Simon Crean

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Simon Crean
Simon Crean (1).jpg
Leader of the Opposition
In office
22 November 2001 – 2 December 2003
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
DeputyJenny Macklin
Preceded byKim Beazley
Succeeded byMark Latham
Leader of the Labor Party
In office
22 November 2001 – 2 December 2003
DeputyJenny Macklin
Preceded byKim Beazley
Succeeded byMark Latham
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
19 October 1998 – 22 November 2001
LeaderKim Beazley
Preceded byGareth Evans
Succeeded byJenny Macklin
Minister for Regional Development and Local Government
In office
14 September 2010 – 21 March 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byAnthony Albanese
Succeeded byAnthony Albanese
Minister for the Arts
In office
14 September 2010 – 21 March 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byPeter Garrett
Succeeded byTony Burke
Minister for Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations
In office
28 June 2010 – 14 September 2010
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byJulia Gillard
Succeeded byPeter Garrett
Minister for Social Inclusion
In office
28 June 2010 – 14 September 2010
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byJulia Gillard
Succeeded byTanya Plibersek
Minister for Trade
In office
3 December 2007 – 28 June 2010
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byWarren Truss
Succeeded byStephen Smith
Minister for Employment, Education, and Training
In office
23 December 1993 – 11 March 1996
Prime MinisterPaul Keating
Preceded byKim Beazley
Succeeded byAmanda Vanstone
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy
In office
4 June 1991 – 23 December 1993
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Paul Keating
Preceded byJohn Kerin
Succeeded byBob Collins
Minister for Science and Technology
In office
4 April 1990 – 4 June 1991
Prime MinisterBob Hawke
Preceded byBarry Jones
Succeeded byRoss Free
Manager of Opposition Business
In office
20 March 1996 – 20 October 1998
LeaderKim Beazley
Preceded byPeter Reith
Succeeded byBob McMullan
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Hotham
In office
24 March 1990 – 5 August 2013
Preceded byLewis Kent
Succeeded byClare O'Neil
President of the Australian Council of
Trade Unions
In office
1 March 1985 – 25 March 1990
Preceded byCliff Dolan
Succeeded byMartin Ferguson
Personal details
Born
Simon Findlay Crean

(1949-02-26) 26 February 1949 (age 72)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
Spouse(s)
Carole Crean
(m. 1973)
Relations
Children2
Parents
EducationMelbourne High School
Alma materMonash University

Simon Findlay Crean (born 26 February 1949) is an Australian politician and trade unionist. He was the Member of Parliament for Hotham from 1990 to 2013, representing the Labor Party, and served as a Cabinet Minister in the Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard Governments. He was the Leader of the Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from November 2001 to December 2003.

Crean was born in Melbourne, Victoria. His father, Frank Crean, was Deputy Prime Minister of Australia under Gough Whitlam. After studying law and economics at Monash University, Crean joined the trade union movement, becoming General Secretary of the Storemen and Packers' Union in 1979. He became Vice President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) in 1981, and in 1985 was elected as ACTU President, succeeding Cliff Dolan. Crean stood down from this role upon his election to the Australian Parliament at the 1990 election, and immediately entered the Government as Minister for Science and Technology. He served in various roles until Labor was defeated at the 1996 election.

Following Labor's 1998 election defeat, Crean was elected Deputy Leader of the Labor Party, replacing Gareth Evans. He was later elected unopposed to succeed Kim Beazley as Leader of the Labor Party following further defeat at the 2001 election, becoming Leader of the Opposition. Despite initial enthusiasm for his leadership, Crean quickly struggled in opinion polling, and in June 2003, Beazley challenged him for the leadership. Although Crean won comfortably, speculation about his leadership only intensified, and in November 2003 he announced that he would resign, making Crean the first Leader of the Labor Party never to face a federal election; he was replaced by his Shadow Treasurer, Mark Latham.

Despite losing the leadership, Crean remained a senior figure within the Labor Party, and returned to the Cabinet as Minister for Trade when the Labor won the 2007 election. Crean supported Julia Gillard in her leadership challenge to Kevin Rudd in June 2010, and remained in the Cabinet after she was successful. Although he continued to support Gillard through the leadership spill in February 2012, in March 2013 he announced that he was switching support to Rudd, sparking another leadership spill; Gillard sacked him from the Cabinet in response. When Rudd eventually did return as Prime Minister at the leadership spill in June 2013, Crean ran unsuccessful to return to the role of Deputy Leader; he subsequently announced his decision to retire from politics at the 2013 election.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Crean was born in Melbourne, the son of Frank Crean, a federal Labor MP from 1951 to 1977, who was both Treasurer and Deputy Prime Minister in the Whitlam Government from 1972 to 1975.[2] One of his two brothers, David Crean, was formerly a Member of the Tasmanian Parliament. His other brother, Stephen Crean, died while skiing alone at Charlotte Pass, New South Wales in 1985, aged 38; his body was not found for two years.

Crean was educated at Melbourne High School, before going on to Monash University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws.

Trade unionist[edit]

Following his graduation from Monash University, Crean worked in several roles with various trade unions, before becoming an official within the Storeman and Packers Union (SPU). In 1977, his father, Frank Crean, retired from Federal politics. Simon contested the Labor preselection for his father's comfortably safe seat of Melbourne Ports, but lost to former Victorian Labor Leader Clyde Holding, who went on to win the seat. In 1979, Crean was elected General Secretary of the SPU, which entitled him to a seat on the board of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).

In 1981, Crean was elected as ACTU Vice President, before in 1985 winning election as ACTU President.[2] In this role, he played a key role in negotiating numerous agreements on wages and other industrial issues as part of the Prices and Incomes Accord with the Government of Prime Minister Bob Hawke, himself a former ACTU President.

Political career[edit]

Hawke and Keating Governments[edit]

Crean as a minister in the 1990s.

Ahead of the 1990 election, Crean was easily selected as the Labor candidate for the safe seat of Hotham; he was elected to Parliament on 24 March, and immediately entered the Cabinet as Minister for Science and Technology.[2] He became Minister for Primary Industries and Energy in 1991, retaining this job when Paul Keating replaced Bob Hawke as Prime Minister in December 1991. After Labor's victory at the 1993 election, Keating moved Crean to become Minister for Employment, Education and Training, a role he would hold until 1996.[3]

Opposition[edit]

After the Labor Party was heavily defeated at the 1996 election, Crean chose to contest the deputy leadership, but was defeated by Gareth Evans by 42 votes to 37.[4][5] He joined the Shadow Cabinet, and after Evans retired from politics following Labor's 1998 election defeat, Crean was easily elected to replace him, becoming Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Treasurer. In January 2001, Crean was awarded the Centenary Medal.[6]

In November 2001, following Labor's third consecutive election defeat, Crean was elected unopposed to replace Kim Beazley as Leader of the Labor Party, becoming Leader of the Opposition; Jenny Macklin was elected as his deputy, also unopposed.[7] On 4 February 2003, Crean led the Labor Party to condemn Prime Minister John Howard's decision to commit Australian troops to the Iraq War.[8]

Throughout most of 2003, poor opinion polling led to speculation of a leadership challenge against Crean; on 16 June 2003, Crean called a leadership spill intending to put an end to the leadership tensions, winning against Kim Beazley by 58 votes to 34. This failed to stop Crean losing even further ground to Howard in opinion polls as preferred Prime Minister, and on 28 November 2003, Crean announced that he would resign as Leader of the Labor Party, stating that he felt he no longer had the confidence of his colleagues; this made him the first Labor Leader not to contest a federal election since 1916. On 2 December, Shadow Treasurer Mark Latham defeated Kim Beazley in a ballot by 47 votes to 45 to replace Crean; Latham subsequently appointed Crean immediately as Shadow Treasurer. After Labor suffered a fourth consecutive defeat at the 2004 election, Crean resigned from his Shadow Treasurer position; he initially intended to resign from the Shadow Cabinet entirely, but at Latham's insistence, he accepted the role of Shadow Minister for Trade.[9]

Crean retained this position when Beazley returned to the leadership in January 2005. However, in a reshuffle of the Shadow Cabinet in June 2005, Crean was demoted to Shadow Minister for Regional Development. He then faced a pre-selection challenge for his seat of Hotham from Martin Pakula, a member of his former union, the SPU, a move which Crean publicly blamed on Beazley, Hong Lim, and the Labor Right. Beazley refused to publicly support either candidate, but several frontbenchers, including Julia Gillard, supported Crean. This helped Crean to comfortably win the pre-selection for his seat; Crean singled out Senator Stephen Conroy for his part in the move against him, describing his front-bench colleague as "venal" and "one of the most disloyal people I've ever worked with in my life".[10] Following the replacement of Kim Beazley by Kevin Rudd as leader in December 2006, Rudd reappointed Crean as Shadow Minister for Trade.

Rudd and Gillard Governments[edit]

Crean at the World Economic Forum in January 2010.

After Labor's victory at the 2007 election, new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd appointed Crean to the Cabinet as Minister for Trade. In this role, Crean visited Singapore and Vietnam to pursue Australia's trade and economic interests at a range of ministerial and other high-level meetings. Crean also attended the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade and the OECD Roundtable on Sustainable Development on behalf of the Australian Government. Crean also co-chaired the 8th Joint Trade and Economic Cooperation Committee with the Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Võ Hồng Phúc in Hanoi, leading to an improvement in the trading relationship between Australia and Vietnam.[11]

Following Julia Gillard's election unopposed as Prime Minister in June 2010, Crean was appointed to replace Gillard in the role of Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, with Stephen Smith taking over as Minister for Trade.[3][12] After the 2010 election, Gillard reshuffled the Cabinet and appointed Crean as Minister for the Arts and Minister for Regional Development and Local Government.[13]

On 21 March 2013, following significant leadership tensions arising from poor opinion polling, Crean called for Gillard to spill the leadership, with the aim of encouraging Rudd to challenge for the position of Prime Minister. This marked a change in Crean's position; he had long been a committed supporter of Gillard. Crean said he would challenge Wayne Swan for the role of Deputy Leader, if Rudd ran for the leadership. However, Rudd declined to run for the leadership, leaving Gillard to retain the leadership unopposed. Gillard quickly sacked Crean from the Cabinet, expressing publicly her disappointment at his "disloyalty" to her.[14] Before his sacking, Crean had been one of the few federal politicians to have never spent a day on the backbench. After Rudd did eventually replace Gillard as Prime Minister in June 2013, Crean ran for the position of Deputy Leader but was defeated by Anthony Albanese by 61 votes to 38. Crean subsequently announced he would retire from politics at the 2013 election.

Crean retired as the first person to serve as a Cabinet Minister under four different Labor Prime Ministers (in Crean's case, Hawke, Keating, Rudd and Gillard) since Jack Beasley (who served under James Scullin, John Curtin, Frank Forde and Ben Chifley).

Career after politics[edit]

In October 2014, Crean was elected chairman of the Australian Livestock Exporters Council.[15] He was re-elected for a second term in 2016.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ ABC News, 1 July 2013 Archived 31 October 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b c "Biography – The Hon. Simon Crean MP, Australian Minister for Trade". Trademinister.gov.au. Archived from the original on 30 June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b "The Hon Simon Crean MP". Members and Senators. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 1 April 2013.
  4. ^ "Biography of Hon Gareth Evans AO QC". United Nations. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  5. ^ "It's Hardly The Fix They're Used To". Australianpolitics.com. 14 June 2003. Archived from the original on 26 May 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  6. ^ "Simon Findlay Crean – Centenary Medal". It's an Honour. Commonwealth of Australia. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  7. ^ Clarke, Sarah (22 November 2001). "Crean officially endorsed as Labor leader". Lateline. Australia: ABC TV. Archived from the original (transcript) on 4 October 2008. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  8. ^ "War on Iraq". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 18 March 2003. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Crean falls on treasury portfolio sword". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 13 October 2004. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  10. ^ "Factionalism stirs up anger in ALP". ABC Radio. Australia. 7 March 2006. Retrieved 17 January 2007.
  11. ^ Australian minister for trade to visit Vietnam this week[dead link]
  12. ^ "Gillard reshuffles cabinet, without Rudd". The Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 28 June 2010. Retrieved 28 June 2010.
  13. ^ "The Gillard ministry". The Age. 11 September 2010. Retrieved 24 September 2010.
  14. ^ Harrison, Dan; Hurst, Daniel (21 March 2013). "Rudd refuses to run for leadership, PM prevails". The Age. Retrieved 21 March 2013.
  15. ^ McAloon, Cath; Farley, Edwina (30 October 2014). "Simon Crean accepts live export role, saying ban on Indonesia trade was a mistake". ABC News. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  16. ^ "Australian Livestock Exporters Council Board". Archived from the original on 15 September 2017. Retrieved 6 July 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Lyle Allan (2002), 'ALP Modernisation, Ethnic Branch Stacking, Factionalism and the Law,' in People and Place, Vol.10, No.4, pp. 50–58
  • Ross McMullin (1992), The Light on the Hill. The Australian Labor Party 1891–1991, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne (Victoria), ISBN 0-19-553451-4

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Lewis Kent
Member of Parliament for Hotham
1990–2013
Succeeded by
Clare O'Neil
Political offices
Preceded by
Barry Jones
Minister for Science and Technology
1990–1991
Succeeded by
Ross Free
Preceded by
John Kerin
Minister for Primary Industries and Energy
1991–1993
Succeeded by
Bob Collins
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Minister for Employment, Education and Training
1993–1996
Succeeded by
Amanda Vanstone
Preceded by
Warren Truss
Minister for Trade
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Stephen Smith
Preceded by
Julia Gillard
Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
2010
Succeeded by
Chris Evans
Minister for Social Inclusion
2010
Succeeded by
Tanya Plibersek
Preceded by
Anthony Albanese
Minister for Regional Development and Local Government
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Anthony Albanese
Preceded by
Peter Garrett
Minister for the Arts
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Tony Burke
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gareth Evans
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
1998–2001
Succeeded by
Jenny Macklin
Preceded by
Kim Beazley
Leader of the Labor Party
2001–2003
Succeeded by
Mark Latham
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Cliff Dolan
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
1985–1990
Succeeded by
Martin Ferguson