Robert McClelland (Australian politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Honourable Justice
Robert McClelland
Vice President of the Executive Council
In office
13 September 2010 – 5 March 2012
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Preceded by John Faulkner
Succeeded by Tony Burke
Attorney General of Australia
In office
3 December 2007 – 14 December 2011
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Philip Ruddock
Succeeded by Nicola Roxon
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Barton
In office
2 March 1996 – 5 August 2013
Preceded by Gary Punch
Succeeded by Nickolas Varvaris
Personal details
Born Robert Bruce McClelland
(1958-01-26) 26 January 1958 (age 58)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Labor Party
Alma mater University of New South Wales
University of Sydney
Website Official website

Robert Bruce McClelland (born 26 January 1958 in Sydney) is a current judge on the Family Court of Australia, and a former Australian politician. He was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from March 1996 until September 2013 representing the Division of Barton. Between 2007 and 2011, McClelland was the Attorney-General of Australia.

Early life and education[edit]

McClelland is the son of Doug McClelland, a former Senator for New South Wales between 1962 and 1987, and a minister in the Whitlam government and President of the Senate, serving between 1983 and 1987. His grandfather was Alfred McClelland, a state Labor MP from 1920 to 1932.

McClelland was educated at Blakehurst High School before studying at the University of New South Wales, where he gained bachelor's degrees in arts and law, and the University of Sydney where he gained a master's degree in law.


Early career[edit]

He was an Associate to the Justice Phillip Evatt of the Federal Court of Australia 1981–82 before becoming a solicitor and ultimately partner with law firm Turner Freeman.[1]

Political career[edit]

Two years after his election to parliament, McClelland became a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry. He was Shadow Attorney-General 1998–2003, Shadow Minister for Workplace Relations 2001–03, Shadow Minister for Homeland Security 2003–05, Shadow Minister for Defence 2004–06 and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs 2006–07. In November 2007, Robert McClelland was appointed as the Attorney-General.[2] As part of a cabinet reshuffle in December 2011 he was moved to oversee the portfolio of emergency management and housing.[3] In a further cabinet reshuffle in February 2012 following Kevin Rudd's leadership challenge, McClelland returned to the backbench.

After McClelland indicated on 8 October 2007 his party's disapproval of death sentences for all south Asian countries, his leader Kevin Rudd criticized the speech as "insensitive" because it was made on the eve of the anniversary of the Bali bombings.[4][5] McClelland apologized,[6] but critics called the positions inconsistent[7] and prevented Rudd from appointing McClelland as Foreign Minister when the ALP won the 2007 election. As Attorney General McClelland introduced the CRIMES LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (TORTURE PROHIBITION AND DEATH PENALTY ABOLITION) ACT 2010 (NO. 37, 2010)[8]

In the 2007 Federal election, McClelland was re-elected to the seat of Barton with a 4.53% swing toward the Labor Party.[9] In the 2010 Federal election, McClelland was re-elected to the seat of Barton, but suffered an 8.08% swing against the Labor Party.

In February 2008, McClelland stated that it was unacceptable that the ACT government, which is proposing to allow same-sex couples to enter into unions, would give the right to hold public ceremonies to celebrate their unions.[10] McClelland was criticised by Greens Senator Bob Brown, who said it was displaying the ugly face of Labor conservatism.[11] In September 2008 McClelland introduced the Same-Sex Relationships (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws—General Law Reform) Bill 2008 which gave same sex couples equal rights in respect to social security, taxation and superannuation laws.[12]

On 29 January 2013, McClelland announced he would not be contesting the 2013 election.[13]

Judicial career[edit]

On 28 May 2015, McClelland was appointed to the Family Court of Australia by Attorney-General George Brandis QC. He is based in the Court's Sydney registry and his appointment commenced on 16 June 2015.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Biography". Attorney-General's Department. Archived from the original on 18 July 2008. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  2. ^ "The Hon Robert McClelland MP, Member for Barton (NSW)". Australian Parliament House. Retrieved 21 July 2008. 
  3. ^ "Gillard says cabinet reshuffle 'difficult'". The Sydney Morning Herald. 13 December 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2011. 
  4. ^ "No mercy for terrorists: Rudd". The Sydney Morning Herald. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  5. ^ "PM slams Rudd over death penalty". The Age. Australia. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  6. ^ "McClelland apologises to victims of Bali". 11 October 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  7. ^ "Australia under fire for 'inconsistent' death penalty stance". ABC News. Australia. 9 October 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Australian Electoral Commission summary of Barton, Federal Election 2007.". Australian Electoral Commission. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 19 December 2007. 
  10. ^ Maley, Paul (7 February 2008). "Gay unions are OK ... just don't do it in public". The Australian. Retrieved 7 February 2008. 
  11. ^ "ACT civil partnerships issue will cause government rift: Brown". ABC News. Australia. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 7 February 2008. 
  12. ^;query=Id%3A%22chamber%2Fhansardr%2F2008-09-04%2F0017%22
  13. ^ ABC News, 29 January 2013
  14. ^ Senator the Honourable George Brandis QC, 28 May 2015

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Gary Punch
Member of Parliament
for Barton

Succeeded by
Nickolas Varvaris
Political offices
Preceded by
Philip Ruddock
Attorney General of Australia
Succeeded by
Nicola Roxon
Preceded by
John Faulkner
Vice President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
Tony Burke