Richard Mulcahy (Australian politician)

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Richard Mulcahy
Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly
In office
Succeeded by Caroline Le Couteur
Constituency Molonglo
Personal details
Born (1952-06-30) 30 June 1952 (age 63)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia

Richard John Mulcahy (born 30 June 1952), a former Australian politician, was a member of the unicameral Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly for one term, from 2004 to 2008, representing the Liberal Party and later as an independent.[1]

Political beliefs[edit]

A long-term Canberra resident, Richard Mulcahy entered the Legislative Assembly after becoming concerned with the quality of core services in Canberra – especially the health and education systems.[2]

He is on the record as saying that it should be possible for the people of the ACT to enjoy quality core services without having to endure a heavy tax burden.[citation needed] He is committed to efficiency in Government and has introduced several pieces of legislation to provide taxation relief for the people of Canberra.[3] Richard Mulcahy was committed to working hard in the electorate. By the ACT Government’s own admission he had produced more case work on behalf of constituents than any other non-government member.

Early career[edit]

Originally from Tasmania, Richard Mulcahy has enjoyed a highly successful career in business and other roles before entering politics. He was the Principal Personal Assistant to the former Premier of Victoria, the late Sir Rupert Hamer and has also advised a number of other Parliamentary figures.[citation needed] He also served in Chief Executive roles with the Confectionery Manufacturers of Australia and the Australian Hotels Association. He was a Director (Dental Programs- Worldwide) of the William Wrigley Jr. Company based in Chicago, USA.[4]

ACT Legislative Assembly[edit]

Mulcahy entered the Legislative Assembly in 2004 as a Member of the Liberal Party. A strong campaign resulted in the highest vote of all Liberal candidates in the electorate of Molonglo. He easily out-polled current Liberal Leader Zed Seselja[5] and was seen instantly by members of the public and media as a candidate for the Liberal leadership. Mulcahy was appointed to the Shadow Treasury position.

In May 2006, Bill Stefaniak replaced Brendan Smyth as the ACT Leader of the Opposition in a coup engineered by Mulcahy.[citation needed] In return Richard Mulcahy was appointed as Deputy Leader – a position he held until another party room coup in November 2007.[6]

Throughout his time in the Liberal Party serious tensions existed between two factions – those loyal to former Leader Brendan Smyth, whose leadership had seen the party crash to a devastating defeat in the 2004 ACT election, and those loyal to Mulcahy.[citation needed]

In December 2007, Richard Mulcahy was removed from the front bench on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations made against him that were later dismissed in a Court judgement handed down in February 2008. He responded angrily and contemptuously at the behaviour of his colleagues and was expelled from the Parliamentary Party at the behest of the Smyth led faction. The expulsion was unanimous, with former Mulcahy supporters Seselja and Dunne supporting his removal. He subsequently resigned from the lay Liberal Party to serve as an Independent.[7][8]

His departure left the Party with just six seats in the Assembly and in a precarious position ahead of the October 2008 election.[9]

The Liberal Party infighting and unpleasantness associated with Mulcahy wore some of the blame for the Party's poor showing at the 2008 ACT Election.[citation needed] While Mulcahy did not come close to regaining his seat,[10] the Liberals were not able to claim it back - rather an unheralded Greens candidate was elected. The current Liberal representation in the ACT Legislative Assembly is six. Mr Zed Seselja, Mr Smyth, Ms Dunne, Mr Hanson, Mr Coe and Mr Doszpot. Media reports had widely dismissed the Liberal Party's chances of obtaining Government in the 2008 ACT Election.

Mulcahy failed to retain his seat at the election, recording only 2057 votes[10] despite spending $56,455 on his campaign.[11] After his expulsion in 2007 he had remained in the Assembly as a Member of the eponymous Richard Mulcahy Canberra Party, but his aim of contesting the next election as a new force in ACT politics proved to be over ambitious.

2008 election[edit]

While Mulcahy committed to continuing to represent the people of Molonglo past the 2008 election, he was soundly beaten at the polls, despite receiving considerable support from disaffected Liberals and spending $56,455 on his campaign.In June 2008 Richard Mulcahy launched the Richard Mulcahy Canberra Party, heading its ticket in the election.[12]


  1. ^ "Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly" (PDF). ACT Legislative Assembly. 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-02. 
  2. ^ - Mr Mulcahy's inaugural speech in the ACT Legislative Assembly which states " Our personal experience with the Canberra hospital system has, on occasions, left a great deal to be desired; and my personal frustration with the incapacity of our local public primary school to provide dedicated teachers for each of the classes for our children contributed to my decision to contest the most recent ACT election. That system, incidentally, is now canvassing the idea of having three classes of pupils assigned to one teacher."
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  4. ^ Pearce, Suzanne, ed. (2008). Who’s Who in Australia 2008 (XLIV 2008 ed.). North Melbourne: Crown Content. p. 1541. 
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