Simon Crean

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The Honourable
Simon Crean
Simon Crean - WEF 2010.jpg
Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
In office
14 September 2010 – 21 March 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Anthony Albanese (as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Regional Development and Local Government)
Succeeded by Anthony Albanese (as Minister for Regional Development and Local Government)
Minister for the Arts
In office
14 September 2010 – 21 March 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Peter Garrett (as Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts)
Succeeded by Tony Burke
Minister for Education
In office
28 June 2010 – 14 September 2010
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Julia Gillard
Succeeded by Peter Garrett (as Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth)
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
In office
28 June 2010 – 14 September 2010
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Julia Gillard
Succeeded by Chris Evans (as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations)
Minister for Social Inclusion
In office
28 June 2010 – 14 September 2010
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by Julia Gillard
Succeeded by Tanya Plibersek
Minister for Trade
In office
3 December 2007 – 28 June 2010
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Warren Truss
Succeeded by Stephen Smith
Leader of the Opposition
In office
11 November 2001 – 2 December 2003
Deputy Jenny Macklin
Preceded by Kim Beazley
Succeeded by Mark Latham
Minister for Employment, Education and Training
In office
23 December 1993 – 11 March 1996
Prime Minister Paul Keating
Preceded by Kim Beazley
Succeeded by Amanda Vanstone (as Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs)
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy
In office
4 June 1991 – 23 December 1993
Prime Minister Bob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded by John Kerin
Succeeded by Bob Collins
Minister for Science and Technology
In office
4 April 1990 – 4 June 1991
Prime Minister Bob Hawke
Preceded by Barry Jones (as Minister for Science, Customs and Small Business)
Succeeded by Ross Free
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Hotham
In office
24 March 1990 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Lewis Kent
Succeeded by Clare O'Neil
Personal details
Born Simon Findlay Crean
(1949-02-26) 26 February 1949 (age 65)
Melbourne
Political party Labor Party
Alma mater Monash University
Profession Trade Unionist
Politician
Website www.simoncrean.net

Simon Findlay Crean (born 26 February 1949) is an Australian politician and trade unionist. He was leader of the Australian Labor Party and Federal Leader of the Opposition from November 2001 to December 2003.[1] He was President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 1985 to 1990. He served as the Member for Hotham in the Australian Parliament from 1990 to 2013,[1] and held numerous cabinet portfolios, most recently as Minister for the Arts and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government in 2013.[2][3] Crean retired from politics at the Australian federal election, 2013.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Crean was born in Melbourne. He is the son of Frank Crean, a federal Labor MP 1951–77, who was at separate times Treasurer, Minister for Overseas Trade, and Deputy Prime Minister in the Gough Whitlam government.[5] Dr David Crean, a former Labor member of the Parliament of Tasmania, is his brother. Another brother, Stephen Crean, died while skiing alone at Charlotte Pass, New South Wales in 1985, aged 38, and his body was not found for two years.

Crean was educated at Middle Park Central School, Melbourne High School and Monash University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws.

Career[edit]

Union movement[edit]

Following his graduation from Monash University, Crean worked in a number of trade unions before becoming an official with the Storeman and Packers Union, of which he became General Secretary in 1979.

In 1977, his father, Frank Crean, retired from Federal politics and made his comfortably safe seat of Melbourne Ports vacant for a successor. The ALP preselection was between Crean and Clyde Holding, with Holding winning.

In 1981, Crean became Vice-President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), and in 1985 he was elected the organisation's President.[5] As President, he played a key role in negotiating agreements on wages and other industrial issues with the Labor government of Bob Hawke. In 1990, he left the ACTU to go into politics.

Hawke and Keating Governments[edit]

At the 1990 election, Crean was elected to Parliament as the member for the safe Labor seat of Hotham. He immediately entered the Hawke ministry as Minister for Science and Technology.[5] He became Minister for Primary Industries and Energy in 1991, a portfolio he kept under Paul Keating. He became Minister for Employment, Education and Training in 1993.[3]

Opposition[edit]

Following the Labor Party's 1996 election defeat, Crean contested the deputy leadership of the party but was defeated by Gareth Evans, 42 votes to 37.[6][7] Crean was an Opposition frontbencher until Labor's defeat at the 1998 election. He was then elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition and became shadow Treasurer in succession to Evans. In January 2001, Crean was awarded the Centenary Medal.[8]

In November 2001, following Labor's third consecutive election defeat, Crean was elected unopposed as the Leader of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition following the resignation of Kim Beazley.[9]

On 4 February 2003, Crean led the Labor Party in condemning Prime Minister John Howard's decision to commit Australian troops to the Iraq War.[10]

Through most of 2003, consistently poor polling led to constant speculation of a leadership challenge by Beazley, though a reasonably successful Budget reply speech and the controversy over Peter Hollingworth gave Crean a small boost in popularity. Nevertheless, to end the constant rumblings over a challenge, Crean called for a leadership spill. Polls continued to suggest that the public much preferred Beazley to Crean; nevertheless, when the vote was taken on 16 June 2003, Crean won by 58 votes to 34.

By November, however, polls continued to show Crean losing more ground to Howard as preferred Prime Minister. On 27 November 2003 a group of his senior colleagues told Crean that he had lost the party's support and should resign. Crean said he would "sleep on it".[citation needed] On 28 November 2003, Crean announced that he would resign as Leader of the Labor Party, becoming the first federal Labor leader to be replaced without having contested an election since the expulsion of Billy Hughes in 1916.

After Crean's resignation, Beazley and the Labor Party's Treasury spokesperson, Mark Latham, announced that they would contest the Labor leadership. At the meeting of the federal Labor caucus on 2 December 2003, Latham defeated Beazley by 47 votes to 45.

Latham appointed Crean as Shadow Treasurer, which gave him a continued prominent role in Australian politics. In the aftermath of Labor's defeat in the 2004 election, Crean resigned from his Shadow Treasurer position.[11] However, at Latham's insistence he was re-elected to the Opposition front bench as Shadow Minister for Trade.

Crean retained this position when Beazley returned to the leadership in January 2005. However, in a reshuffle of the shadow ministry in June 2005, Crean was demoted to Shadow Minister for Regional Development. He faced a preselection challenge for his seat from Martin Pakula, a member of his former union, a move which he blamed on Beazley, Hong Lim, and the Labor Right. Beazley refused to publicly support either candidate, but several frontbenchers, including Julia Gillard, supported Crean. Crean recorded around 70% of the votes in the first stage of voting, which led to his opponent's withdrawal. Since his victory Crean has singled out Senator Stephen Conroy for his part in the preselection challenge, describing his front bench colleague as "venal" and "one of the most disloyal people I've ever worked with in my life".[12]

Following the defeat of Kim Beazley and election of Kevin Rudd as Federal Labor leader in December 2006, Crean was reappointed as Shadow Minister for Trade and also retained responsibility for regional development.

Rudd and Gillard Governments[edit]

In 2007 after Labor's election victory, Crean was appointed Minister for Trade in Kevin Rudd's ministry.

Crean visited Singapore and Vietnam from 21–26 July 2009 to pursue Australia's trade and economic interests at a range of ministerial and other high level meetings. From 21–23 July, Crean attended the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade and the OECD Roundtable on Sustainable Development in Singapore. On 24 July, Crean co-chaired the 8th Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee with the Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc in Hanoi.[13] The aim of the meeting was to discuss key sectors in the bilateral relationship including education and training, infrastructure and environmental management, financial services and agribusiness.

Following Julia Gillard's election unopposed as Prime Minister in June 2010, Crean was appointed Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, and Minister for Social Inclusion, with the Trade portfolio moving to Stephen Smith.[3][14] After the 2010 federal election, Crean was made Minister for the Arts and Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government.[15]

On 21 March 2013, amidst disunity within the Gillard Labor Government arising from sinking public opinion polls, Crean called for a spill of the Labor Party leadership, with the aim of encouraging Kevin Rudd to challenge for the position of Prime Minister. This was a marked shift on Crean's part, as his attacks on Rudd had been a factor in Rudd being forced to resign as Foreign Minister a year earlier. Crean said he would challenge Wayne Swan for the Deputy Leader's position if Rudd ran for the leadership. However, Rudd declined to run for the leadership, leaving Gillard to retain the leadership unopposed. After Crean asked for a leadership spill, Gillard sacked Crean from Cabinet, citing "disloyalty" to her.[16] Crean's sacking marks the first time he became a backbencher in two decades as an MP.

Crean is the first person to serve as a minister under four Labor Prime Ministers (Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard) since Jack Beasley (who served under James Scullin, John Curtin, Frank Forde and Ben Chifley).

On 26 June 2013, after Kevin Rudd was re-elected as party leader replacing Julia Gillard, Crean stood for the position of Deputy Prime Minister (a job once held by his father) but was defeated in the Caucus vote by Anthony Albanese by 61 votes to 38.

On 1 July after failing to become Deputy Prime Minister, Crean announced that he would retire from Parliament at the 2013 election.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Simon Crean's personal webpage". Simon Crean. 
  2. ^ Griffiths, Emma; Atherton, Ben (21 March 2013). "Labor in crisis as Gillard calls spill". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c "The Hon Simon Crean MP". Members and Senators. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  4. ^ ABC News, 1 July 2013
  5. ^ a b c "Biography – The Hon. Simon Crean MP, Australian Minister for Trade". Trademinister.gov.au. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  6. ^ "Biography of Hon Gareth Evans AO QC". United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  7. ^ "It's Hardly The Fix They're Used To". Australianpolitics.com. 14 June 2003. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  8. ^ "Simon Findlay Crean – Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 21 June 2012. 
  9. ^ Clarke, Sarah (22 November 2001). "Crean officially endorsed as Labor leader" (transcript). Lateline. Australia: ABC TV. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "War on Iraq". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 18 March 2003. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Crean falls on treasury portfolio sword". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 13 October 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 
  12. ^ "Factionalism stirs up anger in ALP". ABC Radio (Australia). 7 March 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2007. 
  13. ^ Australian minister for trade to visit Vietnam this week[dead link]
  14. ^ "Gillard reshuffles cabinet, without Rudd". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  15. ^ "The Gillard ministry". The Age. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010. 
  16. ^ Harrison, Dan; Hurst, Daniel (21 March 2013). "Rudd refuses to run for leadership, PM prevails". The Age. Retrieved 21 March 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Lyle Allan (2002), 'ALP Modernisation, Ethnic Branch Stacking, Factionalism and the Law,' in People and Place, Vol.10, No.4, pp. 50–58
  • Ross McMullin (1992), The Light on the Hill. The Australian Labor Party 1891–1991, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne (Victoria), ISBN 0-19-553451-4

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Lewis Kent
Member for Hotham
1990–2013
Succeeded by
Clare O'Neil
Political offices
Preceded by
Barry Jones
Minister for Science and Technology
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Ross Free
as Minister for Science, Customs and Small Business
Preceded by
John Kerin
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy
1991–1993
Succeeded by
Bob Collins
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Minister for Employment, Education and Training
1993–1996
Succeeded by
Amanda Vanstone
as Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs
Preceded by
Warren Truss
Minister for Trade
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Stephen Smith
Preceded by
Julia Gillard
Minister for Education
2010
Succeeded by
Peter Garrett
as Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
2010
Succeeded by
Chris Evans
as Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
2010
Succeeded by
Tanya Plibersek
Preceded by
Anthony Albanese
as Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government
Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Anthony Albanese
as Minister for Regional Development and Local Government
Preceded by
Peter Garrett
as Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts
Minister for the Arts
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Tony Burke
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gareth Evans
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Jenny Macklin
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Leader of the Labor Party
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Mark Latham
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Cliff Dolan
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
1985–1990
Succeeded by
Martin Ferguson