Michael O'Brien (Victorian politician)

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Michael O'Brien

Leader of the Opposition in Victoria
Assumed office
6 December 2018
PremierDaniel Andrews
DeputyCindy McLeish
Preceded byMatthew Guy
Treasurer of Victoria
In office
13 March 2013 – 4 December 2014
PremierDenis Napthine
Preceded byKim Wells
Succeeded byTim Pallas
Minister for Energy & Resources
Minister for Consumer Affairs
Minister for Gaming
In office
2 December 2010 – 13 March 2013
PremierTed Baillieu
Preceded byTony Robinson
Succeeded byNicholas Kotsiras
(Energy & Resources)
Heidi Victoria
(Consumer Affairs)
Andrew McIntosh
Member of the Victorian Parliament
for Malvern
Assumed office
25 November 2006
Preceded byRobert Doyle
Personal details
Born (1971-08-05) 5 August 1971 (age 48)
Dublin, Ireland
Political partyLiberal Party

Michael Anthony O'Brien (born 5 August 1971) is an Australian politician. He has been a Liberal Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 2006, representing the electorate of Malvern[1] and currently serves as the leader of the party and Opposition Leader since December 2018.[2]

O'Brien served as Minister for Gaming, Minister for Consumer Affairs and Minister for Energy and Resources in the Baillieu government from 2010 to 2013, and was promoted to Treasurer in the 2013–2014 Napthine government. Following the defeat of the Napthine government at the 2014 state election, O'Brien contested the leadership of the Liberal Party, but was defeated by Matthew Guy.[3] Guy resigned the party leadership following the party's defeat at the 2018 state election. Subsequently, on 6 December 2018, O'Brien was elected leader of the Liberal Party and became Opposition Leader.[2]


O'Brien underwent secondary education at Marcellin College before completing a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne. He worked as a barrister at the Victorian Bar practising in the fields of trade practices and commercial law. With co-author Jamie Richardson, O'Brien won the Law Institute of Victoria's Rogers Legal Writing Award in 2006.[4] While at the Bar he also lectured part-time in trade practices at the Leo Cussen Institute of Continuing Legal Education and performed pro bono work.

Political career[edit]

O'Brien served as a senior adviser to the former Federal Treasurer Peter Costello for five years.[5]

He stood for the Liberal Party in the blue-ribbon seat of Malvern at the 2006 state election, winning with over 60 per cent of second-preference votes.[6]

On 6 December 2006, he was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet by the State Opposition leader, Ted Baillieu, to the position of Shadow Minister for Gaming.[7] He was one of three newly elected Liberal MPs who were immediately promoted to Shadow Cabinet following the 2006 election, the others being Mary Wooldridge and Matthew Guy.[7]

In August 2007, he was promoted to Shadow Minister for Consumer Affairs—taking over from Wendy Lovell—in addition to his responsibilities for gaming.[citation needed] In April 2009, he called for the Brumby Government to change company share laws so that apartment owners could take consumer cases to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, instead of having to go the Supreme Court.[8]

In November 2009, O'Brien was promoted in a shadow cabinet reshuffle. He had been tipped to gain a "senior portfolio" but ended up in charge of three separate economic portfolios: infrastructure and public-private partnerships; energy and resources; and exports and trade.[9] He told a local newspaper that he was "delighted with the changes" and was looking forward to "developing a better alternative to Labor's poor performance [in energy security and improved infrastructure]".[10] He retained the gaming and consumer affairs portfolios.

Following the election of the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition at the 2010 state election, O'Brien was sworn in on 2 December 2010 as Minister for Energy and Resources, Minister for Gaming and Minister for Consumer Affairs.[11]

In 2011 the Victorian Government proposed changing the Gaming Regulation Act to make it an offence to insult the Minister. The Opposition responded by calling him "Windscreens O'Brien – because this proves he's got a glass jaw".[12]

After the move of Liberal MP Geoff Shaw to the crossbenches and the resignation of Premier Ted Baillieu in March 2013, O'Brien became Treasurer of Victoria in the ministry of the Napthine minority government.

Matthew Guy was elected as leader of the Liberal Party in a leadership ballot contested on 4 December 2014, making him Leader of the Opposition after defeating Michael O'Brien for the position.[13][14] Matthew Guy made O'Brien shadow treasurer in opposition.[15]

On 6 December 2018, O'Brien was elected the leader of the Liberal party after Guy resigned following the 2018 state election defeat.[16]

Personal life[edit]

O'Brien is a supporter of the Carlton Football Club in the Australian Football League and is a co-founder of the Spring Street Blues, a Victorian MP supporter group for Carlton.[17]


  1. ^ "Hon Michael O'Brien". Parliament of Victoria. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b 'New day for the party': Vic Liberals pick Michael O'Brien as leader
  3. ^ Smethurst, Annika (4 December 2014). "Matthew Guy defeats Michael O'Brien in Liberal leadership ballot". Herald-Sun. News Corp Australia. Retrieved 4 December 2014.
  4. ^ Malvern Prahran Leader, 7 October 2009.
  5. ^ Malvern Prahran Leader, 29 November 2006.
  6. ^ a b Main source is The Age, 7 December 2006. Brief mention in the Herald Sun, 7 December 2006. "Three new MPs—Mary Wooldridge, Michael O'Brien and Matthew Guy—have picked up frontbench positions. Both Ms Wooldridge and Mr O'Brien are being touted as potential future state leaders."
  7. ^ Sunday Herald Sun, 29 March 2009. "Under the company share system... if an [apartment owner] does not agree with [a decision by the board of management], they must take legal action in the Supreme Court. [...] Mr O'Brien said it was time laws were changed to prevent neighbourly fights clogging up court time, especially when there was a tribunal to deal with such disputes."
  8. ^ The Age, 6 November 2009. Quote taken from an article in the Herald Sun, 21 October 2009.
  9. ^ Malvern Prahran Leader, 25 November 2009.
  10. ^ ABC online, 2 December 2010.
  11. ^ Herald Sun, 18 October 2011.
  12. ^ "Matthew Guy defeats Michael O'Brien in Liberal leadership ballot". Herald Sun. 4 December 2014.
  13. ^ "Matthew Guy defeats Michael O'Brien in Liberal leadership victory". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 24 March 2015.
  14. ^ https://vic.liberal.org.au/MichaelOBrien
  15. ^ Preiss, Adam Carey, Benjamin (5 December 2018). "'New day for the party': Vic Liberals pick Michael O'Brien as leader". The Age. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  16. ^ Carlton Football Club website.


News articles
Online resources

External links[edit]

Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Robert Doyle
Member for Malvern
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Robinson
Minister for Gaming
Succeeded by
Andrew McIntosh
as Minister for Gaming Regulation
Minister for Consumer Affairs
Succeeded by
Heidi Victoria
Preceded by
Peter Batchelor
Minister for Energy and Resources
Succeeded by
Nicholas Kotsiras
Preceded by
Kim Wells
Treasurer of Victoria
Succeeded by
Tim Pallas
Preceded by
Matthew Guy
Leader of the Opposition in Victoria
Party political offices
Preceded by
Matthew Guy
Leader of the Liberal Party in Victoria