Brian Howe (politician)

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Brian Howe

Second Keating Cabinet 1994 (cropped Howe).jpg
Howe in 1994
8th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
3 June 1991 – 20 June 1995
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded byPaul Keating
Succeeded byKim Beazley
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
3 June 1991 – 20 June 1995
LeaderBob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded byPaul Keating
Succeeded byKim Beazley
Minister for Regional Development
In office
25 March 1994 – 11 March 1996
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byPeter Cook
Succeeded byJohn Sharp
Minister for Local Government
In office
24 March 1993 – 25 March 1994
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byDavid Simmons
Succeeded byWarwick Smith
Minister for Housing
In office
7 May 1990 – 11 March 1996
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded byPeter Staples
Succeeded byTanya Plibersek (2007)
Minister for Community Services
In office
4 April 1990 – 25 March 1994
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded byNeal Blewett
Succeeded byCarmen Lawrence
Minister for Health
In office
4 April 1990 – 24 March 1993
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded byNeal Blewett
Succeeded byGraham Richardson
Minister for Social Security
In office
13 December 1984 – 4 April 1990
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Preceded byDon Grimes
Succeeded byGraham Richardson
Minister for Defence Support
In office
11 March 1983 – 13 December 1984
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Preceded byIan Viner
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Batman
In office
10 December 1977 – 29 January 1996
Preceded byHorrie Garrick
Succeeded byMartin Ferguson
Personal details
Born (1936-01-23) 23 January 1936 (age 83)
Melbourne
NationalityAustralian
Political partyLabor
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
OccupationPolitician, Christian minister

Brian Leslie Howe AO (born 23 January 1936) is a retired Australian politician and Uniting Church minister. He served as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and deputy leader of the Labor Party from 1991 to 1995, under Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. He was a government minister continuously from 1983 to 1996, and a member of the House of Representatives from 1977 to 1996, representing the Division of Batman in Victoria.

Early life[edit]

Howe was born in Melbourne. He grew up in the suburb of Malvern and attended Melbourne High School, going on to complete a Bachelor of Arts and a diploma in criminology at the University of Melbourne. He later moved to the United States to study at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. Howe was the minister at a Methodist church in Fitzroy from 1961 to 1969, while lecturing part-time in sociology.[1]

Politics[edit]

Howe was elected to the House of Representatives at the 1977 federal election, representing the northern Melbourne metropolitan electoral Division of Batman. He defeated the incumbent Horrie Garrick for Labor preselection in a hard-fought preselection contest.[2] It was reportedly the first occasion on which an incumbent Victorian Labor MP in a safe seat was defeated for preselection.[3] A member of the Socialist Left faction of the Labor Party, Howe was Minister for Defence Support in the government of Bob Hawke from 1983. In 1984 he became Minister for Social Security and carried out various radical reforms to Australia's welfare system.[4]

Howe appeared to face significant opposition within his electorate in 1988, when up to 60 members of the Greek Westgarth branch of the ALP defected to join the Australian Democrats. One of the defectors, tram-conductor George Gogas, contested Batman as a Democrat candidate in 1990, but polled only 12.9 per cent of the vote.[5]

After the 1990 election Howe was appointed to the post of Minister for Community Services and Health. When Paul Keating resigned from the cabinet in 1991, Howe succeeded him as Deputy Prime Minister. He became Minister for Health, Housing and Community Services in the Keating government in December 1991, dropping the health part of the portfolio in 1993. In June 1995 he resigned as Deputy Prime Minister and was succeeded by Kim Beazley. He remained in the House of Representatives until the 1996 election.

Howe's last months in the Deputy PM's role were marked by speculation that his successor would be, not Beazley, but Carmen Lawrence, the erstwhile Premier of Western Australia. At the time Lawrence enjoyed considerable popularity, and there were those in the ALP who hoped that with her as Deputy PM, the Keating government (then doing badly in the opinion polls) would benefit. This hope was dashed when Lawrence herself became the subject of a royal commission around the time Howe left the post, although she denied that the royal commission had been her reason for not seeking out the job. Kim Beazley was eventually elected as his successor.[6][7]

Later life[edit]

Following Howe's departure from parliament, the ACTU commissioned him to chair their inquiry into insecure work. In this capacity he has spoken widely about the issue to the media and addressed the National Press Club.[8] As well as being active concerning employment-related matters, Howe is a member of the Patrons Council of the Epilepsy Foundation of Victoria.

Honours[edit]

Howe was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in January 2001,[9] and promoted to Officer level (AO) in January 2008.[10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Long Howe innings had had success". The Canberra Times. 21 June 1995.
  2. ^ Lyle Allan (1978), "Ethnic Politics – Migrant Organization and the Victorian ALP", Ethnic Studies Vol. 2, No. 2, p. 27.
  3. ^ "Upset in ALP pre-selection in Victoria". The Canberra Times. 25 October 1976.
  4. ^ "Biography for Howe, the Hon. Brian Leslie". ParlInfo Web. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 15 September 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2007.
  5. ^ Ainsley Symons (2012), "The Democrats and Local Government. Were they ever a threat to the ALP?" in Recorder (Australian Society for the Study of Labour History, Melbourne Branch) No. 274, Page 7.
  6. ^ https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/loose-cannons-117
  7. ^ https://www.businessnews.com.au/article/WA-this-week-10-years-ago-8
  8. ^ http://www.smh.com.au/national/poverty-danger-in-jobs-divide-says-howe-20120418-1x7ny.html
  9. ^ It’s an Honour: AM
  10. ^ It’s an Honour: AO
Political offices
Preceded by
Paul Keating
Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
1991–1995
Succeeded by
Kim Beazley
Preceded by
Ian Viner
Minister for Defence Support
1983–1984
Succeeded by
Ros Kelly
Preceded by
Don Grimes
Minister for Social Security
1984–1990
Succeeded by
Graham Richardson
Preceded by
Neal Blewett (community
services and health)

Peter Staples (housing)
Minister for Community Services and Health
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Graham Richardson
health
Minister for Health, Housing
and Community Services

1991–1993
Preceded by
David Simmons
local government
Minister for Housing, Local Government
and Community Services

1993–1994
Succeeded by
Carmen Lawrence
human services
John Sharp
regional development
Minister for Housing and
Regional Development

1994–1996
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Horrie Garrick
Member for Batman
1977–96
Succeeded by
Martin Ferguson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Paul Keating
Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
1991–95
Succeeded by
Kim Beazley