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|Member of the Australian Parliament
2 March 1996 – 17 October 2007
|Preceded by||Alan Griffiths|
|Succeeded by||Bill Shorten|
3 April 1949 |
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Alma mater||University of Melbourne|
Robert Charles Grant Sercombe (born 3 April 1949) is a former Australian politician who represented the Division of Maribyrnong, Victoria for the Australian Labor Party from March 1996 until his retirement at the 2007 federal election.
He was born in Melbourne, Victoria, and was educated at the University of Melbourne. He was a public servant, social planner, and administrator before entering politics. He was an adviser to Clyde Holding, a former Victorian opposition leader and a minister in the Hawke government from 1983 until 1988. Sercombe was a member of the Essendon City Council in 1983 and 1984.
In State politics, he became well known for supporting a leadership challenge on behalf of Ian Baker who attempted to topple then Leader John Brumby in 1994. After the bid failed, he did not contest the deputy leadership.
In the federal Parliament, Sercombe was an Opposition Whip from 1998 until 2001. He was elected to the Opposition Shadow Ministry after the 2004 election and appointed Shadow Minister for Pacific Islands (assisting the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd). His portfolio responsibilities were expanded some time later by Beazley to include Overseas Development. As Shadow Minister, Sercombe put out a series of policy announcements about expanding Australia's relationship with that region.
Within the Labor Party, Sercombe was for many years a leading member of the Labor Right in Victoria, although later became allied to the Left faction in Victoria while being a leading light of the Centre caucus in Canberra.
Just prior to a local vote of ALP members, in February 2005 Sercombe announced he was withdrawing his candidacy from Labor preselection for his seat of Maribyrnong in favour of Australian Workers' Union National Secretary Bill Shorten as Shorten had the numbers over Sercombe to win the preselection and Shorten was elected unopposed as a result. He criticised challenges to other incumbent MPs. Despite announcing his retirement Sercombe was kept on the frontbench by Opposition Leader Kim Beazley until December 2006 when he was sacked by new leader Kevin Rudd.
Remarkably Sercombe was an Opposition frontbencher in both the Victorian State and Federal Parliaments but did not become a Minister in either tier of Government.
|Victorian Legislative Assembly|
|Member for Niddrie
|Parliament of Australia|
|Member for Division of Maribyrnong