Bob McMullan

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The Honourable
Bob McMullan
Bob McMullan.jpg
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
In office
20 October 1998 – 25 November 2001
LeaderKim Beazley
Preceded bySimon Crean
Succeeded byWayne Swan
Minister for Trade
In office
30 January 1994 – 11 March 1996
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byPeter Cook
Succeeded byTim Fischer
Minister for the Arts
In office
24 March 1993 – 30 January 1994
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byRos Kelly
Succeeded byMichael Lee
Minister for Administrative Services
In office
24 March 1993 – 25 March 1994
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byNick Bolkus
Succeeded byFrank Walker
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Fraser
In office
3 October 1998 – 19 July 2010
Preceded bySteve Dargavel
Succeeded byAndrew Leigh
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Canberra
In office
2 March 1996 – 3 October 1998
Preceded byBrendan Smyth
Succeeded byAnnette Ellis
Senator for Australian Capital Territory
In office
16 February 1988 – 6 February 1996
Preceded bySusan Ryan
Succeeded byKate Lundy
Personal details
Born (1947-12-10) 10 December 1947 (age 70)
Perth, Western Australia
Political partyAustralian Labor Party
Alma materUniversity of Western Australia
OccupationTrade unionist

Robert Francis McMullan (born 10 December 1947) is an Australian former politician who represented the Australian Labor Party in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He is the only person to have represented the Australian Capital Territory in both houses of federal parliament

Early life[edit]

He was born in Perth, Western Australia, and educated at the University of Western Australia, studying economics and arts. Active in the movement against the Vietnam War, McMullan was conscripted for military service in 1968 but successfully argued in court that he was a conscientious objector.[1] McMullan became an industrial advocate for the trade unions, joining the Labor Party in 1973.

Labor Party involvement[edit]

In 1975, McMullan became the Labor Party's Western Australian State Secretary. In 1981, he was elected National Secretary of the Labor Party and he directed the ALP's three successful election campaigns in 1983, 1984 and 1987. He remains the most successful National Secretary of the Labor Party ever.

Parliamentary career[edit]

On 16 February 1988,[2] McMullan was chosen by a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to fill a casual vacancy in the representation of the Australian Capital Territory in the Senate, caused by the resignation of Susan Ryan.[3] This was the second (and last) time that a territory senate vacancy was filled in this way.[4]

McMullan was Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer 1990–93, Minister for the Arts and Minister for Administrative Services 1993–94, Minister for Administrative Services 1994 and Minister for Trade 1994–96 in the government of Paul Keating.

On 6 February 1996 he resigned his Senate seat in order to contest the Division of Canberra in the House of Representatives at the March election; he was successful. The Keating government having been defeated by John Howard, Labor went into opposition and McMullan was elected as a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry. In 1998, following a redistribution, McMullan moved to the neighbouring seat of Fraser.[citation needed]

McMullan became Manager of Opposition Business (opposite number to the Leader of the House) in 1998, and following Labor's 2001 electoral defeat he was made Shadow Treasurer. In July 2003 McMullan was replaced as Shadow Treasurer by Mark Latham and relegated to the post of Shadow Minister for Finance, taking on additional responsibility for Reconciliation and Indigenous Affairs. When Latham became Leader he gave the job of Shadow Treasurer to his predecessor Simon Crean, despite having promised the job to McMullan.[citation needed] McMullan then became Shadow Minister for Finance and Shadow Minister for Small Business.[citation needed]

In Question Time in Parliament, McMullan gained a reputation for repeatedly asking the same question in different words if he did not get a direct answer. After the 2004 election, McMullan did not stand for election to the Shadow Cabinet, in what was widely seen as an expression of lack of confidence in the leadership of Mark Latham.[citation needed]

Following the election of Kevin Rudd on 4 December 2006 as Opposition Leader in place of Kim Beazley, McMullan returned to the front bench in the junior role of Labor spokesperson on Federal-State Relations,[5] the reform of which was one of Rudd's declared priorities.[citation needed]

In the 2007 federal election McMullan held his seat of Fraser, albeit with a two-party preferred swing to Labor of less than 2%, one-third of the national average swing to Labor.[6]

When the First Rudd Ministry was sworn in on 3 December 2007, McMullan was given the junior post of Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance.[7] On 19 January 2010, McMullan announced he would not contest the next federal election.[8] He retired prior to the 2010 federal election.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Grattan, Michelle: Labor man for everyman, The Age, 25 March 1981.
  2. ^ Parliamentary Handbook: Historical Information on the Australian Parliament Archived 21 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  4. ^ Footnote, p.3 Archived 16 October 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ See Federalism in Australia and Federation of Australia
  6. ^ Increased majority for Labor in Canberra, Fraser – News – General – The Canberra Times Archived 22 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Rudd hands out portfolios, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 29 November 2007
  8. ^ McMullan to quit politics Archived 20 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine., The Canberra Times, 19 January 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Ros Kelly
Minister for the Arts
Succeeded by
Michael Lee
Preceded by
Nick Bolkus
Minister for Administrative Services
Succeeded by
Frank Walker
Preceded by
Peter Cook
Minister for Trade
Succeeded by
Tim Fischer
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Susan Ryan
Senator for the Australian Capital Territory
Served alongside: Margaret Reid
Succeeded by
Kate Lundy
Preceded by
Brendan Smyth
Member for Canberra
Succeeded by
Annette Ellis
Preceded by
Steve Dargavel
Member for Fraser
Succeeded by
Andrew Leigh
Party political offices
Preceded by
David Combe
National Secretary of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Bob Hogg