John Watkins (Australian politician)
|Deputy Premier of New South Wales|
10 August 2005 – 3 September 2008
|Preceded by||Andrew Refshauge|
|Succeeded by||Carmel Tebbutt|
|Chancellor of the University of New England|
17 April 2013 – 30 June 2014
|Preceded by||Richard Torbay|
|Succeeded by||James Harris|
|Born||7 December 1955|
Sydney, New South Wales
|Political party||Labor Party|
John Arthur Watkins AM (born 7 December 1955) is a former Deputy Premier of New South Wales, serving between 2005 until his resignation from Parliament in 2008. Watkins has been the Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer's Australia (NSW) since 2008; the Chairman of Calvary healthcare since 2011; and the eighth Chancellor of the University of New England, serving between 2013 and 2014.
Watkins was an elected member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing the electorates of Gladesville (between 1995 and 1999) and then Ryde (between 1999 and 2008) for the Labor Party. During his parliamentary career, Watkins served in a range of ministerial portfolios including Fair Trading, Sport and Recreation, Police and Corrective Services, Transport, Finance, State Development, and Education and Training. Often touted as a possible Labor premier, Watkins was from the minority Labor Left faction.
Watkins was the former Deputy Premier of New South Wales, Minister for Transport and Minister for Finance. Watkins was appointed Deputy Premier in August 2005, following the resignation of Andrew Refshauge and upon the appointment of Morris Iemma as Premier. Watkins held the cabinet position of Transport Minister from January 2005. He was appointed Minister for Finance on 30 March 2007 following the reelection of the Iemma Government. Watkins resigned from Cabinet and retired from Parliament in 2008, saying that he had been unable to balance work and family. His retirement triggered the unintentional downfall of Premier Morris Iemma. His resignation came at a bad time for the government; its polling numbers were in free fall only a year after winning reelection. In the ensuing by-election, Ryde was resoundingly lost to Liberal Victor Dominello on a swing of 23.7 percent; only a year earlier, Watkins had been reelected with 60 percent of the two-party vote.
Early years and background
Watkins is married to Deborah and together they have five children. He holds a Bachelor of Laws degree, a Master of Arts degree and a Diploma of Education. Prior to becoming a politician, Watkins was a school teacher at St. Joseph's College, Hunters Hill.
Watkins was a former Alderman on Hunters Hill Municipal Council from 1987 to 1991, and held the position of Deputy Mayor.
In 2008 Watkins was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer's Australia (NSW); after serving as a board member in 2011 he was appointed Chairman of Calvary (Little Company of Mary Healthcare); and in April 2013, he was appointed to succeed Richard Torbay as the eighth Chancellor of the University of New England, until his resignation in June 2014.
In 2017 he was approached to run as the ALP candidate for the federal Bennelong by-election, as Bennelong encompasses his old state seat of Ryde, but declined after former premier Kristina Keneally informed him that she wanted to run in the by-election.
Keneally duly became the candidate but was not successful at the by-election.
- "Queen's birthday honours". Sydney Morning Herald. 8 June 2015.
- "New England grazier James Harris named as UNE's new Chancellor". University of New England. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 18 February 2015.
- Clennell, Andrew (10 July 2007). "Watkins was sized up to fill Carr's shoes, and he may follow Iemma". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- "NSW Deputy Premier Watkins announces retirement". ABC News. Australia. 3 September 2008. Retrieved 3 September 2008.
- Smith, Alexandra; AAP (3 September 2008). "Watkins quits politics to put family first". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
- Smith, Alexandra; Robins, Brian (5 September 2008). "NSW Premier Morris Iemma quits as Premier, will leave politics". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 November 2011.
- "John Watkins new UNE chancellor". Armidale Express. Fairfax Regional Media. 18 April 2013. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
- The Hon. John Arthur Watkins – New South Wales Parliament webpage
- Inaugural speech to the Legislative Assembly – Hansard. 17 October 1995