Kate Carnell

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Kate Carnell
3rd Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Elections: 1995, 1998
In office
2 March 1995 – 18 October 2000
Deputy Gary Humphries
Preceded by Rosemary Follett
Succeeded by Gary Humphries
Member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
In office
15 February 1992 – 17 October 2000
Succeeded by Jacqui Burke
Constituency Molonglo
Personal details
Born Anne Katherine Frazer
(1955-05-30) 30 May 1955 (age 62)
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Ian Carnell (m. 1977–97)
Ray Kiley (m. 2007)
Profession Pharmacist

Anne Katherine "Kate" Carnell AO (née Knowlman; born 30 May 1955) is an Australian businesswoman and former Liberal Party politician, who served as the third Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) from 1995 to 2000.

Early life and pharmacy career[edit]

Carnell was born on 30 May 1955, in Brisbane, Queensland.[1] Her parents owned a small accounting business.[2]

As a teenager she struggled with anorexia and was sent away to recover at Sydney Hospital.[3] She battled the illness for four years.[2]

Heading back to Brisbane after her hospitalisation, Carnell returned to her studies and graduated from the University of Queensland in 1976 with a pharmacy degree. She married husband Ian Carnell in July 1977 and together they moved to Canberra, arriving August 1977. She bought her own pharmacy business in Red Hill in 1981. She owned and managed the pharmacy until 2000.[1]

She was the inaugural chair of the ACT Branch of the Australian Pharmacy Guild,[4] serving in the position between 1988 and 1994.[5] as well as National Vice-President of the guild between 1990 and 1994.[5]

Among other positions she was: Chairman of the Canberra and Southern District Pharmacists Company Ltd (1982–1992), Vice-President of the Retail Industry and Training Council, ACT (1987–1991), Councillor at the Australian Institute of Pharmacy Management (1990–1991), Member of the ACT Board of Health (1990–1991), and a Member of the Pharmacy Restructuring Authority (1990–1991).[citation needed]


Carnell joined the Liberal Party of Australia in 1991[3] and was elected to the second ACT Legislative Assembly in 1992.[6] She became Leader of the Opposition in 1993, succeeding Trevor Kaine.[7]

After winning 7 of 17 seats in the 1995 ACT election, the Liberal Party formed a minority government with Carnell as Chief Minister. The government was re-elected in the 1998 election. She held the portfolios of Minister for Health and Community Care (1995–1998), Minister Responsible for Multicultural and International Affairs (1995–2000), Minister for Business and Employment (1997–1998) and Minister for Business, Tourism and the Arts (2000).[citation needed]

Canberra hospital implosion[edit]

The Carnell Government was severely criticised following the death of twelve-year-old Katie Bender, when the de-commissioned Royal Canberra Hospital was imploded on 13 July 1997 to make way for the National Museum of Australia. Bender died instantly when she was struck by a one kilogram fragment of steel which had been thrown about 430 metres across Lake Burley Griffin by the force of the explosion.[8]

The Coroner cleared Carnell as Chief Minister of any personal responsibility.[8] The Coroner did find in his report that the Government had turned the implosion into a 'public circus' and that this was with the approval of the Chief Minister.[8] The public was invited by the Government to attend and witness the event, resulting in the largest crowd in Canberra's history, in excess of 100,000. The Coroner found that the Government had been cavalier in its attitude to the warnings from a health union about the possible dangers of some aspects of the proposed implosion.[9] The Coroner summarised that, "the evidence on this topic leads me to conclude that Carnell was poorly briefed and advised on this subject matter. The quality of the reply to the HSUA was sacrificed in the interests of speed and expediency".[9]

Bruce Stadium redevelopment[edit]

In October 2000, Carnell resigned, pre-empting a no-confidence motion in relation to cost over-runs in the Bruce Stadium redevelopment project.[10] The project had a $27.3 million budget, of which $12.3 million was provided for by the ACT government and $15 million was to be sourced from the private sector. However, the project eventually cost $82 million, and was solely funded by the government.[citation needed] An ACT Auditor-General's review found that the project's $27.3 million cost estimate had not undergone proper assessment, review or analysis.[citation needed] The review also found that while private financing had been included in the project budget, no funds had been offered or provided by the private sector.[citation needed]


Carnell resigned as Chief Minister on 17 October 2000, before the no-confidence motion was moved against her.[11] She was replaced as Chief Minister by Gary Humphries.[10]

Reflecting on the end of her career in 2012, Carnell told media that she took ministerial responsibility for breaches of the Financial Management Act related to the Bruce Stadium redevelopment because it had occurred in her portfolio, even though the breaches happened without her knowledge. Carnell told reporters that interpretation of ministerial responsibility in the Legislative Assembly had become "really different", comparing her downfall to current events surrounding former Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, who was cleared of ministerial responsibility for data-tampering in her health portfolio.[12]

Life after politics[edit]

After resigning her post as the Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, Carnell has worked in a variety of positions.

  • She made a successful bid for election to the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA) board in August 2001.[13] Carnell resigned her role as NRMA director in 2002.[14]
  • She was appointed chairperson of General Practice Education and Training Ltd by the health minister Michael Wooldridge in 2001,[2] and re-appointed by Woolridge's successor Tony Abbott in 2004.[15]
  • She spent three years as executive director of the National Association of Forest Industries (NAFI).[16][17]
  • Between 2006 and 2008 Carnell was the chief executive officer at the Australian General Practice Network.
  • In 2008 Carnell was appointed as the CEO of the Australian Food and Grocery Council.
  • She was the CEO of the non-profit organisation, beyondblue, from 2012 to 2014.[18][19]

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in the Australia Day Honours list of 2006, for her services and contributions to the Australian Capital Territory.[20]

On 29 July 2007, nearly a decade after her first marriage dissolved, Carnell and her long-term partner, Ray Kiley, married at a ceremony conducted at Old Parliament House in Canberra.[21] In April 2013, Carnell received an honorary doctorate from the University of Canberra.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Carnell, Anne Katherine – profile". Encyclopedia of Australian Science. 1 August 2007. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "Carnell's curtain call". Medical Observer. 25 July 2008. Archived from the original on 9 April 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Jacqueline Maley (14 April 2012). "Shades of blue: Lunch with Kate Carnell". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Kristyn Comino (3 April 2013). "Kate Carnell awarded honorary doctorate". Monitor Online. University of Canberra. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Carnell, Anne Katherine (Kate) (1955 – )". The Australian Women's Register. 4 March 2013. Archived from the original on 27 January 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  6. ^ "Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly" (PDF). Education. Legislative Assembly for the ACT. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 February 2011. Retrieved 31 July 2010. 
  7. ^ "Kaine state funeral to be held Wednesday". ABC News. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Reynolds, Fiona. "Increasing pressure on ACT Chief Minister". AM (ABC Radio) Archive. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Madden, Shane G. (ACT Coroner) (1999). "The public event – an issue of public safety". The Bender Coronial Decision. ACT Magistrates Court and Tribunals (Coroner's Court). Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  10. ^ a b Alexandra Kirk (17 October 2000). "ACT Chief Minister resigns ahead of no confidence vote". The World Today. ABC. Archived from the original on 3 September 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Carnell bows out as ACT Chief Minister". 7:30 Report. 17 October 2000. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  12. ^ Peter Jean and Christopher Knaus (22 August 2012). "Assembly gone soft: Carnell". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  13. ^ "Carnell banks on "Kate" factor for NRMA job". Australian Business Intelligence. 28 August 2001. 
  14. ^ "NRMA director Kate Carnell resigns". ABC Business News. 30 August 2002. Archived from the original on 16 November 2004. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  15. ^ Christina Anastasopoulos (11 August 2004). "Controversial GPET chairwoman wins re-instatement". Australian Doctor. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  16. ^ "Ged Kearney and Kate Carnell". National Press Club of Australia Forum. 21 November 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Charcoal on the South Coast". Earthbeat. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 20 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Beyondblue announces Georgie Harman as new CEO". Beyondblue press release. 16 April 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2014. 
  19. ^ Knott, Matthew (24 January 2012). "Former ACT chief minister Kate Carnell appointed beyondblue CEO". The Power Index. Private Media Pty Ltd. Retrieved 23 June 2012. 
  20. ^ "Carnell, Anne Katherine (Kate) profile at". It's an Honour – Officer of the Order of Australia. 
  21. ^ "Carnell ties the knot for a second time". The Canberra Times. Fairfax Media. 30 July 2007. p. 3. 

External links[edit]

  • Carnell profile, The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia; accessed 20 October 2014.
Political offices
Preceded by
Rosemary Follett
Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory
Succeeded by
Gary Humphries
Party political offices
Preceded by
Trevor Kaine
Opposition Leader of the Australian Capital Territory
Succeeded by
Rosemary Follett
Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member for Molonglo in the ACT Legislative Assembly
Succeeded by
Jacqui Burke