Robert Clark (Australian politician)

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The Honourable
Robert Clark
52nd Attorney-General of Victoria
In office
2 December 2010 – 4 December 2014
Premier Denis Napthine
Preceded by Rob Hulls
Succeeded by Martin Pakula
Member of the Victorian Parliament
for Box Hill
Assumed office
3 October 1992
Preceded by Margaret Ray
Personal details
Born 11 March 1957
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia

Robert William Clark (born 11 March 1957) is an Australian politician. He has been a Liberal Party of Australia member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly since 1988, representing the electorates of Balwyn (1988–1992) and Box Hill (1992–present). He served as Attorney-General and Minister for Finance in the Baillieu Ministry and Napthine Ministry from 2010 to 2014, and also served as Minister for Industrial Relations under Napthine from 2013 to 2014. He had previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer (1992–1996) and Parliamentary Secretary for Treasury and Multimedia (1996–1999) during the Kennett government.[1]

Early life[edit]

Having attended both St. Albans High School and University High School, Clark undertook his tertiary education at the University of Melbourne, obtaining his BCom (Hons) in 1980, an LLB in 1982 and a BA in 1986.[1]

Student activism[edit]

Whilst at university, Clark became active in both the Melbourne University Liberal Club and the Australian Liberal Students' Federation, serving as the president (1979–81) and vice-president (1981–82) of these organisations respectively.

Serving also as the Treasurer of the Melbourne University Students' Representative Council (1976–77), Clark was responsible for legal proceedings brought against the University concerning the collection of the student service fee. The action protested the right of the University Council to award such funds to the SRC, and the subsequent right of the SRC to allocate said funds to the Australian Union of Students. In what was labelled the 'Kaye Judgement', the court ruled that the Student Service Fee was not a fee for services provided but was rather in the nature of a levy of a tax or charge. It was further ruled that the University of Melbourne was a "public authority exercising legislative powers", in that the University was unduly exercising a power in the absence of legislative approval from Parliament. Clark's instrumental role in these actions resulted in significant changes to the law relating to student unionism in Victoria.[2]

Entry into politics[edit]

Clark joined the Liberal Party in 1976. He was an executive member of the Victorian Young Liberal Movement in 1986 and Vice-Chairman of the Deakin Electorate Committee from 1986 to 1988. He has also been a member of the Party's Constitutional Committee since 1987.

Member of Victorian State Parliament[edit]

On 1 October 1988, after almost five years serving as a solicitor practicing in commercial, financial and labour law,[dubious ] Clark was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Balwyn.[1] Following the division of electorate boundaries in 1991, Clark successfully sought re-election in the seat of Box Hill and subsequently assumed the role of Parliamentary Secretary to the Victorian Treasurer, Alan Stockdale, in 1992.

From 1992 to 1999 he convened the Parliamentary Coalition's Treasury and Finance Committee. He was a member of the Coalition's Attorney-General's Committee 1992–1999, Education Committee 1992–1996, Tertiary Education Committee 1996–1999 and Multimedia Committee 1996–1999.

Following the 1996 Victorian state election, Clark was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary, Treasury and Multimedia, a position he held until the Coalition lost Government in October 1999.

From October 1999 until September 2001, Clark was Shadow Minister for Planning (including Major Projects) and Shadow Minister for WorkCover, from September 2001 to August 2002 was Shadow Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Finance and Shadow Minister for WorkCover and from August 2002 to November 2002 was Shadow Minister for Finance, Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Shadow Minister for WorkCover and Shadow Minister for Gaming. In November 2002, Clark assumed the post of Shadow Treasurer and held the position until December 2006.

In December 2006, Clark was appointed as Shadow Attorney General, Shadow Minister for Industrial Relations, Shadow Minister for Information and Communication Technology and Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources. Clark was appointed Attorney-General of Victoria on 2 December 2010 after the Coalition's win at the 2010 state election.

After the defeat of the Liberal Party at the Victorian state election, 2014, Clark unsuccessfully contested the deputy leadership of the Liberal Party.[3]


External links[edit]

Victorian Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Jim Ramsay
Member for Balwyn
Succeeded by
Seat abolished
Preceded by
Margaret Ray
Member for Box Hill
Political offices
Preceded by
Rob Hulls
Attorney-General of Victoria
Succeeded by
Martin Pakula