Robert Schwarten

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The Honourable
Rob Schwarten
Minister for Public Works of Queensland
In office
29 June 1998 – 21 February 2011
Preceded by David Watson
Succeeded by Simon Finn
Minister for Information and Communication Technology of Queensland
In office
12 October 2006 – 21 February 2011
Preceded by Chris Cummins
Succeeded by Simon Finn
Leader of the House of Queensland
In office
28 July 2005 – 26 March 2009
Preceded by Anna Bligh
Succeeded by Judy Spence
Minister for Housing of Queensland
In office
29 June 1998 – 26 March 2009
Preceded by David Watson
Succeeded by Karen Struthers
Minister for Racing of Queensland
In office
12 February 2004 – 13 September 2006
Preceded by Peter Beattie acting
Succeeded by Merged into Public Works
Member of the Queensland Parliament for Rockhampton North
In office
2 December 1989 – 15 July 1995
Preceded by Les Yewdale
Succeeded by District abolished
Member of the Queensland Parliament for Rockhampton
In office
15 July 1995 – 24 March 2012
Preceded by Paul Braddy
Succeeded by Bill Byrne

Robert Evan Schwarten (born 6 October 1954) is an Australian politician.[1]

Early life[edit]

Schwarten was born in Rockhampton, and is married with two sons.[1]

Before his entry into politics, he was a teacher and a ministerial advisor to the Deputy Premier.[1]

Political career[edit]

From 1985 to 1991 he was an alderman on Rockhampton City Council. A member of the Labor Party, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland in 1989 as the member for Rockhampton North, but was defeated in 1992.[1]

In 1995 he was reelected to parliament, this time as the member for Rockhampton. He was Minister for Public Works and Information and Communication Technology in Anna Bligh's Labor Government. He held the Public Works portfolio from 1998 to 2011.[1] Schwarten stood down from Parliament and was replaced by Bill Byrne, who held the seat for Labor.


2000 Labour Day incident[edit]

Schwarten drew national media attention when he was involved in a violent scuffle with Craig Brown, the husband of Federal MP Kirsten Livermore, following Rockhampton's Labour Day celebrations in May 2000. Brown lodged a formal complaint with the Queensland Police Service alleging assault occasioning bodily harm, but the complaint was later withdrawn. Premier Peter Beattie described the altercation between Schwarten and Brown as a "robust debate at a Labour Day function". Following the incident, the state Labor government faced several days of the state opposition referring to the incident in Parliament Question Time, where the opposition alleged that the police were ready to charge Schwarten, but held off after learning that both Schwarten and Brown were due to meet with senior Australian Labor Party figures in an attempt to resolve the situation.[2][3][4]

2010 restaurant incident[edit]

In July 2010, it was reported that Schwarten had become involved in a verbal stoush with other diners at a Rockhampton restaurant. An unnamed customer had told media that Schwarten was swearing, shouting and threatening to fight other customers. However, Schwarten claimed he was provoked. He said while he and his wife Judy were sitting down to a meal, customers began being offensive, verbally attacking him, and upsetting his wife. Judy Schwarten said that she was upset at the incident and claimed her husband had gone over to shake hands with the customers but they shoved him away. The manager of the restaurant apologised to Schwarten following the incident.[5]

2012 ramming incident[edit]

In January 2012, 62 year-old Brian John Hillier was charged with three counts of wilful damage after he used his vehicle to deliberately ram the home of Robert Schwarten in the Rockhampton suburb of Park Avenue, and the office of Kirsten Livermore in the Rockhampton CBD.[6] Earlier, Hiller had also rammed another private residence in what was believed to be a case of mistaken identity as the house was located next door to a home belonging to someone with the surname, Livermore.[7]

Police told the Rockhampton Magistrates Court that they had found handwritten notes in Hiller's vehicle of addresses and markings on a street map. Police also said that discovered a litany of large, hand-written anti-government signage strewn along the front fence of Hiller's property at Rockyview, on the northern outskirts of Rockhampton. Hiller applied for bail on 27 January 2012, which the police prosecutor opposed as police believed Hillier may have confronted Schwarten and Livermore under the guise of political activism. The bail application was refused and Hiller was remanded in custody.[8] Queensland Premier, Anna Bligh condemned the actions of the man saying that his behaviour had no place in Australian democracy.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Schwarten, Hon Robert Evan". Parliament of Queensland. 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2017. 
  2. ^ Qld cabinet ministers a headache for Premier AM, John Taylor, ABC Radio, 8 May 2000
  3. ^ Qld Govt accused of Schwarten cover-up PM, Kirsten Aiken, ABC Radio, 16 May 2000
  4. ^ Qld gov forced to account for "interference", AM, Kirsten Aiken, ABC Radio, 19 May 2000
  5. ^ Robert Schwarten in stoush at Rockhampton restaurant, Sophie Elsworth and Anna Caldwell, The Courier Mail, 2 July 2010
  6. ^ Car crashes into MP's home, The Morning Bulletin, 25 January 2012
  7. ^ 'Ram-Raider in police custody', Emma McBryde, The Morning Bulletin, 27 January 2012
  8. ^ Man denied bail over alleged ram raids on MPs ABC News, ABC online, 27 January 2012
  9. ^ Firebrand MP's house ram-raided Marissa Calligeros, Brisbane Times, 26 January 2012
Political offices
Preceded by
Anna Bligh
Leader of the House of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland
Succeeded by
Judy Spence
Parliament of Queensland
Preceded by
Les Yewdale
Member for Rockhampton North
District abolished
Preceded by
Paul Braddy
Member for Rockhampton
Succeeded by
Bill Byrne