Michael MacKellar

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Michael MacKellar

Member of the Australian Parliament
for Warringah
In office
25 October 1969 – 18 February 1994
Preceded byEdward St John
Succeeded byTony Abbott
Personal details
Michael John Randal MacKellar

(1938-10-27)27 October 1938
Moree, New South Wales
Died9 May 2015(2015-05-09) (aged 76)
Melbourne, Victoria
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
OccupationAgricultural scientist

Michael John Randal MacKellar AM (27 October 1938 – 9 May 2015) was an Australian politician, the Liberal Member for Warringah from 1969 until 1994.


MacKellar was born in Moree, New South Wales and was an agricultural scientist before he entered politics. He was first elected to Parliament in 1969, taking over from the controversial Edward St. John. In December 1975, MacKellar was first appointed to the front bench as the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, a position he held until 1979, when he became Minister for Health and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister. In Opposition, MacKellar acted as Shadow Minister for Science.

MacKellar attracted some controversy over his handling of an incident involving the improper importation of a colour television set. In 1982, a ministerial staffer submitted an incorrect customs declaration form when arranging for the set to be imported. When this was discovered, a fellow Minister, John Moore, attempted a cover-up. Moore and MacKellar both accepted responsibility and resigned as ministers.[1][2]

MacKellar resigned from Parliament on 18 February 1994, causing a by-election that was subsequently won by future Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

After leaving politics MacKellar became Chairman of the Australia New Zealand Food Authority in 1998.[3] He also acted as Chief Operations Officer of the Baker Medical Research Institute and Chief Executive Officer of the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association. MacKellar also served as the president of the Melbourne-based National Ageing Research Institute.

Personal life[edit]

Mackellar had three children, one of whom was autistic. His daughter Maggie was the subject of an episode of ABC TV's Australian Story.[4]

He died on 9 May 2015 at the age of 76.[5] He was given a state funeral on 15 May 2015 at St John's Anglican Church, Toorak, VIC.[6]


  1. ^ Bowers, Peter (21 April 1982). "A Government in tatters after the night of the long shredder. Resignations of Michael MacKellar and John Moore over the colour television incident". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 7. ISSN 0312-6315.
  2. ^ Dowding, Keith M; Lewis, Chris, eds. (2012). Ministerial Careers and Accountability in the Australian Commonwealth Government (e-book). Canberra: ANU Press. p. 123.
  3. ^ "New chairman for Australia New Zealand Food Authority" (Press release). Department of Health and Ageing. 1998.
  4. ^ Gee, Peter (14 October 2013). "On Maggie's Farm" (transcript). Australian Story. Australia: ABC TV. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
  5. ^ "Fraser govt minister MacKellar dies". The Australian. 9 May 2015. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 13 May 2015.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Street
Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs
Succeeded by
Ian Macphee
Preceded by
Ralph Hunt
Minister for Health
Succeeded by
Peter Baume
Preceded by
Robert Ellicott
Minister for Home Affairs and the Environment
Succeeded by
Ian Wilson
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Edward St. John
Member for Warringah
Succeeded by
Tony Abbott