Martin Ferguson

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Martin Ferguson

Martin Ferguson - World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012 crop.jpg
Minister for Resources and Energy
In office
3 December 2007 – 22 March 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byIan Macfarlane
Succeeded byGary Gray
Minister for Tourism
In office
3 December 2007 – 22 March 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byFran Bailey
Succeeded byGary Gray
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Batman
In office
2 March 1996 – 5 August 2013
Preceded byBrian Howe
Succeeded byDavid Feeney
President of the Australian Council
of Trade Unions
In office
4 April 1990 – 2 March 1996
Preceded bySimon Crean
Succeeded byJennie George
Personal details
Born
Martin John Ferguson

(1953-12-12) 12 December 1953 (age 66)
Sydney, New South Wales
Political partyLabor
WebsiteMartinFerguson.com.au

Martin John Ferguson AM (born 12 December 1953) is an Australian former Labor Party politician who was the Member of the House of Representatives for Batman from 1996 to 2013. He served as Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism in the Rudd and Gillard Governments from 2007 to 2013.

Before entering Parliament, Ferguson spent a long career as a trade unionist, being General Secretary of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union from 1984 to 1990 and President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions from 1990 to 1996. He is the son of Jack Ferguson who was Deputy Premier of New South Wales from 1976 to 1984. His brother is Laurie Ferguson, also a long-serving Labor MP.

Trade unionist[edit]

Born in Sydney to Jack Ferguson and Mary Ellen, Ferguson was educated at St Patrick's College, Strathfield, and the University of Sydney. After leaving university, he became a research officer at the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union, eventually rising to become Assistant General Secretary, and later General Secretary in 1984, during which time he was also appointed as a member of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) executive board.

As FMWU General Secretary, and from 1985 to 1990 as Vice President of the ACTU, Ferguson worked closely alongside the likes of Bill Kelty and Simon Crean to negotiate with the Hawke-Keating Government the Prices and Incomes Accord. After Crean's election to the House of Representatives at the 1990 election, Ferguson was elected his replacement as ACTU President, and became a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization. For his services to industrial relations in Australia, Ferguson was admitted to the Order of Australia in 1996.

Political career[edit]

Ferguson won preselection for the safe Labor seat of Batman in 1995, after a deal was negotiated between the right-wing Labor Unity faction in Victoria and the ALP National Executive. At the local level, the majority Greek party membership, largely resulting from heavy branch stacking, was likely to support a candidate other than Ferguson, however no local candidate was likely to receive support from the 50 per cent vote in the preselection panel which had been elected by the Victorian ALP State Conference. The other candidates, Jenny Mikakos and Theo Theophanous, then members of competing Left factions, were forced to withdraw from a local preselection plebiscite in favour of Ferguson, as a result of these negotiations.[1][2]

After his election to the House of Representatives in March 1996, new Opposition Leader Kim Beazley appointed Ferguson as Shadow Minister for Regional and Urban Development and Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure. He remained in the Shadow Cabinet under the leaderships of Simon Crean, Mark Latham and Kevin Rudd. After the latter won the 2007 election, Ferguson was appointed Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism. He continued in both roles after Julia Gillard succeeded Rudd as Prime Minister in June 2010, and resigned from both in March 2013, ahead of his retirement from Parliament that August.

Uranium debate[edit]

Ferguson is a supporter of uranium mining in Australia and in 2005, Ferguson addressed an Australian Uranium Conference and said "We as a community have to be part of the ever-complex question of how we clean up the world's climate. And part of that debate is going to be nuclear power."

The anti-nuclear movement in Australia is stronger than in other developed countries. Friends of the Earth have strongly opposed Ferguson's advocacy for expanding the export of uranium beyond the existing three-mine policy which Ferguson sought to overturn at the ALP's national conference in April 2007.[3] The lobby group Northern Anti Nuclear Alliance has distributed 60,000 leaflets critical of his policy in his electorate of Batman. He also supported – in scientific terms – the proposal of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke for Australia to become the world's storage facility for nuclear waste although he said that it was politically not possible.[4]

He told ABC Radio that it was wrong to ban uranium exports to the People's Republic of China: "The Labor Party adopts the view that we're open for investment. It's about economic growth and jobs in Australia. Is China to be treated any different to South Korea, Japan, France, United States? I don't think so. We don't have one rule for China in terms of overseas investment and economic growth and jobs and another rule for Japan."

Coal Seam Gas[edit]

In the lead up to the 2015 NSW Election, Ferguson criticised NSW Labor leader Luke Foley over his proposal to ban coal seam gas extraction.[5][6]

A range of Labor figures have doubled down on efforts to oust Ferguson from the party.[7][8][9]

Privatisation[edit]

In 2015, Ferguson come out in support for the Liberal gGvernment plan to sell 49% of the government's electricity distributors. Ferguson even went further, saying he was "ashamed of the Party" and accusing Foley and the unions of "deliberately misleading the public, creating unnecessary fear and trying to scare people."[10]

Career after politics[edit]

Since leaving parliament in 2013, Ferguson has continued to advocate for Australia's tourism, energy and resources sector. As of 2019, Ferguson was the chairman of the Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association[11], the chairman of the Advisory Board of APPEA and has commercial interests in the sector as a non-executive director of Seven Group Holdings and BG Group.[12][13] Since June 2015, Ferguson has also been Chair of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA).[14]

On 19 May 2014, the Australian Labor Party's WA Executive endorsed a motion to expel Martin Ferguson from the Party. However he has refused to resign and continues to be a member.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lyle Allan (1995), '"Sam Benson for Batman and Australia"-Labor Preselection Problems, The Ethnic Vote and the Ghost of Benson,' People and Place, Vol.3, No.3, pp.54–56
  2. ^ Ernest Healy (1995), 'Ethnic ALP Branches – The Balkanisation of Labor Revisited,' People and Place, Vol.3, No.3, p.48-54
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 March 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "NSW State Election 2015: Martin Ferguson steps up attack on Luke Foley over CSG". The Sydney Morning Herald. 24 March 2015.
  6. ^ "NSW election 2015: Martin Ferguson slams Foley over jobs, energy". Archived from the original on 1 January 2017.
  7. ^ "NSW election: Laurie Ferguson rounds on brother Martin Ferguson's privatisation stance". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 March 2015.
  8. ^ "Martin Ferguson allegations 'very serious', could face expulsion if found to have cooperated with NSW Coalition, Bill Shorten says". ABC News. 31 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Labor party members 'white hot anger' against Martin Ferguson". The Australian. 30 March 2015.
  10. ^ Business (12 March 2015). "Martin Ferguson slams NSW union 'misinformation' campaign on poles and wires". Smh.com.au. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  11. ^ "Martin Ferguson new chairman of Clare Valley Wine & Grape Association". WBM Online. 10 September 2019. Retrieved 1 October 2019.
  12. ^ "Martin Ferguson's revolving door puts energy industry in a spin –". 17 June 2014. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  13. ^ "Facebook". Facebook.com. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Martin Ferguson AM appointed Chair of TAA". Australian Hotels Association. Retrieved 18 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Labor ex-minister Martin Ferguson labels WA party's call for his ALP expulsion a 'put-up job'". ABC News. 20 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Brian Howe
Member of Parliament for Batman
1996–2013
Succeeded by
David Feeney
Political offices
Preceded by
Ian Macfarlane
Minister for Resources and Energy
2007–2013
Succeeded by
Gary Gray
Preceded by
Fran Bailey
Minister for Tourism
2007–2013
Succeeded by
Gary Gray
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Ray Gietzelt
General Secretary of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union
1984–1990
Succeeded by
Jeff Lawrence
Preceded by
Simon Crean
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
1990–1996
Succeeded by
Jennie George