|Member of the Australian Parliament
1 December 1984 – 8 October 2001
|Preceded by||Andrew Theophanous|
|Succeeded by||Brendan O'Connor|
7 May 1947 |
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
|Alma mater||La Trobe University
Glenroy High School
Neil Patrick O'Keefe (born 7 May 1947) is a retired Australian politician and lobbyist. Born in Melbourne, he was educated at La Trobe University and then Monash University before becoming a teacher, union official and small business proprietor. In 1984, he was elected to the Australian House of Representatives as the Labor member for Burke. On 24 March 1993 he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Communications. On 24 December 1993 this portfolio became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industrial Relations and Transport. On 24 March 1994 he became Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport, a position he held until Labor's electoral defeat in 1996. O'Keefe retired unexpectedly in 2001, after he'd been preselected to run again in the election scheduled that year.
After his retirement from politics, he was able to use his close relationship with then Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, who he once employed as an adviser to build another career as a lobbyist and through government appointments. On 8 May 2003 O'Keefe accepted a Victorian government appointment as chairman of the joint venture between the government and the Royal Agricultural Society to redevelop the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. His role as chairman involved selecting bidders to develop the site. Controversy ensued when it was revealed that O'Keefe had private commercial links with at least one and as many as three groups bidding for the public private partnership which was worth as much as $700 million to the successful bidder.
He resigned as chairman on 27 May 2004 amid controversy over potential conflicts of interest. He said he resigned because "disgruntled losing bidders for the project may make an issue of perceived links to other bidders" but would not willingly disclose his role with those bids
O'Keefe is a director of the Western Bulldogs Football Club, where he is championing the club's pub with 25 poker machines against the opposition of local residents, the Victoria University Foundation and was executive producer of Australian film production "The Independent." He also served as an independent director of Water for Rivers, an agency created jointly by federal, NSW and Victorian governments that administers the Snowy and Murray Rivers. He also served as chair of the Centre for Public Infrastructure and Director of Melbourne University Private, before it folded.
An active motorcyclist, Neil O'Keefe has also served as the ministerial appointed chair of the Victorian Motorcycle Advisory Council for the past seven years.
The former politician is now a lobbyist, through his company O'Keefe Solutions. His clients include large-scale property developers.
|Parliament of Australia|
|Member for Burke
1984 – 2001