Wayne Swan

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Wayne Swan
Treasurer Wayne Swan, 2009, crop.jpg
Swan in 2009
25th National President of the Labor Party
Assumed office
18 June 2018
LeaderBill Shorten
Anthony Albanese
Preceded byMark Butler
14th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
24 June 2010 – 27 June 2013
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byJulia Gillard
Succeeded byAnthony Albanese
Treasurer of Australia
In office
3 December 2007 – 27 June 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byPeter Costello
Succeeded byChris Bowen
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
24 June 2010 – 26 June 2013
LeaderJulia Gillard
Preceded byJulia Gillard
Succeeded byAnthony Albanese
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
In office
3 September 2010 – 14 September 2010
Prime MinisterJulia Gillard
Preceded byLindsay Tanner
Succeeded byPenny Wong
House Manager of Opposition Business
In office
25 November 2001 – 16 June 2003
LeaderSimon Crean
Preceded byBob McMullan
Succeeded byMark Latham
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Lilley
In office
3 October 1998 – 18 May 2019
Preceded byElizabeth Grace
Succeeded byAnika Wells
In office
13 March 1993 – 2 March 1996
Preceded byElaine Darling
Succeeded byElizabeth Grace
Personal details
Wayne Maxwell Swan

(1954-06-30) 30 June 1954 (age 68)
Nambour, Queensland
Political partyLabor
Spouse(s)Toni Jensen (Late 1970s)
Kim Swan (1984–present)
Alma materUniversity of Queensland

Wayne Maxwell Swan (born 30 June 1954), often colloquially referred to as Swanny, is an Australian politician who is National President of the Labor Party. He was previously the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Deputy Leader of the Labor Party from 2010 to 2013, and the Treasurer of Australia from 2007 to 2013.

Swan was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1993 for Lilley in Queensland, although he lost this seat in 1996. He regained the seat in 1998 and represented it until retiring in 2019. Following Labor's victory in 2007, Swan was appointed Treasurer of Australia by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. In this position, he played a key role in Australia's response to the Global Financial Crisis throughout 2008 and 2009. In 2010, after Julia Gillard became Prime Minister, Swan was elected unopposed as her deputy and was subsequently sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister.[1] In 2011, Swan was named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine, joining Paul Keating as the only Australian Treasurer to have been awarded that title.[2][3] After Rudd successfully challenged Gillard for the leadership in June 2013, Swan resigned from the Cabinet.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Swan was born and educated in Nambour, Queensland. He attended Nambour State High School and graduated in 1972.[5] Kevin Rudd attended the same school at the same time, though was three years younger than Swan and the two did not know each other.

Swan won a Commonwealth scholarship to study Public Administration at the University of Queensland, where he resided at Emmanuel College and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts. After graduating he worked as a lecturer in the Department of Management at the Queensland Institute of Technology.[6][7] From 1978 to 1980, Swan acted as a policy adviser to Labor Leader Bill Hayden, and from 1983 to 1984 was an adviser to Government Ministers Mick Young and Kim Beazley. He later worked as the State Secretary of the Queensland Labor Party from 1991 to 1993.

Political career[edit]


Wayne Swan's office in 2013

Swan was first elected as the Member for Lilley in the 1993 federal election, but was defeated three years later by Elizabeth Grace in what was a large defeat for Labor nationwide. In 1996, Swan donated $500–$1400 (amount disputed) to the Australian Democrats campaign manager in his seat of Lilley.[8] At the time, speculation surrounded the nature of the donation.[9][10] The matter was referred to the Australian Federal Police who chose to take no further action.[11][12] He worked as an adviser to Labor Leader Kim Beazley before contesting Lilley again in the 1998 federal election and regaining the seat.

Shadow Cabinet[edit]

Kim Beazley promoted Swan to the Shadow Cabinet in 1998. Initially serving as Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services, he became the Manager of Opposition Business in 2001. During the 2003 Labor leadership spills he was a prominent supporter of Kim Beazley, but retained his position in the Shadow Cabinet when Mark Latham became the new leader. After the 2004 federal election defeat, Swan was promoted to become Shadow Treasurer. This was seen by many as a surprise, as it was rumoured that Latham was intending to appoint then-Shadow Health Minister Julia Gillard to the position. It was believed that strong opposition from Labor's Right Faction had put Latham under pressure to appoint either Swan or Shadow Industrial Relations Minister Stephen Smith to the position.[13] Early in the role, Swan worked to devise Labor's response to the Howard Government's 2006 budget, with Labor proposing tax relief for low- and middle-income earners. Swan launched his book during the same month, Postcode: The Splintering of a Nation.

After Kevin Rudd successfully challenged Kim Beazley to win the leadership of the Labor Party in December 2006, he reappointed Swan as Shadow Treasurer. In early November 2007, Swan and Rudd revisited their old high school in Nambour. Rudd gave a speech to students, in which he said that, while at school, "Wayne was very, very cool; and I was very, very not".[14]


Swan in 2008

Following Labor's landslide win in the 2007 federal election, Swan was appointed Treasurer of Australia by Kevin Rudd on 3 December 2007.[15]

Swan's first budget concentrated on inflationary pressures in the economy, with substantially reduced spending that exceeded the A$11 billion outlaid for tax cuts. The policy debate shifted around August 2008 after mortgage lending banks in the United States began to collapse and economic activity faltered as American investments were written off. In response to the resulting global downturn, Swan coordinated an "economic security strategy" worth $10 billion in October 2008. Designed as a stimulus package and directed towards retail sales, it was largely supported by the International Monetary Fund. When the December quarterly growth report showed the economy contracting, he moved ahead with the Nation Building and Jobs Plan to provide government-sponsored work worth A$42 billion. This action was widely credited with preventing Australia from following much of the world into recession, as the March 2009 quarterly growth report showed that the economy had returned to growth.

On 20 September 2011, Swan was named Finance Minister of the Year by Euromoney magazine, joining Paul Keating as the only Australian Treasurer to have been conferred that title.[2][3]

In March 2012, Swan became the first treasurer or deputy prime minister to be ejected from the House of Representatives, after he referred to Andrew Robb, the then-opposition finance spokesperson, as "Curly", in reference to The Three Stooges.[16][17][18][19]

In an essay published in The Monthly magazine in March 2012, Swan criticised the rising influence of vested interests, in particular paying attention to mining entrepreneurs Clive Palmer, Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest, and how Swan believed they are threatening Australia's egalitarian social contract.[20] and a subsequent address to the National Press Club,[21] In The Monthly essay he opined:

The latest example of this is the foray by Australia’s richest person, Gina Rinehart, into Fairfax Media, reportedly in an attempt to wield greater influence on public opinion and further her commercial interests at a time when the overwhelming economic consensus is that it's critical to use the economic weight of the resources boom to strengthen the entire economy.

Politicians have a choice: between exploiting divisions by promoting fear and appealing to the sense of fairness and decency that is the foundation of our middle-class society; between standing up for workers and kneeling down at the feet of the Gina Rineharts and the Clive Palmers.

For every Andrew Forrest who wails about high company taxes and then admits to not paying any, there are a hundred Australian businesspeople who held on to their employees and worked with government to keep the doors of Australian business open during the GFC. Despite the howling of a small minority, the vast bulk of the resources industry is in the cart for more efficient profits-based resource taxation which serves to strengthen our entire economy. The vast majority of our miners accept that they have a social obligation to pay their fair share of tax on the resources Australians own.

Deputy Prime Minister[edit]

Wayne Swan, Barack Obama and Julia Gillard toast at a dinner at Parliament House in 2011

On 23 June 2010, Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard challenged Kevin Rudd for the leadership of the Labor Party. Realising that he no longer had enough support to retain his position, Rudd resigned the following day, allowing Gillard to be elected unopposed. Swan stood to fill the vacant position of Deputy Leader, and was also elected unopposed. He was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister of Australia later that day. Days later, Swan attended the G20 Toronto Summit in Gillard's place.[22] He would regularly stand in for Gillard as Acting Prime Minister for the next three years.

Resignation and retirement[edit]

Swan resigned from his positions to return to the backbench following the return of Kevin Rudd to the leadership in June 2013. After Labor lost the 2013 federal election, he remained in Parliament and retained his seat at the 2016 federal election. On 10 February 2018, he announced that he would not contest the 2019 federal election and that he would retire from politics.[23]

Personal Collection[edit]

Wayne Swan donated his personal collection of records to the State Library of Queensland's John Oxley Library. The collection reflects the history of Wayne's time in public office and in particular is a record of his experience as: Secretary of the Queensland Labor Party (1991–1993) Federal MP and Member for the seat of Lilley from 1993–1996, 1998–2019, Treasurer of Australia (2007–2013), Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy leader of the ALP (2010–13) and National President of the Australian Labor Party (2018– ). A substantial part of the collection relates to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–09 and is highly significant given that Australia was a key contributor to G20 discussions. The collection includes photographs, correspondence, campaign materials and political documents.[24] In 2021 the State Library produced a digital story with Wayne Swan. The interview by Dennis Atkins covers Wayne's time in public office and his life before and after politics as well as the Global Financial Crisis of 2008–09 and Wayne’s role in the implementation of an effective domestic stimulus response to the crisis.[25]


Personal life[edit]

Swan is married to Kim and has three children.[28] An earlier marriage, when he was 21, lasted for one year.[28]

At age 48, Swan was diagnosed with prostate cancer but has since fully recovered. He has become an advocate for the prostate cancer public awareness campaign.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kenny, Mark (24 June 2010). "Julia Gillard replaces Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 24 June 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Press release: Australia's Wayne Swan named Euromoney's finance minister of the year". Euromoney. 20 September 2011.
  3. ^ a b Uren, David (21 September 2011). "Wayne Swan named world's best Treasurer by Euromoney magazine". The Australian. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  4. ^ Griffith, Emma (26 June 2013). "Kevin Rudd defeats Julia Gillard 57-45 in Labor leadership ballot, paving way for a return to PM". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  5. ^ Fraser, Andrew (5 December 2006). "Genesis of an ideas man". The Australian. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  6. ^ Atkins, Dennis (2 August 2008). "Wayne Swan and Kevin Rudd seek government reform". The Courier-Mail. Retrieved 21 August 2008.
  7. ^ Swan, Wayne (21 August 2007). "Australian Treasurer". Sunday (Interview: transcript). Interviewed by Laurie Oakes. Nine Network. Retrieved 21 August 2008.[dead link]
  8. ^ Karvelas, Patricia (14 August 2007). "'Kick Swan out' for Democrats donation". The Australian. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  9. ^ Sanderson, Wayne (27 November 2000). "Preferential treatment". 7.30 Report. Australia. Archived from the original (transcript) on 7 April 2010. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  10. ^ Royal, Simon (29 November 2000). "Tracking the money path of the Swan donation". 7.30 Report. Australia. Archived from the original (transcript) on 27 September 2008. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  11. ^ Pearson, Christopher (23 July 2002). "Why Wayne Swan will not realise the ALP leadership". The Age. Australia. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  12. ^ "Swan targeted over Democrats money". The Australian. Archived from the original on 3 December 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
  13. ^ Toohey, Paul (17 April 2007). "Swan's Song". The Bulletin. pp. 17–23. Archived from the original on 8 July 2012. Retrieved 10 January 2008.
  14. ^ Donald, Peta (13 November 2007). "Labor says Coalition spending will raise inflation" (transcript). PM (ABC Radio). Australia. Retrieved 5 December 2007.
  15. ^ "Rudd hands out portfolios". Australia: ABC News. 29 November 2007.
  16. ^ "Swan removed after 'Curly' call". YouTube. ABC News. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  17. ^ Daley, Gemma. "Nyuk-nyuk: Swan's out". Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  18. ^ Hudson, Phillip. "Wayne Swan kicked out of Parliament". The Australian. News Corp. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  19. ^ Hudson, Phillip. "Swan gets the boot from Slipper". The Advertiser. News Corp. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  20. ^ Swan, Wayne (March 2012). "The 0.01 Per Cent: The Rising Influence of Vested Interests in Australia". The Monthly. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  21. ^ "Swan launches second assault on mining billionaires" (transcript). PM (ABC Radio). Australia. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  22. ^ O'Malley, Sandra (26 June 2010). "Swan to take International Stage at G20". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 April 2011.
  23. ^ Dziedzic, Stephen; Doran, Matthew (10 February 2018). "Former treasurer Wayne Swan to bow out of federal politics". ABC News. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  24. ^ CC BY icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "32178 Wayne Swan Papers". State Library of Queensland Catalogue. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  25. ^ CC BY icon-80x15.png This Wikipedia article incorporates CC-BY-4.0 licensed text from: "Wayne Swan in conversation with Dennis Atkins digital story and oral history". State Library of Queensland Catalogue. State Library of Queensland. Retrieved 2 June 2021.
  26. ^ Swan, Wayne (2005). Postcode: the splintering of a nation. North Melbourne: Pluto Press. ISBN 1-86403-360-6.
  27. ^ Swan, Wayne (2014). The Good Fight: Six years, two prime ministers and staring down the Great Recession. East Melbourne: Allen & Unwin. p. 416. ISBN 9781743319352.
  28. ^ a b Hall, Louise (2 March 2008). "Treasurer Wayne Swan's first marriage didn't last long it went for about one year 'no secret'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 23 May 2008.
  29. ^ Scott, Sophie (27 February 2003). "The prostate debate". 7:30 Report. Australia. Archived from the original (transcript) on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2010.

External links[edit]

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Lilley
Succeeded by
Preceded by Member of Parliament for Lilley
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by Treasurer of Australia
Succeeded by
Preceded by Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
Succeeded by
Party political offices
Preceded by Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by National President of the Labor Party