Tony Burke

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The Honourable
Tony Burke
MP
Tony Burke Portrait 2008.jpg
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
Assumed office
18 October 2013
Leader Bill Shorten
Preceded by Christopher Pyne
Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship
In office
1 July 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Brendan O'Connor
Succeeded by Scott Morrison
Minister for the Arts
In office
25 March 2013 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Simon Crean
Succeeded by George Brandis
Vice-President of the Executive Council
In office
5 March 2012 – 18 September 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Robert McClelland
Succeeded by George Brandis
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
In office
14 September 2010 – 1 July 2013
Prime Minister Julia Gillard
Kevin Rudd
Preceded by Peter Garrett
Succeeded by Mark Butler
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
In office
3 December 2007 – 14 September 2010
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded by Peter McGauran
Succeeded by Joe Ludwig
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Watson
Assumed office
9 October 2004
Preceded by Leo McLeay
Personal details
Born Anthony Stephen Burke
(1969-11-04) 4 November 1969 (age 46)
Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Cathy Bresnan
(m. 1994–2012)
Skye Laris
(m. 2015)
Children 3
Alma mater University of Sydney
Religion Catholicism[1]
Website www.tonyburke.com.au

Anthony Stephen 'Tony' Burke (born 4 November 1969) is an Australian politician representing the Australian Labor Party. Between 2007 and 2013 Burke served as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in the First Rudd Ministry;[2] Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water and Population in the First Gillard Ministry[2] and Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship, Minister for the Arts, and Vice-President of the Executive Council in the Second Rudd Ministry.[2]

Burke was first elected to public office in 2003 as a member of the New South Wales Legislative Council.[3] In October 2004 Burke moved from state to federal parliament when he was elected to the New South Wales division of Watson.[4] Burke is one of only two serving MPs to begin their career on the frontbench, he is currently the Shadow Minister for Finance and Manager of Opposition Business.[2]

Background[edit]

Tony Burke was educated at Regina Coeli and St Patrick's College, Strathfield, where he was Vice-Captain.[5] He attended the University of Sydney where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws.[6]

After university Burke co-founded an advocacy and training business named after the iconic fictional character Atticus Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.[7] He left the company in 1997 to work for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association.[2]

From 1997 until 2003, Burke worked as an organiser for the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees' Association in and around the area he currently represents in Federal Parliament. In 2003 Burke left the SDA to run for the New South Wales Legislative Council.[3]

On 22 March 2003, Burke was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Council. He chaired the NSW State Development Committee, conducting inquiries into ports infrastructure and science commercialisation.[3] A view formed that Burke's talents were wasted in the NSW Legislative Council and he resigned from state parliament on 24 June 2004 to campaign for the New South Wales division of Watson. He successfully won the seat at the 2004 federal election.[2]

Federal Parliament[edit]

Burke is one of two serving MPs to begin their career on the frontbench.[2] Upon being elected to Federal Parliament in 2004 Burke was appointed as Shadow Minister for Small Business and was promoted to Shadow Minister for Immigration in June 2005.[2] After the Australian Labor Party leadership spill, 2006, Opposition Leader, Kevin Rudd expanded Burke’s portfolio to Immigration, Integration and Citizenship.[2]

While in opposition, Burke led an unsuccessful bipartisan appeal for clemency to the Singapore High Commissioner to stop the execution of convicted Australian drug smuggler, Van Tuong Nguyen.[7] Seven years after Nguyen was executed Burke spoke at the launch of the SBS Better Man (mini-series) about Nguyen’s case. At the launch, Burke referred to the meeting with the Singapore High Commissioner as “the worst day” of his political career and “potentially the most troubling day” of his life.[8]

After the 2007 federal election, Burke was appointed by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to serve as Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. He was sworn in by the Governor-General on 3 December 2007.[2] As Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Burke oversaw the abolition of the Australian bulk wheat export monopoly after the AWB oil-for-wheat scandal.[9] He also oversaw the eradication of Equine Influenza in Australia after the 2007 Australian equine influenza outbreak.[10]

On 2 April 2010, Kevin Rudd appointed Burke as Minister for Population.[2] The appointment came after Rudd stated he was in favour of a "big Australia" in response to demographic projections in the Government's Intergenerational Report showing the population of Australia would increase from 22 million in 2010 to 35 million in 2050.[11] Burke’s responsibilities included planning for the growth in Australia’s population and coordinating the provision of services accordingly.

Following the 2010 federal election, Burke was appointed Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities.[2] In March 2012, following the ALP leadership spill, Burke was also appointed Vice-President of the Executive Council.[2]

As Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, Burke established the Commonwealth Marine Reserve Network, the largest network of marine protected areas anywhere in the World and the world’s second largest conservation determination after the preservation of Antarctica.[12] Burke also acted as a mediator in the long-running dispute between environmental groups and the Tasmanian forestry industry, culminating in the signing of the historic Tasmanian Forests Intergovernmental Agreement in 2011.[13]

Burke often cites Labor’s environmental credentials and the campaign to protect the Daintree Rainforest as the reason he got involved in politics.[7] In government, Burke pushed to protect large areas of the Tasmanian Wilderness and the Ningaloo Reef by having them listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 2014, the Abbott Government’s application to undo Burke’s Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage listing was rejected by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.[14] The Portuguese delegation called the delisting attempt “feeble”.[14]

In early 2011, Burke gave approval for the 100 per cent plantation timber Bell Bay Pulp Mill in the Tamar Valley after imposing stricter environmental conditions on the applicant Gunns Limited.[15] Burke said many of the demands made by environmental groups opposed to the development had been addressed.[16]

Tony Burke in the Walk For Respect against the amendment of section 18C Racial Discrimination Act in association with Bangladesh Friends of Labor at Lakemba, Sydney, Australia.

On 22 November 2012, Burke signed off on the Murray Darling Basin Plan, a process more than 100 years in the making, after extensive consultation with irrigators, environmental groups and state governments.[17]

On 25 March 2013, Burke was appointed Minister for the Arts in the Second Gillard Ministry, in addition to his existing responsibilities.[2] Burke took over the implementation of the Gillard Government’s Creative Australia policy after the former Minister for the Arts, Simon Crean, was sacked for his involvement in a failed attempt to return Kevin Rudd.[18]

Following the June 2013 Labor leadership spill, Burke’s offer to resign from the ministry was rejected by returned Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.[19] Burke, a supporter of Julia Gillard, had been critical of Rudd's performance during his previous tenure as Prime Minister.[19] Rudd appointed Burke as Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship in the Second Rudd Ministry.[2] He also remained Minister for the Arts and Vice-President of the Executive Council.[2]

Following Labor’s 2013 election loss, Burke was appointed Shadow Finance Minister and Manager of Opposition Business.[2] From opposition Burke has been a vocal opponent of the Liberal National Government’s fiscal and economic policies, and its attempts to repeal protections against racist hate speech in Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.[20][21]

In May 2014, Burke held a march against the changes to Section 18C in the Sydney suburb of Lakemba. The event was attended by around 1,000 people protesting against the changes, which were subsequently dropped by the Abbott Government.[20]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Davis, Mark (30 December 2006). "The fine art of persuasion". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 March 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Hon Tony Burke MP". aph.gov.au. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c "Hon. Anthony (Tony) Burke MP". parliament.nsw.gov.au. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Watson". aec.gov.au. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "St Pat’s old boys making their mark". smh.com.au. 11 December 2007. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Tony Burke likely to be next Labor PM". smh.com.au. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c "The fine art of persuasion". smh.com.au. 30 December 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  8. ^ "Burke recalls failed plea as ‘worst day’ of his career". smh.com.au. 7 July 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  9. ^ "Taking apart Australia". ipa.org.au. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  10. ^ "Horse flu crackdown easing". abc.net.au. 4 February 2008. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  11. ^ "Rudd welcomes ‘big Australia’". abc.net.au. 23 October 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  12. ^ "Gillard government creates the world's biggest marine reserves network". environment.gov.au. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  13. ^ "Landmark conservation agreement signed to protect Tasmania's native forests". environment.gov.au. 13 January 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  14. ^ a b "UNESCO rejects 'feeble' Abbott government bid to wind back protection of Tasmanian forests". smh.com.au. 24 June 2014. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  15. ^ "Gunns Bell Bay Pulp Mill". deh.gov.au. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  16. ^ "Tasmanian pulp mill gets green light". abc.net.au. 10 March 2011. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Murray-Darling Basin Plan signed into law at last". abc.net.au. 22 November 2012. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  18. ^ "Meet the New Arts Minister Tony Burke". abc.net.au. 17 April 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  19. ^ a b "Tony Burke’s resignation rejected by Rudd". abc.net.au. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2016. 
  20. ^ a b "Racial Discrimination Act: Protesters march in Lakemba against changes to Section 18c". abc.net.au. 8 July 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 
  21. ^ "Interview: Shadow Finance Minister Tony Burke". abc.net.au. 11 May 2015. Retrieved 13 March 2016. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Leo McLeay
Member of Parliament for
Watson

2004–present
Incumbent
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter McGauran
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry
2007–2010
Succeeded by
Joe Ludwig
Preceded by
Peter Garrett
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
2010–2013
Succeeded by
Mark Butler
Preceded by
Robert McClelland
Vice-President of the Executive Council
2013
Succeeded by
George Brandis
Preceded by
Simon Crean
Minister for Arts
2013
Preceded by
Brendan O'Connor
Minister for Immigration, Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship
2013
Succeeded by
Scott Morrison
as Minister for Immigration and Border Protection