Neil Pope

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The Honourable
Neil Pope
Member of the Victorian Parliament
for Monbulk
In office
April 1982 – 3 October 1992
Preceded by Bill Borthwick
Succeeded by Steve McArthur
Administrator of Norfolk Island
In office
1 April 2012 – 1 July 2014
Monarch Elizabeth II
Preceded by Owen Walsh
Succeeded by Gary Hardgrave
Personal details
Born (1949-03-03) 3 March 1949 (age 67)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Jennifer Mary Gebbie
Children Jacinta and Sam
Residence Sorrento
Alma mater Swinburne Technical College
RMIT University
Occupation Politician, managing director

Neil Albert Pope AM (born 3 March 1949) is a former Australian politician. He was the Labor member for Monbulk in the Victorian Legislative Assembly from 1982 to 1992.[1] and served as a Minister in the Labor Governments of John Cain II and Joan Kirner.

He was the Victorian Minister for Labour from 1988 to 1992, Minister for Youth Affairs from 1988 to 1991 and Minister for School Education from January to October in 1992. Pope lost his seat in October 1992, when the Kennett Liberal Government was elected.

He was Managing Director of Neil Pope and Associates, a Human Resources and Employment Relations consultancy practice that has consulted to many of the top 200 companies in Australia and to all three tiers of government across most States of Australia. He has worked extensively in higher education with a major client being Monash University, a major international university based in Melbourne, Australia.

Neil Pope was appointed the 36th Administrator of Norfolk Island from 1 April 2012, initially for a two-year term. He completed this appointment on 30 June 2014.

Early life[edit]

Neil Pope was born in Melbourne, the youngest son of Jack Harry Pope and Iris Lorretta Lee.

He was educated at Christ Church Grammar School, Caulfield Grammar School and studied for a Diploma of Business Studies (Accounting) at the Swinburne Institute of Technology (now Swinburne University) and a Diploma of Business Studies in Local Government at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (now RMIT University).

Pope also qualified for a Certificate of Competency issued under the Local Government Act 1958, at the time the professional qualification for a Municipal Clerk in Victoria.

Before politics[edit]

Between 1973 and 1976 Neil Pope was an Assistant Accountant and Assistant Town Clerk in Victorian local government.

In 1976 he became an Industrial Officer with the Municipal Officers Association, a position he held until his election to the Parliament of Victoria in 1982.

In 1979 he served as a councillor on the Shire of Lillydale, a municipality on the eastern outskirts of Melbourne. He resigned this office in 1982.

State politics[edit]

In April 1982 Pope was elected to the Parliament of Victoria in the electorate of Monbulk. He defeated Bill Borthwick who was Deputy Premier of Victoria at the time. Pope was re-elected in 1985 and 1988, but lost his seat in the Victorian election of October 1992.

Between 1982 and 1988 Neil was a member of the all-Party Parliamentary Public Bodies Review Committee that conducted a number of major inquiries into Victorian public agencies.

In 1985 Pope was appointed as a backbench member of the Victorian Government’s Industrial Relations Taskforce, the co-ordinating body for industrial relations in Victoria at the time.

Between 1987 and 1988 he was Chairman of the Working Party on State-Local Government Financial Relationships. Its final report, known throughout the sector as the Pope Report, made a series of fundamental recommendations about the future development of financial relations between State and Local Government in Victoria.

Following the Victorian election of 1988 Neil Pope was elected to the Victorian Cabinet. He was a Government Minister until the defeat of the Labor Government in 1992. He served as Minister for Labour (1988–1992), Minister for Youth Affairs (1988–1991) and Minister for School Education (1991–1992).

Minister for Labour (1988-1992)[edit]

In this portfolio Pope was responsible for industrial relations, occupational health and safety, the Victorian building and construction industry and employment. His major achievements during this time included:

  • the lowest level of industrial disputation (working days lost) over a four-year period on record in Victoria
  • a 32% reduction in lost time injuries
  • the re-write of the Industrial Relations Act (achieved with the consent of all parties unions, employers and political parties).
  • a substantial increase in the awareness of dangerous goods and major reform of the transportation of dangerous goods.
  • the first Minister to produce and publish strategic objectives with definable goals
  • oversight of a vibrant construction industry and the instigation of the extended deregistration of the BLF.

Minister for Youth Affairs (1988-1991)[edit]

His major achievements during this time included:

  • the development and publication of Victoria's first Youth Budget in 1989
  • Implementation of the Victorian Government's response to the Australian Human Rights Commission's 1990 report on Youth Homelessness (the Burdekin Report)
  • Development and publication in 1990 of a strategic framework for government wide youth policy - the Youth Agenda

Minister for School Education (1991-1992)[edit]

His major achievements during this time included:

  • completion of the successful introduction of the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE)
  • a continued increase in school retention rates.

After politics[edit]

In February 1993 he established Neil Pope and Associates, a human resource management consultancy, specialising in mediation and workplace reform.

Appointment as Administrator of Norfolk Island[edit]

On 13 February 2012 the Minister for Regional Australia announced that Neil Pope had been appointed as the 36th Administrator of Norfolk Island.[2]

In announcing the appointment made by the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce, the Minister for Regional Australia, Hon. Simon Crean said:

Mr Pope’s long and impressive career in State and local government, together with his recent management consultancy experience will greatly assist in overseeing the implementation of the reform process on Norfolk Island.
An important role for the new Administrator will be to continue to foster active community engagement in the reform agenda by providing opportunities for all residents and stakeholders.

Pope's term commenced on 1 April 2012 and was initially for two years. He was replaced by Gary Hardgrave on 1 July 2014.


Neil Pope was awarded a Centenary Medal in January 2001 for service to the community through industrial relations, local government and parliament.[3]

Neil is a keen golfer and an active member of the Portsea Golf Club where he has served on the Committee from 2003 until 2012. He was the President of the Club in 2011 and 2012.

He is also a keen follower of Australian rules football, a supporter of the Carlton Football Club and a member of its Blues Coterie.

In the Australia Day 2015 Honours list, Neil was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the community of Victoria, particularly through local and state government roles, and to the administration of Norfolk Island.[4]


External links[edit]

Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Bill Borthwick
Member for Monbulk
Succeeded by
Steve McArthur
Political offices
Preceded by
Barry Pullen
Minister for Education
Succeeded by
Don Hayward
Government offices
Preceded by
Owen Walsh
Administrator of Norfolk Island
Succeeded by
Gary Hardgrave