Richard Alston (politician)

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The Honourable
Richard Alston
Richard Alston.jpg
President of the Liberal Party of Australia
Assumed office
25 June 2014
Preceded by Alan Stockdale
Senator for Victoria
In office
7 May 1986 – 10 February 2004
Preceded by Alan Missen
Succeeded by Mitch Fifield
Personal details
Born Richard Kenneth Robert Alston
(1941-12-19) 19 December 1941 (age 74)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Alma mater University of Melbourne;
Monash University
Occupation Barrister

Richard Kenneth Robert Alston AO (born 19 December 1941) was a member of the Australian Senate from 1986 to 2004, representing the state of Victoria for the Liberal Party. He is currently the Federal President of the Liberal Party of Australia.[1]


Alston was educated at Xavier College (Kew), the University of Melbourne and Monash University, graduating with bachelor's degrees in law, arts and commerce from Melbourne University and master's degrees in Law and Business Administration from Monash University. He was a barrister before entering politics.

On 7 May 1986 Alston was appointed by the Parliament of Victoria under section 15 of the Australian Constitution to fill the vacancy in the Australian Senate caused by the death of Senator Alan Missen. He was re-elected in 1987, 1990, 1996 and 2001.[2]

Alston was a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry from 1989 to 1996, and was Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate 1993–96. Shadow Minister for Social Security, Child Care and Superannuation,as well as Communications and the Arts, were among the positions he held in the shadow ministry. He was Minister for Communications and the Arts 1996–97, Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts 1997–98 and Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts 1998–2003. He was also Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate 1996–2003.

Alston resigned from the Senate on 10 February 2004,[2] and he was replaced by Mitch Fifield. From February 2005 to February 2008, Alston served as Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Since 2004 he has been an Adjunct Professor of Information Technology at Bond University.[3]

Since leaving Parliament, Alston has served as a non executive director of Australian public listed companies. He is currently Chairman of AMEX Ltd,[4] a listed Australian resources company, a member of the global advisory board of London-based hedge fund CQS LLP,[5] Chairman of the China-based Waratah Group,[6] a director of CQS Investment Management (Australia) Pty Ltd, Nanuk Asset Management Pty Ltd,[7] and Balmoral Gardens Pty Ltd,[8] as well as a member of the national Board of CPA Australia.[9] His brother is noted academic Philip Alston.

At the 2015 Australia Day Honours, Alston was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, to international relations through diplomatic roles, to business development in diverse sectors, and to the community.[10] Alston was also awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.[11]


Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Lee
Minister for Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts

Succeeded by
Daryl Williams
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Alan Missen
Senator for Victoria
Succeeded by
Mitch Fifield
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Michael L'Estrange
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
John Dauth