John Brumby

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John Brumby
Chancellor of La Trobe University
Assumed office
29 March 2019 [1]
Preceded byRichard Larkins
45th Premier of Victoria
Elections: 1996, 2010
In office
30 July 2007 – 2 December 2010
MonarchElizabeth II
GovernorDavid de Kretser
DeputyRob Hulls
Preceded bySteve Bracks
Succeeded byTed Baillieu
Leader of the Labor Party in Victoria
In office
30 July 2007 – 3 December 2010
DeputyRob Hulls
Preceded bySteve Bracks
Succeeded byDaniel Andrews
In office
30 June 1993 – 19 March 1999
DeputyBob Sercombe
Demetri Dollis
John Thwaites
Preceded byJim Kennan
Succeeded bySteve Bracks
Leader of the Opposition in Victoria
In office
28 September 1993 – 22 March 1999
PremierJeff Kennett
DeputyBob Sercombe
Demetri Dollis
John Thwaites
Preceded byJim Kennan
Succeeded bySteve Bracks
Minister for Multicultural Affairs
In office
30 July 2007 – 3 December 2010
Preceded bySteve Bracks
Succeeded byNicholas Kotsiras
Minister for Veterans' Affairs
In office
30 July 2007 – 3 December 2010
Preceded bySteve Bracks
Succeeded byHugh Delahunty
Treasurer of Victoria
In office
22 May 2000 – 3 August 2007
PremierSteve Bracks
Preceded bySteve Bracks
Succeeded byJohn Lenders
Minister for Regional and Rural Development
In office
1 December 2006 – 3 August 2007
PremierSteve Bracks
Preceded byNew position
Succeeded byJacinta Allan
Minister for Innovation
In office
12 February 2002 – 3 August 2007
PremierSteve Bracks
Preceded byNew position
Succeeded byGavin Jennings
Minister for State and Regional Development
In office
20 October 1999 – 1 December 2006
PremierSteve Bracks
Preceded byTom Reynolds
Succeeded byTheo Theophanous
Minister for Finance
In office
20 October 1999 – 22 May 2000
PremierSteve Bracks
Preceded byRoger Hallam
Succeeded byLynne Kosky
Member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly for Broadmeadows
In office
18 September 1993 – 21 December 2010
Preceded byJim Kennan
Succeeded byFrank McGuire
Member of the Victorian Legislative Council for Doutta Gatta
In office
20 February 1993 – 10 August 1993
Preceded byBill Landeryou
Succeeded byMonica Gould
Member of the Australian Parliament for Bendigo
In office
5 March 1983 – 24 March 1990
Preceded byJohn Bourchier
Succeeded byBruce Reid
Personal details
John Mansfield Brumby

(1953-04-21) 21 April 1953 (age 70)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
SpouseRosemary McKenzie
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne
OccupationTeacher, union official

John Mansfield Brumby AO (born 21 April 1953) is the current Chancellor of La Trobe University and former Victorian Labor Party politician who was Premier of Victoria from 2007 to 2010. He became leader of the Victorian Labor Party and premier after the resignation of Steve Bracks. He also served as the Minister for Veterans' Affairs and the Minister for Multicultural Affairs. He contested his first election as premier at the November 2010 Victorian state election. His government was defeated by the Liberal/National Coalition led by Ted Baillieu. Brumby resigned as Labor leader after the election, on 30 November, to be replaced by Daniel Andrews. Within weeks of this leadership change, Brumby left parliament, with a Broadmeadows by-election taking place on 19 February 2011.

Brumby currently is the national president of the Australia China Business Council (ACBC).

Early life[edit]

Born in Melbourne, Brumby was educated at Ivanhoe Grammar School and then later, Melbourne Grammar School. He graduated in commerce (BCom) at University of Melbourne, in 1974; and he completed a Diploma of Education (DipEd) at the State College of Victoria at Rusden, in 1975.[2]

He was a teacher at Eaglehawk High School, in Bendigo, from 1976 to 1979. From 1979 to 1983 he was an employee of the Victorian Teachers Union. He was also active in the Labor Party.

Political career[edit]

Federal MP[edit]

In 1983 Brumby was elected to the Australian House of Representatives for the seat of Bendigo, which he held until his defeat in 1990. A member of the Labor Unity faction, he was a strong supporter of Prime Minister Bob Hawke and an opponent of the Socialist Left faction, which historically had its stronghold in the Victorian branch of the Labor Party.

Brumby then worked as a consultant before being appointed chief of staff to the federal Minister for Resources and Tourism, Alan Griffiths with responsibility for the development of policy in areas such as energy, petroleum, minerals and tourism. He held this position until February 1993, when he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council at a by-election for the seat of Doutta Galla Province in Melbourne's western suburbs.

State opposition leader[edit]

The Victorian Labor government of Joan Kirner was defeated at the October 1992 state elections by the Liberal Party led by Jeff Kennett. Kirner resigned as leader after a short period and was succeeded by her deputy Jim Kennan. When Kennan resigned from parliament in June 1993, Brumby was elected his successor. He resigned from the Legislative Council and was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly at a by-election for Kennan's seat of Broadmeadows in Melbourne's outer north.[2]

In 1996, Brumby opposed the Kennett state government's proposed relocation of the State Museum to the Carlton Gardens site adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building. At this time, Brumby first proposed that the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens be nominated for World Heritage listing. The World Heritage nomination was opposed at the time by the Kennett Liberal state government. It was not until after the 1999 state election that the Bracks Labor government nominated and obtained World Heritage Listing for the site.

From 1993 to 1996 Brumby worked to restore Labor's fortunes in Victoria. The defeat of the federal Labor government in March 1996 prompted Kennett to call an early state election three weeks later. Labour only managed a net two-seat gain, leaving it 20 seats behind the Coalition. This defeat was claimed to have undermined Brumby's position as leader. Brumby was later replaced as Labor leader in March 1999, agreeing to resign in favour of Shadow Treasurer Steve Bracks.

Bracks government[edit]

Brumby as Minister for Innovation giving a speech in April 2007

Steve Bracks narrowly won the state election called by Kennett in September 1999 and appointed Brumby as Minister for Finance, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for State and Regional Development. Brumby formed part of the core leadership team of senior ministers in the new government along with Bracks, Deputy Premier John Thwaites and Attorney-General Rob Hulls. Bracks initially served as treasurer and premier, assisted by Brumby who was responsible for Victoria's finances and most of the workload of the Treasury portfolio. On 22 May 2000, Brumby was appointed state treasurer.

As treasurer, Brumby presided over steady economic growth in Victoria, and his economic management was given some of the credit, along with the personal popularity of Bracks, for Labor's landslide re-elections in 2002 and 2006. Brumby ensured that the Labor Government maintained a budget surplus.

During 2004 Brumby was criticised by the state Liberal opposition for sharp increases in the rate of land tax in Victoria, which was criticised by many for potentially threatening the viability of many small businesses. Land tax rates were cut in the 2005 state budget. Faced with a choice of having to fund road infrastructure at the expense of the development of Victoria's schools, hospitals and public transport, Brumby decided to impose a toll on the new Scoresby Freeway (later known as EastLink) in eastern Melbourne. The decision, which broke a 2002 pre-election promise, provoked a hostile response from the Liberal Opposition and local community groups as well as caused the (Liberal) Federal Government to withhold its share of the funding for the project.

Premier of Victoria[edit]

On 27 July 2007 the then Victorian premier, Steve Bracks, announced his retirement from politics, citing family reasons for the decision. Deputy Premier John Thwaites also announced his resignation later that day. On 30 July Brumby was elected unopposed as leader, and was sworn in as premier later that day with Attorney-General Rob Hulls as his deputy.

Brumby even gained the endorsement of Jeff Kennett, the man he made an unsuccessful attempt to oust as Premier at the 1996 election. [3]

An early challenge occurred in November 2007 when State Labor MP Tammy Lobato publicly criticised Brumby over a decision by cabinet to allow genetically modified canola to be grown in Victoria.[4][5] Other State Labor MPs were also said to be upset over Brumby's approach to the issue, and in particular, the way that he allegedly rail-roaded the policy through.[6]

Brumby's response to a plan proposed by then Liberal Party Prime Minister John Howard for the federal government to assume control of the Murray-Darling Basin water catchment from the states was also an early issue. Under the previous Premier, Steve Bracks, Victoria had been the only state to refuse to accept Howard's plan. Following the election on 24 November 2007 of a new Australian Labor Party controlled federal government Brumby agreed to commit Victoria to an amended plan on 26 March 2008.[7]

In April 2008 he was widely applauded for his move to break up the Victorian poker machine gambling duopoly starting in 2012.[8][9] The move was supported in particular by organisations such as the Interchurch Gambling Taskforce and the Australian Hotels Association.[10] Some concerns, however, were raised that the decision could ultimately result in a A$1 billion compensation claim from the companies standing to lose their duopoly status as a result of the decision, Tattersalls and Tabcorp. The government, however, denied that any claim for compensation would be successful.[8][11]

In May 2008, following the reporting of several episodes of violence in various Melbourne Bars and Clubs in the media, Brumby announced a 2am entry curfew on Melbourne city bars, pubs and clubs.[12] The move sparked considerable opposition, with venue operators launching successful legal contests to the legislation,[13] and patrons protesting outside State Parliament House.[14] Brumby announced the dropping of the plan in November 2008, following an increase in violence which the legislation had been aimed at curbing.[15] Critics of the curfew system called the plan populist and regressive, with little concern for the impact on the vast majority of club-goers that did not instigate violence.[16] Subsequently, liquor licensing changes impacted live music venues, notably with The Tote Hotel (amongst others) claiming they had been forced into closure as the operator could no longer afford to support the extra staff required under changes to legislation. Critics argued that these types of venues were not often problem areas for police, and that legislative changes were poorly planned and implemented.[17][18]

During 2008 Brumby's government passed an act decriminalising abortion.[19]

He contested as Premier at the November 2010 Victorian state election and his government was narrowly defeated by the Liberal/National Coalition led by Ted Baillieu.

On 30 November, Brumby announced that he was standing down as Labor leader in Victoria, and that the parliamentary Labor Party would meet on 3 December to elect a new leader and shadow ministry.[20] Ted Baillieu was sworn in as Premier on 2 December formally ending Brumby's tenure, with Brumby resigning from parliament on 21 December.[21]

Post-political career[edit]

Following his resignation from parliament, Brumby was appointed as a joint Vice Chancellor's Fellow at Monash University and the University of Melbourne,[22] chairman of Motor Trades Association of Australia Superannuation Fund, member of the federal government's GST Distribution Review panel,[23] and a director of Huawei in Australia.[24] In 2017 he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Parliament of Victoria, to economic management and medical biotechnology innovation, to improved rural and regional infrastructure, and to the community.[25] He is currently the Australian China Business Council (ACBC) national president.

In February 2019, Brumby resigned from the Huawei board and [26] in March 2019 took up his appointment as Chancellor of La Trobe University.[27]

Personal life[edit]

John Brumby is married to Rosemary McKenzie and has three children. His father, Malcolm Brumby, died from a stroke on 26 September 2010.[28]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "John Brumby AO – our new Chancellor".
  2. ^ a b "Hon John Mansfield Brumby". Re-Member: a database of all Victorian MPs since 1851. Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  3. ^ "Brumby tipped to lead – Bendigo boy may be premier". 28 July 2007.
  4. ^ More grief for Brumby over canola, Melbourne: The Age, 29 November 2007, retrieved 29 November 2007
  5. ^ Rood, David (28 November 2007), Furore as ban on crops lifted, Melbourne: The Age, retrieved 11 April 2008
  6. ^ "Criticism from within can inflict lasting damage". The Age. Melbourne. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  7. ^ Murray Darling Agreement a Win for Farmers and the Environment, Victorian State Government, 26 March 2008, archived from the original on 14 April 2008, retrieved 5 April 2008
  8. ^ a b Mayne, Stephen (13 April 2008). "Brumby's rough ride". The Age. Melbourne: Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 15 October 2016.
  9. ^ Warner, Michael; Pinkney, Matthew (10 April 2008), "Churches back pokie revamp", Herald Sun, retrieved 14 April 2008
  10. ^ Wallace, Rick (11 April 2008), "Brumby smashes gaming duopoly", The Australian, News Limited, retrieved 14 April 2008
  11. ^ Caldwell, Alison (11 April 2008), Victoria could face $1b claim over pokies, ABC News, retrieved 14 April 2008
  12. ^ Melbourne venues set for 2am lockout, The Melbourne Age, 2 May 2008, retrieved 8 February 2010
  13. ^ 99 Melbourne venues exempt from 2am lockout, The Australian, 3 June 2008, archived from the original on 13 October 2009, retrieved 8 February 2010
  14. ^ Protest Against Melbourne's 2am Curfew,, 6 May 2008, retrieved 8 February 2010
  15. ^ Rennie, Reko (10 November 2008), Brumby dumps 2am lockout after increase in violence, The Melbourne Age, retrieved 8 February 2010
  16. ^ inthemix investigates the Sydney's 2am lockout,, 3 December 2008, archived from the original on 15 December 2009, retrieved 8 February 2010
  17. ^ Time called on the Tote, The Melbourne Age, 15 January 2010, retrieved 8 February 2010
  18. ^ Will the close of the Tote force Government to back down on tough live music laws?, The Melbourne Herald Sun, 8 January 2010, retrieved 8 February 2010
  19. ^ "Brumby moves to decriminalise abortion". 20 August 2007. Retrieved 10 February 2011.
  20. ^ "Statement from outgoing premier John Brumby". The Age. Fairfax Media. 30 November 2010. Archived from the original on 28 December 2013.
  21. ^ I quit says ex-premier John Brumby, Herald Sun, 21 December 2010.
  22. ^ "John Brumby appointed joint V-C's Professorial Fellow". Monash University. 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  23. ^ "Brumby takes up part-time fellowships". The Age. 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2011.
  24. ^ "Huawei names John Brumby, Alexander Downer board members". The Australian. 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2011.
  25. ^ "Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia" (PDF). Australia Day 2017 Honours List. Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 March 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2017.
  26. ^ "Former Victorian premier John Brumby resigns from Huawei board". ABC News. February 2019.
  27. ^ University, La Trobe. "John Brumby AO – our new Chancellor". Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  28. ^ "Victorian premier John Brumby's father dies". AAP. 26 September 2010. Retrieved 26 September 2010.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member for Bendigo
Succeeded by
Victorian Legislative Council
Preceded by Member for Doutta Galla Province
Succeeded by
Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by Member for Broadmeadows
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Leader of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria
Succeeded by
Preceded by Leader of the Australian Labor Party in Victoria
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of Victoria
Succeeded by
Preceded by Premier of Victoria
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of La Trobe University