ludwig
Succeeded by Mark Dreyfus
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Brand
Incumbent
Assumed office
24 November 2007
Preceded by Kim Beazley
Personal details
Born (1958-04-30) 30 April 1958 (age 56)
Rotherham, Yorkshire, UK
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Deborah Walsh
Alma mater Australian National University

Gary Gray AO MP (born 30 April 1958), Australian politician, is the Australian Labor Party representative for the Division of Brand in Western Australia in the Australian House of Representatives, since 2007. On 25 March 2013, Gray was appointed to the Australian Cabinet as the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Minister for Tourism, and the Minister for Small Business. From 2010 until 2013, Gray served as the Special Minister of State and the Minister for the Public Service and Integrity.

In 1981, Gray graduated with a degree in economics from Australian National University in Canberra. He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2003.

Early life and career[edit]

Early life[edit]

He was born in Rotherham, Yorkshire, England, and emigrated to Australia with his family in 1966, settling in state housing in Whyalla, South Australia. Gray attended Whyalla High School, where he was the dux of his graduating year in 1976. After finishing high school he worked at the local BHP steelworks, and then at the Savings Bank of South Australia.[1] He joined the Labor Party in 1974,[2] and in May 1981, after graduating from the Australian National University with a degree in economics, he moved to Darwin.

Early political career[edit]

From then until May 1985 he was the assistant to Northern Territory opposition leader Bob Collins. He became a national organiser in March 1986, in which capacity he worked on every state Labor campaign between 1986 and 1993 and initiated the National Marginal Seats Campaign. During this time he met and married his wife Deborah, the daughter of former Labor finance minister Peter Walsh.[3]

On 30 April 1993, just after Paul Keating won the 1993 election, he became National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party.[2][4] Keating, in 2007, blamed Gray for the loss of the 1996 and 1998 elections, a view that was not shared by the leadership of the ALP at the time.[5][6]

He resigned after seven years on 10 November 1999, citing personal and family reasons, and moved to Perth, Western Australia.[7]

He was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day honours of 2003, for "service to the Australian Labor Party and to politics through the introduction of modern campaign techniques, fundraising protocols for all political parties, affirmative action guidelines, and by strengthening the party's organisational and financial structure."[8]

Corporate career[edit]

In April 2000, he quit working for the party hierarchy entirely,[4] and took up a role with Wesfarmers as the Executive Director of the Western Australian Institute of Medical Research. Within a year, he was engaged by Woodside Petroleum as an adviser on their ultimately successful bid to repel the takeover of the company by the Shell Oil Company. Gray was then asked to join the company, becoming the Director of Corporate Affairs on the company's executive board. During his time at Woodside, Gray represented the company before governments across the world, acting as a negotiator, advocate and leader.

Political career[edit]

Gray left Woodside to contest the 2007 federal election for the seat of Brand in Western Australia, replacing retiring MP Kim Beazley. He won the seat on a 0.97 point swing[9] and was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Infrastructure with Responsibility for Northern and Regional Australia in the First Rudd Ministry.[10] His appointment was welcomed by the mining sector and business ("Miners welcome Gary Gray into resources job" Australian Financial Review 25 March 2013). The Australian Mines and Metals Association's Chief Executive Steve Knott issued a statement welcoming the appointment, saying Mr Gray was "highly regarded" by the resources sector.

During the 2010 leadership change in the Labor Party, Gray declared his support for Julia Gillard, and has maintained support for Gillard since. At the 2010 federal election, he was re-elected and in the ensuing reshuffle appointed Special Minister of State (located in the Department of Finance and Deregulation) and Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity in the Second Gillard Ministry.[11] His latter role was restyled as Minister for the Public Service and Integrity following the December 2011 reshuffle with no apparent change in responsibility. In a reconfiguration of the Ministry in March 2013, Gray was elevated to the Cabinet and promoted as the Minister for Resources and Energy, the Minister for Tourism and the Minister for Small Business.[12]

Foreign worker EMAs[edit]

As a parliamentary secretary in the Gillard Government, Gray chaired a taskforce comprising employment and training agencies, unions and employers to examine ways of dealing with the expected shortage of workers on major resource projects. In July 2010, the National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce put recommendations to the Australian Government, including a proposed enterprise migration agreement (EMA). After consideration by the government, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Chris Bowen and the Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, announced on 25 May 2012, the first EMA for the planned $9.5bn Roy Hill iron ore mine, proposed by businesswoman Gina Rinehart. The announcement said more than 8000 workers would be required for the construction phase and to meet labour demand, the government would allow up to 1715 457 visas for overseas workers for the three-year construction phase. The day after the announcement Australian Workers Union secretary Paul Howes, who was a member of the original taskforce, declared it "sheer lunacy" and an "ideal Christmas present" for Gina Rinehart. Later, five Western Australian unions launched an advertising campaign against Gray in his marginal electorate of Brand, linking his support of the EMA policy and 26% youth unemployment rate in Kwinana/Rockingham, suburbs in Brand. The advertisements called for a protest outside Gray's electorate office on Saturday June 16. Unionists also attacked Gray personally and Prime Minister Gillard issued a statement of her support for Gray, published in The Australian on 2 June,in which she described him as a "valuable member of the Government" who was a "dedicated, hard-working and effective minister". Later, the WA unions cancelled their planned "community protest". Despite the PM's support, opposition leader, Tony Abbott claimed "We have a prime minister who is not prepared to defend one of her most capable ministers,"[13] and went on to criticise the involvement of the unions in the Labor Party, referring to them as 'the faceless men'.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Australian Labor Party. "Gary Gray – Member for Brand". Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  2. ^ a b Australian Labor Party (WA Division) (May–June 1993). "Gary Gray". Labor Voice (Vol 15, No. 2). p. 15. 
  3. ^ Lane, Terry (14 November 1999). "The National Interest". Radio National (Australia: ABC Radio). Retrieved 10 April 2008. 
  4. ^ a b Ramsey, Alan (10 August 2002). "Two decades on, a party stalwart finds karma waters". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  5. ^ "'Sad' man Paul Keating". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). 9 June 2010. Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Green, Antony. "Brand". 2010 Election (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 22 August 2010. 
  7. ^ "Gary Gray resigns as ALP national secretary". The World Today (Australia: ABC Radio). 10 November 1999. Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  8. ^ "Gary Gray AO". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 26 January 2003. 
  9. ^ "Virtual Tally Room – WA Division – Brand". Australian Electoral Commission. 14 December 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  10. ^ "Rudd hands out portfolios". ABC News (Australia). 29 November 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2008. 
  11. ^ "Gillard unveils major frontbench shake-up". ABC News (Australia). 11 September 2011. Retrieved 10 June 2011. 
  12. ^ "Full list of changes to the Gillard ministry". The Sydney Morning Herald. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "Faceless men spooking PM over Gray: Abbott". The Australian. AAP. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Member for Brand
2007–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Joe Ludwig
Special Minister of State
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Mark Dreyfus
Preceded by
Martin Ferguson
Minister for Resources and Energy
2013
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Martin Ferguson
Minister for Tourism
2013
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Martin Ferguson
Minister for Small Business
2013
Succeeded by
Bruce Billson
(Designate)