Michael Egan (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
Michael Egan
Treasurer of New South Wales
In office
3 April 1995 – 21 January 2005
Premier Bob Carr
Preceded by Peter Collins
Succeeded by Andrew Refshauge
Vice-President of the Executive Council
In office
3 April 1995 – 21 January 2005
Preceded by John Hannaford
Succeeded by John Della Bosca
Minister for State Development
including Regional Development (1995 – 1997)
In office
3 April 1995 – 21 January 2005
Preceded by John Fahey
Succeeded by Morris Iemma
Minister for Gaming and Racing
In office
13 February 2003 – 2 April 2003
Preceded by Richard Face
Succeeded by Grant McBride
Minister for Energy
In office
3 April 1995 – 30 November 1997
Preceded by Ted Pickering
Succeeded by Bob Debus
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Cronulla
In office
7 October 1978 – 5 March 1984
Preceded by Ian Griffith
Succeeded by Malcolm Kerr
Member of the
Legislative Council of New South Wales
In office
24 September 1986 – 8 February 2005
Personal details
Born Michael Rueben Egan
(1948-02-21) 21 February 1948 (age 69)
Sydney, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Alma mater University of Sydney
Occupation Research officer and
Company director
Website NSW Parliament webpage

Michael Rueben Egan AO (born 21 February 1948), a former union official and former Australian politician, served as Treasurer of New South Wales between 1995 and 2005. Egan is currently the Chancellor of Macquarie University and sits on a number of government and non-government advisory boards.

Early years and background[edit]

Egan was educated at St Patrick's College, Sutherland and obtained his Bachelor of Arts from Sydney University. He served the Australasian Meat Employees Union as a Federal Research Officer (1969 – 1973) and was an Advisor to the Hon Les Johnson as Federal Minister for Housing and Construction and Federal Minister for Aboriginal Affairs (1973 – 1975).

Egan served as an Officer of the NSW State Pollution Control Commission (1976 – 1978) and was a Senior Policy Advisor to Barrie Unsworth initially as NSW Minister for Transport and NSW Minister for Health and then as Premier of NSW (1984 – 1986).[1]

Political career[edit]

Egan was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly on 7 October 1978, standing in the seat of Cronulla. Although re-elected on 19 August 1981, he was defeated in elections held on 5 March 1984. He successfully ran for election to the New South Wales Legislative Council on 24 September 1986. It was not until the Bob Carr-led Labor Party took power on 3 April 1995 that he became State Treasurer, Minister for Energy, and Minister for State Development. In a Ministerial reshuffle in November 1997, Bob Debus took over the Energy portfolio. Egan was also Minister for Gaming and Racing for one month during 2003 replacing Richard Face and succeeded by Grant McBride. Egan was eventually to become the longest serving Treasurer in New South Wales.[1]

In the few years before he became Treasurer when Labor was in Opposition, Egan had been the Shadow Finance Minister. Even though then Opposition Leader Bob Carr was still Shadow Treasurer, Egan became the informal Opposition counterpart to Liberal Treasurer Peter Collins when Collins was appointed Treasurer in 1993. It was Egan, not Carr, who debated Collins on economic matters in media appearances. It was because of Egan's solid performance against Treasurer Collins that Carr upon becoming Premier in 1995 with the ALP's victory at the State election, broke with convention in not appointing the Shadow Treasurer just prior to the election (which was Carr himself) as Treasurer and appointed Egan instead.

Another break in convention with Egan's appointment as Treasurer is that he was a member of the Upper House, the New South Wales Legislative Council as previous Treasurers had been from the Lower House, the Legislative Assembly. However, since all money bills had to be introduced first in the Lower House, the Legislative Assembly, Egan delivered the State Budgets of 1995 to 2004 in the Legislative Assembly despite not being a member of that house of Parliament.

Announcing his resignation on 18 January 2005, Egan stated that, 'after 35 years of political combat, I think it's time for me to move on'.[2][3]

Career after politics[edit]

Appointed as a member of the Council of Macquarie University in 2006, Egan was appointed as Chancellor in 2008. Other community roles include: Chairman of the Australia Day Council of New South Wales since 2006, Chairman of the Centenary Institute of Cancer Medicine and Cell Biology since 2005, a Governor of the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research since 2005, and a Director of the Maritime Services Board of New South Wales between 1984 and 1986.[1]

In May 2008 Egan was appointed Chairman of Terria, and in 2009, he was appointed as the Chair of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority Commission.


Egan has never hidden his homosexuality.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "The Hon. Michael Rueben Egan profile". Members of Parliament. Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  2. ^ Colvin, Mark; Barlow, Karen (18 January 2005). "Michael Egan quits as NSW Treasurer" (transcript). PM (ABC Radio). Australia. Retrieved 5 October 2005. 
  3. ^ "NSW Treasurer Michael Egan to quit politics". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 18 January 2005. Retrieved 5 October 2005. 
  4. ^ Janet Fife-Yeomans, "Outed MP David Campbell not alone - one in five men gay", Daily Telegraph, 22 May 2010. Retrieved 26 June 2016
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Ian Griffith
Member for Cronulla
1978 – 1984
Succeeded by
Malcolm Kerr
Academic offices
Preceded by
Maurice Newman
Chancellor of Macquarie University
2008 – present