If the majority of the papers are right, the Caucus will vote for Kim Beazley on Tuesday. I thought it might clarify my own thoughts to check out his bio. He’s been a member of Parliament since 1980 and was a minister throughout the term of the Hawke and Keating governments. That makes him (along with Ralph Willis) the longest-serving minister in the history of the Federal Labor Party [Keating was briefly a minister under Whitlam. However, he spent a very profitable interlude on the backbench after his first challenge to Hawke].
Here’s a list of the offices he held
- Minister for Aviation from 11.3.83 to 13.12.84.
- Special Minister of State from 14.7.83 to 21.1.84.
- Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence from 11.3.83 to 13.12.84.
- Minister for Defence from 13.12.84 to 4.4.90.
- Vice-President of the Executive Council from 15.2.88 to 1.2.91.
- Minister for Transport and Communications from 4.4.90 to 9.12.91.
- Minister for Finance from 9.12.91 to 27.12.91.
- Minister for Employment, Education and Training from 27.12.91 to 23.12.93.
- Minister for Finance from 23.12.93 to 11.3.96.
- Deputy Prime Minister from 20.6.95 to 11.3.96
From that entire list, the only thing I can recall him doing is ordering the Collins class submarines. In addition, I recall that he played some role in the mess that is Australian telecommunications policy, but I can’t remember exactly what. As Opposition Leader, I can recall that he had two narrow losses and that at some time he advocated something called Rollback.
Have I missed some achievement that would mark out a future Prime Minister?