Robert Dean (Australian politician)
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Early life and education
In 1992, Dean, a long-time Liberal Party of Australia activist, obtained preselection for the marginal Australian Labor Party seat of Berwick; and, in the wake of the 1992 Kennett landslide, he easily defeated former Treasurer Robert Jolly.
After the re-election of the Kennett government in 1996 Dean was promoted to the position of Parliamentary Secretary for Justice which he held until the Liberals lost government at the 1999 election. Despite being associated with the forces opposed to Denis Napthine's leadership, Dean was promoted to shadow cabinet after the election serving as shadow Attorney-General and shadow minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
In 2001, a redistribution carried out by the Victorian Electoral Commission abolished his seat of Berwick as well as the neighbouring seat of Pakenham held by former Deputy Leader Robert Maclellan replacing them with the seat of Gembrook. Dean narrowly won a bitter preselection for the new seat against Maclellan.
In October 2002, Robert Doyle launched a successful coup against Napthine's leadership. An ally of Doyle, Dean was promoted to the key position of shadow Treasurer. However, the following month it emerged that Dean had failed to update his address after he moved out of his residence in Berwick after his preselection victory for Gembrook. As a result, his voting registration had lapsed, rendering him ineligible to run in the election. The incident derailed the Liberal campaign, with Treasurer John Brumby loudly wondering how the Opposition could manage the economy if its own shadow Treasurer could not manage his own affairs. Robert Doyle later spoke of how the issue cost the significant momentum in the campaign. Dean, legally unable to stand as candidate, was forced to retire from politics.