Mark Dreyfus

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The Honourable
Mark Dreyfus
QC MP
Dreyfus, Mark Sept. 2013-.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Isaacs
Incumbent
Assumed office
24 November 2007
Preceded by Ann Corcoran
Attorney-General for Australia
In office
4 February 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Nicola Roxon
Succeeded by George Brandis
Minster for Emergency Management
In office
4 February 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Nicola Roxon
Succeeded by Position abolished
Minister for the Public Service and Integrity
In office
1 July 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Gary Gray
Succeeded by Eric Abetz (Public Service)
Special Minister of State
In office
1 July 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Gary Gray
Succeeded by Michael Ronaldson
Personal details
Born (1956-10-03) 3 October 1956 (age 58)
Perth, Australia
Political party Labor Party
Alma mater University of Melbourne
Profession Lawyer

Mark Alfred Dreyfus QC MP (born 3 October 1956 in Perth, Western Australia), an Australian lawyer and politician, is a former Attorney-General, Minister for the Public Service and Integrity, Minister for Emergency Management, and Special Minister of State in the Second Rudd Ministry. He has been a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Isaacs, Victoria since the 2007 federal election.

Early life and education[edit]

Dreyfus was born in Perth, the son of George Dreyfus, a noted composer who came to Australia as a refugee from Nazi Germany. Dreyfus was educated at Scotch College, Melbourne[1] and the University of Melbourne where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws.

Prior to entering Parliament, Dreyfus worked as a barrister for some twenty years, with an extensive practice in commercial, defamation, constitutional and environmental law. In 1999 he was appointed Queen’s Counsel.

Dreyfus also served as a director of the Law Council of Australia, and on the Victorian Bar Council and Victorian Bar Ethics Committee.

Throughout both his legal and political careers, Mark has been an advocate for social justice, and for creating a sustainable environment for future generations.

Since his first professional role as a Field Officer for the Northern Land Council, Dreyfus has worked closely with Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, including representing a number of the claimants in the landmark Stolen Generations litigation.[2]

Parliamentary career[edit]

In March 2006, Dreyfus successfully challenged the sitting Labor member for Isaacs, Ann Corcoran, for the right to contest the 2007 election. Although Corcoran won a majority of votes in the local ballot, Dreyfus, a member of the Labor Unity faction, had a large majority of supporters on the party's Public Office Selection Committee, and thus won the overall vote. Ironically, in his 1998 report, Dreyfus stated: 'Membership makes a party, not the other way around. Labor is, or should be, people—not vehicle, not structure, not hierarchy.' At the 2007 election, he defeated the Liberal candidate, Ross Fox, gaining a 5.9 per cent swing to Labor.

Following Labor's victory at the 2007 federal election, Dreyfus was appointed chairman of the House of Representatives Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. At the 2010 election, Dreyfus was re-elected, gaining a further 3.33 per cent swing to Labor.

In September 2010, Dreyfus was appointed as Cabinet Secretary as well as Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency in the Second Gillard Ministry.[3] Dreyfus took on additional responsibilities in December 2011 when he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation.

MP expenses scandal[edit]

In October 2013, Dreyfus was drawn into the federal MP expenses scandal[4][5] after admitting that he had claimed entitlements for staying in Canberra while he was in Perisher.[6]

Comments on political opponents[edit]

In March 2011, he described the campaign by Tony Abbott against the carbon price as Goebellian cynicism.[7][8][9]

In August 2011 he was accused of calling Sophie Mirabella a "bitch" in parliament. He denied the accusation although he did withdraw for an unparliamentary remark at the time.[10]

Attorney-General[edit]

On 2 February 2013, Dreyfus was promoted to Attorney-General and as Minister for Emergency Management after the resignation of Nicola Roxon.[11] Dreyfus was given additional responsibilities on 1 July 2013 as Special Minister of State and Minister for the Public Service and Integrity following the decision by Gary Gray to resign from the ministry following the June 2013 Labor leadership spill.[12]

As Attorney-General, Dreyfus appeared before the International Court of Justice in The Hague as Counsel and Advocate for Australia in the case of Whaling in the Antarctic (Australia v Japan; New Zealand intervening) in June and July 2013.[13] On 1 April 2014, the International Court of Justice handed down its decision in favour of Australia that Japan cease whaling in the Southern Ocean.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Dreyfus lives with his wife Chilean-born Deborah (née Chemke) — with whom he has three children, Joe, Tom and Laura[15][16] — in Malvern.[17][18]

Dreyfus speaks fluent Spanish[18] and has stated that, had he not become a lawyer, he would have liked to become a park ranger in the Alpine National Park.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The man in the hot seat". The Age (Melbourne). 
  2. ^ http://www.jwire.com.au/news/new-attorney-general-to-be-sworn-in-tomorrow/32083
  3. ^ "Special Gazette No. S162" (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. 16 September 2010. 
  4. ^ http://www.crikey.com.au/2013/10/17/expenses-scandal-the-rules-leading-mps-into-temptation/
  5. ^ "Parliamentary expenses scandal puts all MPs on notice". News Corp Australia Network. 11 October 2013. 
  6. ^ "Expenses critic Mark Dreyfus embarrassed over taxpayer ski trip to Perisher". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  7. ^ http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/full-coverage/8996858/abbotts-tax-strategy-likened-to-nazi-propaganda/[dead link]
  8. ^ "Abbott's tax strategy likened to Nazi propaganda like that of Joseph Goebbels". ABC News. 11 March 2011. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  9. ^ http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/politics/blogs/the-dreyfus-files/shades-of-goebbels-in-truth-campaign/20110311-1bq45.html?comments=56
  10. ^ Packham, Ben (18 August 2011). "Liberals simmer over Sophie Mirabella sledge as PM declines to rebuke Mark Dreyfus". The Australia (News Ltd). Retrieved 20 August 2011. 
  11. ^ Maher, Sid (2 February 2013). "Dreyfus, Bowen promoted in Gillard cabinet reshuffle". The Australian. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Second Rudd Ministry" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013. 
  13. ^ ICJ Hears Case of Whaling in Antarctic: Australia vs. Japan United Nations Information Centre Canberra
  14. ^ http://thediplomat.com/2014/04/australias-whaling-victory/
  15. ^ "Striking a different role" - Young Lawyers Journal
  16. ^ ParlInfo - GOVERNOR-GENERAL’S SPEECH : Address-in-Reply
  17. ^ J-Wire Staff (3 February 2013). "New Attorney-General to be sworn in tomorrow". JWire. 
  18. ^ a b Schubert, Misha (7 February 2006). "QC stands out among Labor candidates for Canberra". Melbourne: The Age. 
  19. ^ "Mark Dreyfus - Featurettes - Justinian". Justinian. 17 March 2013. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ann Corcoran
Member for Isaacs
2007–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Greg Combet
as Minister Assisting the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Yvette D'Ath
Preceded by
Kate Lundy
as Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Innovation
Parliamentary Secretary for Industry and Innovation
2011–2013
Succeeded by
Kate Lundy
as Minister Assisting the Minister for Industry and Innovation
Preceded by
Nicola Roxon
Attorney-General of Australia
2013
Succeeded by
George Brandis
Minster for Emergency Management
2013
Position abolished
Preceded by
Gary Gray
Minister for the Public Service and Integrity
2013
Succeeded by
Eric Abetz
as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Public Service
Special Minister of State
2013
Succeeded by
Michael Ronaldson