John Dawkins

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For the South Australian state Liberal politician, see John Dawkins (South Australian politician).
The Honourable
John Dawkins
AO
John-Dawkins-1984.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Tangney
In office
18 May 1974 – 13 December 1975
Preceded by New seat
Succeeded by Peter Richardson
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Fremantle
In office
10 December 1977 – 4 February 1994
Preceded by Kim Beazley
Succeeded by Carmen Lawrence
Treasurer of Australia
In office
27 December 1991 – 22 December 1993
Prime Minister Paul Keating
Preceded by Ralph Willis
Succeeded by Ralph Willis
Personal details
Born (1947-03-02) 2 March 1947 (age 67)
Perth, Western Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Alma mater University of Western Australia
Occupation Economist

John Sydney "Joe"[1] Dawkins, AO (born 2 March 1947), Australian politician, was Treasurer in the Keating Labor government from December 1991 to December 1993. He is notable for his reforms of tertiary education as Minister for Employment, Education and Training, his period as Treasurer when he attempted to increase taxes in order to balance the budget and his abrupt exit from politics.

Early life[edit]

Dawkins was born in Perth, Western Australia. He was educated at Roseworthy Agricultural College gaining a Diploma in Agriculture, thenUniversity of Western Australia, where he graduated in economics.[2]

Political career[edit]

In 1974, aged 27, Dawkins was elected to the House of Representatives for the marginal seat of Tangney, but he was defeated at the 1975 election by Liberal Peter Richardson which followed the dismissal of the Whitlam government.[2]

In 1977 Dawkins returned to the House as member for the safe Labor seat of Fremantle, succeeding Kim Beazley (senior), and defeating his son, Kim Beazley, for the Labor preselection. In 1980 he was promoted to the Opposition front bench and was Shadow Education Minister from 1980 to 1983. He became Minister for Finance following the election of the first Hawke government in 1983. In the second Hawke Ministry (1984–1987) he was Minister for Trade. From 1987 to 1991 he was Minister for Employment, Education and Training.[2] It was in this position where he brought in a series of reforms of the higher education sector, which included expansion of Australian universities, the forced mergers of universities and colleges of advanced education, and the re-introduction of university fees (abolished by Kim Beazley senior in 1973) in the form of the HECS. This later became known as the Dawkins Revolution and aroused bitter opposition among academics and university administrators.

A key supporter of Paul Keating, Dawkins became Treasurer following Keating's unseating of Hawke as ALP leader and Prime Minister, in his second and successful leadership challenge in December 1991. After Keating's unexpected victory in the 1993 federal election, Dawkins brought down a budget which contained a series of highly-unpopular revenue measures which were seen as an attack on Labor's traditional supporters.

The Cabinet, which had hitherto grudgingly accepted Keating's neo-liberal policies, rebelled against the Dawkins budget, and Dawkins's personal abrasiveness made matters worse. In December 1993 Dawkins, frustrated at what he saw as the lack of economic realism of his colleagues, suddenly announced his resignation, and quit politics altogether soon after. It was during his farewell speech that he suggested that the date of presenting the Budget be moved from August to May, a practice that would be started by his successor Ralph Willis in May 1994. He was succeeded in Fremantle by former West Australian Premier Dr Carmen Lawrence.

Post political career[edit]

Since leaving politics, Dawkins has had an active business career. He has been non-executive Chair of Elders Rural Bank, LawCentral, Integrated Legal Holdings, The Retail Energy Market Company which operates the retail gas markets in South Australia and Western Australia, Fortuna Funds Management and director of Genetic Technologies and MGM Wireless.[3]

In 2000 he was a made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the reform of international trade as foundation Chairman of the Cairns Group, to the reform of the federal budget, education and training, and to the Australian Parliament.[4]

In 2000, Dawkins's family agreed to use 104 hectares of their sizeable holdings of grazing land in Forrestdale outside Perth in a property venture where the profits from land sales would be invested in research and development for technology that is conducted at the CY O'Connor ERADE Village, including research laboratories, offices and accommodation, at the entrance of the twelve hectare estate. The development was believed to be worth around $100 million.[5]

His principal employment is as Director of the Adelaide office of Government Relations Australia, a lobbying firm.[6] He has also worked as a consultant to large Australian and foreign companies and the World Bank and the OECD. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from the University of South Australia and the Queensland University of Technology.

He is currently board chairman of the gold exploration company Sovereign (ASX:SOC).[7] A cousin of the same name, John Dawkins, is a current Liberal member of the South Australian Legislative Council.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ramsey, Alan (1 March 2003). "A stroll back up the stairs". smh.com.au. Retrieved 15 June 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c "Biography for Dawkins , the Hon. John Sydney". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "The Hon John Dawkins AO Bec". Integrated Legal Holdings Limited. Retrieved 18 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "Dawkins, John Sydney". Officer of the Order of Australia. It's an Honour. Retrieved 23 January 2010. 
  5. ^ "Dawkins family commits to $100m high-technology park". The Australian. 3 November 2000. p. 41. 
  6. ^ "John Dawkins, Director". Our People. Government Relations Australia. Retrieved 24 January 2010. 
  7. ^ "Sovereign Gold Company website". Retrieved 2 December 2013. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Margaret Guilfoyle
Minister for Finance
1983–1984
Succeeded by
Peter Walsh
Preceded by
Lionel Bowen
Minister for Trade
1984–1987
Succeeded by
Michael Duffy
Preceded by
Susan Ryan
Minister for Employment, Education and Training
1987–1991
Succeeded by
Kim Beazley
Preceded by
Ralph Willis
Treasurer
1991–1993
Succeeded by
Ralph Willis
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
None
Member for Tangney
1974–1975
Succeeded by
Peter Richardson
Preceded by
Kim Beazley (senior)
Member for Fremantle
1977–1994
Succeeded by
Carmen Lawrence