Wayne Goss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Wayne Goss
34th Premier of Queensland
In office
7 December 1989 – 19 February 1996[1]
Preceded by Russell Cooper
Succeeded by Rob Borbidge
Constituency Logan
Personal details
Born (1951-02-26) 26 February 1951 (age 63)
Mundubbera, Queensland
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Profession Lawyer

Wayne Keith Goss (born 26 February 1951) was Premier of Queensland from 7 December 1989 until 19 February 1996.

Early life[edit]

He was born at Mundubbera, Queensland and educated at Inala High School and the University of Queensland (LLB). He worked as a solicitor and then with the Aboriginal Legal Service before setting up his own practice.[citation needed]

Political career[edit]

Goss entered state politics as an Australian Labor Party (ALP) MLA in 1983 for the electoral district of Salisbury and later Logan. He was elected Leader of the Opposition in 1988.

Goss led Labor into the 1989 state election against the National Party government of Russell Cooper. The Queensland Nationals were still reeling from revelations of the rampant corruption of longtime premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen, and polls showed Labor had its best chance of winning power in years. Labor had been in opposition since 1957, and last made a serious bid for government in 1972. Bjelke-Petersen's immediate successor, Mike Ahern, had been toppled in a party-room coup just two months before the election and replaced by Cooper.[citation needed]

Goss seized on National ads arguing that his plans to decriminalise homosexuality would result in gays flooding into Queensland. He replied with ads painting Cooper as a wild-eyed reactionary and a carbon copy of Bjelke-Petersen.

Goss and Labor won a strong majority government, scoring a 24-seat swing, the worst defeat of a sitting government up until that time in Queensland. His election win, which ended 32 years of Coalition/National Party rule, was seen as the beginning of a new era, with The Courier-Mail declaring "Goss the Boss". Once installed in office, he presided over the implementation of many of the reforms of the landmark Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption.

The Goss Government introduced several electoral reforms, the most notable being the elimination of the "Bjelkemander" that had helped keep the Queensland Nationals in power. It also introduced social reforms such as decriminalising homosexuality. Goss' Chief of Staff as Premier was former diplomat Kevin Rudd, later leader of the federal Labor Party and Prime Minister of Australia.

Goss won a second term at the 1992 state election, maintaining the same 19-seat majority he won in 1989 over the National Party and the Liberal Party (the two non-Labor parties went out of coalition in 1983, but resumed the coalition after the 1992 election).

Before the 1995 election the Goss Government announced a plan to clear sensitive bushland for an alternative to one of south-east Queensland's major roadways. This prompted the Greens Party to do something it had never done before: it recommended that its supporters not give their second preference, on voting ballots, to Labor. Partly as a result of this, as well as the increasing unpopularity of Goss's management style (widely thought to be authoritarian) and growing anger at the federal Labor government, Labor was severely punished at the polls. Notably, it lost several seats in Brisbane's Bayside area, known as 'the koala seats' because of the passion stirred up by a belief that the new road would destroy the habitat of koalas. Labor lost the popular vote to the Rob Borbidge-led Coalition, but managed to win 31 out of 40 seats in Brisbane, allowing it to salvage a knife-edge majority of one seat.

Irregularities were alleged in the Townsville seat of Mundingburra, which had been won by Labor's Ken Davies by only 12 votes over the Coalition's Frank Tanti, the most serious being that several servicemen serving in Rwanda didn't have their votes counted. Following a declaration by the Supreme Court of Queensland, sitting as a Court of Disputed Returns, a by-election was ordered for February 1996, which Tanti won. This outcome brought about a hung Parliament; the balance of power was held by Gladstone Independent Liz Cunningham. Cunningham announced that she was going to support the Coalition on the floor of Parliament, leaving Goss with no alternative but to resign as Premier in favour of Borbidge.

Goss' defeat proved to be a harbinger of federal Labor's massive defeat in the federal election held a month later. Labor suffered particularly heavy losses in Queensland; it was cut down to only two seats there, its worst result in the state since being reduced to only one seat in 1975. Goss later said that Queensland voters had turned so violently on then-Prime Minister Paul Keating that they were "sitting on their verandas with baseball bats" waiting for the writs to drop. [2]

Goss returned to the back benches of the Opposition under new Opposition Leader Peter Beattie and assumed something of an "elder statesman" role. He had also been preselected as the Labor candidate for the federal seat of Oxley in the 1998 election.[2] However, a diagnosis of a brain tumour (subsequently partially removed without any problems) forced him to scale back his activities. Despite support from both sides of Parliament - evidenced when the House gave him a standing ovation on his return from surgery - Goss retired from politics.

At the time, rumours circulated that the Labor Party's Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley had offered Goss a front-bench position if had won Oxley in the 1998 election; however no proof has been offered of this suggestion.

Post-political career[edit]

Since his retirement from politics, Goss has served as an advisor to accountancy group Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu as well as in various other public roles. Goss is currently Chairman of the Australian section of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.[3] Goss also chairs the board of engineering firm Ausenco.[3]

From 2003 to 2007, Goss was on the board of Ingeus Limited, the company founded by Thérèse Rein, the wife of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, his former chief-of-staff.[4]

Goss became Chairman of Free TV, the lobby group representing the free-to-air television companies in Australia, in 2008. Wayne Goss is also an Ambassador of the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation.[5]


He still lives in Brisbane with his wife, Roisin. They have two children, Ryan and Caitlin, both of whom attended the University of Queensland and were awarded Rhodes Scholarships to attend the University of Oxford in 2007 and 2009 respectively.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Queensland, Legislative Assembly, Weekly Hansard, 20 February 1996 at 7.
  2. ^ a b Green, Antony. 2010 election preview: Queensland. ABC News, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Wayne Goss". Deloitte. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  4. ^ Wilson, Peter (21 April 2011). "Therese Rein the $1.4bn queen of British welfare". The Australian. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  5. ^ "IQ2: If we keep populating we will perish". abc.net.au. 23 August 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 
  6. ^ University of Queensland (2009). 2009 Rhodes Scholar maintains family winning streak. Retrieved 2 August 2009.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Rosemary Kyburz
Member for Salisbury
1983 – 1986
Succeeded by
Len Ardill
New district Member for Logan
1986 – 1998
Succeeded by
John Mickel
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nev Warburton
Leader of the Labor Party in Queensland
1988 – 1996
Succeeded by
Peter Beattie
Political offices
Preceded by
Nev Warburton
Leader of the Opposition in Queensland
1988 – 1989
Succeeded by
Russell Cooper
Preceded by
Russell Cooper
Premier of Queensland
1989 – 1996
Succeeded by
Rob Borbidge