John Kerin

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The Honourable
John Kerin
John Charles Kerin.jpg
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Macarthur
In office
2 December 1972 – 13 December 1975
Preceded by Jeff Bate
Succeeded by Michael Baume
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Werriwa
In office
23 September 1978 – 22 December 1993
Preceded by Gough Whitlam
Succeeded by Mark Latham
Personal details
Born (1937-11-21) 21 November 1937 (age 79)
Bowral, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Residence Canberra
Occupation Economist

John Charles Kerin, AM (born 21 November 1937) is an Australian economist and former Australian Labor Party (ALP) politician.

Early life and education[edit]

Kerin was born in Bowral in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. Growing up in a rural area, he was educated at Hurlstone Agricultural High School and Bowral High School. He worked as a poultry farmer before later completing a BA from the University of New England, Armidale, in 1967.

Career in politics[edit]

Kerin worked at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) before being elected to the Commonwealth Parliament as the Labor member for Macarthur in the 1972 federal election. He lost his seat in the Labor defeat in the 1975 election and returned to the ABARE. He was re-elected as the ALP member for Werriwa in 1978 following the retirement from that seat of former prime minister Gough Whitlam.

Kerin served as Minister for Primary Industries (1983–1987), Minister for Primary Industries and Energy (1987–1991), Minister for Transport and Communications (1991), and Treasurer (1991) in the Labor government of Bob Hawke and later Minister for Trade and Overseas Development (1992–1993) in the Labor Government of Paul Keating.

Kerin replaced Paul Keating as Australian Treasurer in June 1991 after Keating resigned following an unsuccessful challenge to Hawke as Labor leader and Prime Minister, although Bob Hawke himself was treasurer for a day after Paul Keating resigned.[1] Kerin was highly regarded as Minister for Primary Industry but his period as Treasurer was a difficult one, not least because of the ongoing tension between Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. Kerin resigned as Treasurer shortly before Keating's second, successful, bid for leadership in December 1991. Keating later appointed Kerin as Minister for Trade and Overseas Development.

Activities since leaving parliament[edit]

After leaving politics in 1993, Kerin held senior positions with the Australian Meat and Livestock Corporation and numerous other bodies. Kerin remains active across a range of activities in public policy in Australia. In October 2008 he was appointed to the board of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. He was appointed the 2008 Distinguished Life Member of the Australian Agriculture and Resource Economics Society.[2]

In October 2010 he was appointed Chair of the Crawford Fund which aims to increase Australia's engagement in international agricultural research, development and education.

In 2011 he resigned from the NSW branch of the ALP in protest at what he saw as the increasingly highly centralised nature of control over the operations of the organisation. He said that the administrative arm of the ALP in NSW had become increasingly involved in policy formulation leaving little room for meaningful participation by rank and file members of the ALP.[3] In August 2012 he rejoined the ALP in Canberra where he felt that local management of the party was more responsive to the concerns of rank and file members.


  • John Kerin (2013) "Primary Industry Policy", in Troy Bramston (ed.), The Whitlam Legacy, The Federation Press, Annandale, NSW. ISBN 978-186287-903-4 (hbk)
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Nixon
Minister for Primary Industry
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy

Succeeded by
Simon Crean
Preceded by
Bob Hawke
Succeeded by
Ralph Willis
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Minister for Transport and Communications
Succeeded by
Graham Richardson
Preceded by
Neal Blewett
Minister for Trade and Overseas Development
Succeeded by
Peter Cook
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Jeff Bate
Member for Macarthur
Succeeded by
Michael Baume
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Member for Werriwa
Succeeded by
Mark Latham


  1. ^ "Hawke Ministry (ALP) 4.4.1990 – 20.12.1991". Parliamentary Handbook of the Commonwealth of Australia. Commonwealth of Australia. 10 January 2003. Archived from the original on 18 October 2006. Retrieved 30 November 2006. 
  2. ^ 2008 AARES Distinguished Life Member, The Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, 54(3), 2010.
  3. ^ Steve Lewis, 'ALP elder Kerin quits in disgust', The Courier-Mail, 15 August 2011.