John Brown (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
John Brown
AO
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Parramatta
In office
10 December 1977 – 19 February 1990
Preceded by Philip Ruddock
Succeeded by Paul Elliott
Personal details
Born (1931-12-19) 19 December 1931 (age 82)
Sydney
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Jan Murray (divorced)
Occupation Meat industrialist

John Joseph Brown AO (born 19 December 1931) is a retired Australian politician.

Brown was born in the western suburbs of Sydney and was educated at Christian Brothers College, Burwood, St Patrick's College, Strathfield and the University of Sydney. He was one of the founders of Brown and Hatton, a meat distribution company and helped create the Pork and Bacon Marketing Council. He has been an active member of the Meat Industry Employees Union since that time, but was also chairman of the Employers Association for five years. In 1963, he married Jan Murray, who ran a public relation consultancy from 1982 to 1995,[1] and they have five children. He was an alderman on Parramatta Council from 1977 to 1980.[2]

In 1975, Brown entered politics when he won the Australian Labor Party nomination for the seat of Parramatta. He was soundly defeated by Liberal Phillip Ruddock in that year's Liberal landslide. However, a redistribution ahead of the 1977 election dramatically altered Parramatta. The seat was pushed into Labor-friendly territory in west Sydney, turning it from a safe Liberal seat into a marginal Labor seat and prompting Ruddock to transfer to the friendlier seat of Dundas. Brown won the seat with a modest swing in his favour, becoming only the second Labor member ever to win it.

With the election of Bob Hawke in 1983, he was appointed Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism in the First Hawke Ministry, a position he retained until 1988. He was also appointed Minister for Administrative Services until 1984, when he gained the position of Minister assisting the Minister for Defence.

Brown is notable for initiating a series of television advertisements commencing in 1986 for the American market by the Australian Tourism Commission starring Paul Hogan saying, "I'll slip an extra shrimp on the barbie for you". He gained notoriety for describing koalas as "flea-ridden, piddling, stinking, scratching, rotten little things".[3] He was also responsible for substantially increasing expenditure on sports facilities around Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport.[2]

In July 1987, Brown entered cabinet with the expanded portfolio of Minister for Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories, which he held until his resignation in January 1988 for misleading the house[4] in response to a question from Neil Brown regarding the assessment of tenders for the Australian Pavilion at Expo '88, which suggested possible impropriety.[5] Prior to his resignation, he was the subject of national headlines due to revelations that he and his then wife Jan Murray had celebrated a victory one night by having sex on his desk in his office at Parliament House.[1] He did not stand for re-election in 1990. He and Jan Murray later divorced.[6]

John Brown continues to work for things he believes in. He established the Sport and Tourism Youth Foundation (formerly the John Brown Foundation) to award scholarships to talented young Australians in both sport and tourism. A member of the Sydney Olympics 2000 Bid Committee, he was also a founding Director of the Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee (SOCOG). He has held positions including Director of Macquarie Tourism and Leisure, Director of Canterbury Bankstown Leagues Club and a consultant to Service Corporation International Australia.[7] In mid June 2012, John Brown sparked local controversy after supporting a full page ad in the local Inner West Courier newspaper, supporting the actions of the Rozelle Village development. The development, which has sparked large controversy in the Sydney inner west suburb of Rozelle, is before the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure.

Honours[edit]

Brown was made an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1993 for "service to the Australian parliament, tourism and sport and recreation".[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Jan Murray". Entertainoz. Retrieved 2 October 2009. 
  2. ^ a b "Speaker John Brown". ICMI. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  3. ^ http://www.theage.com.au/national/house-on-the-hill-20080618-2sxa.html
  4. ^ Howard, John (16 February 1988). "Question without Notice: Mr John Brown: return to ministry". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  5. ^ Brown, Neil (10 December 1987). "Question without Notice: Mr John Brown: World Expo 88". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
  6. ^ Janet Hawley, "Wham, Bam, Thank You, Jan", Good Weekend, The Age, 27 March 2010
  7. ^ Speaker Profile of John Brown AO at The Celebrity Speakers Bureau
  8. ^ "Brown, John Joseph". Search Australian Honours. It's an Honour. Retrieved 1 October 2007. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Kevin Newman
Minister for Administrative Services
1983–84
Succeeded by
Tom Uren
New title Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism
1983–87
Succeeded by
Graham Richardson
Preceded by
Barry Cohen
Minister for Arts, Sport, the Environment,
Tourism and Territories

1987–88
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Philip Ruddock
Member for Division of Parramatta
1977–90
Succeeded by
Paul Elliott