Kim Beazley


Kim Beazley

Infobox Deputy Prime Minister
honorific-prefix = The Honourable
name =
Kim Beazley


order = Leader of the Opposition
term_start =1996 - 2001
2005
term_end = 2006
predecessor =John Howard
Mark Latham
successor = Simon Crean
Kevin Rudd
birth_date =Birth date and age|1948|12|14|mf=y
birth_place =Perth, Western Australia
death_date =
death_place =
spouse =
constituency =Swan (until 1996), Brand (until 2007)
party =Australian Labor Party
languagesspoken =English
order2 =Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
term_start2 =1995
term_end2 =1996
primeminister2=Paul Keating
predecessor2 =Brian Howe
successor2 =Tim Fischer

:"For Kim Beazley's father, Kim Beazley senior, see Kim Edward Beazley."Kim Christian Beazley (born 14 December 1948), son of Kim Edward Beazley, is an Australian politician and academic, who was Leader of the Australian Labor Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1996 to 2001 and from 2005 to 2006. As of 2007 he is Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Western Australia.University of Western Australia (2007). [http://www.news.uwa.edu.au/node/160 Former Deputy Prime Minister joins UWA] . Retrieved April 4, 2008.] On 25 July 2008 he was named as Chancellor-designate of the Australian National University. He will take up the position in January 2009. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/07/25/2314756.htm ABC News] ]

Beazley was a minister under Bob Hawke from 1983 to 1991 and under Paul Keating from 1991 to 1996. He was Deputy Prime Minister in 1995-1996. Elected Labor Leader in March 1996, he resigned in November 2001 after having lost both the 1998 federal election (despite gaining 51 per cent of the vote, the party fell 7 seats short) and the 2001 election. He was returned unopposed to the Labor Party leadership in January 2005 following the resignation of Mark Latham, who polled worse figures at the 2004 election. He is the only ex-leader in the party's history to return to the position. He was replaced as party leader by Kevin Rudd in December 2006, a year prior to the 2007 election which Rudd and Labor won with a significant swing.

Early life

Beazley was born in Perth, Western Australia. His father, also called Kim Beazley and now generally known as Kim Beazley senior, was Labor MP for Fremantle from 1945 to 1977. His mother Betty Judge was a former Australian athletics champion and record-holder.

The younger Kim was educated at Hollywood Senior High School and then later at the University of Western Australia and Balliol College, Oxford (Rhodes Scholar 1973), where he gained a Master of Philosophy degree. While at Oxford, he became close friends with Tony Blair and Geoff Gallop (a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and former Premier of Western Australia respectively). After returning to Australia, he tutored and lectured in politics at Perth's Murdoch University before being elected MP for the seat of Swan at the 1980 election.

Career in government

Beazley became a protege of Bob Hawke, Labor leader from 1983, and in that year he was appointed Minister for Aviation in Hawke's first ministry. He was Minister for Defence, with a seat in Cabinet, 1984-90 [ [Toohey,Brian (7 July 2002). Security proves a complicated affair] http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/07/06/1025667073297.html] . In this role he was responsible for establishing the Australian Navy's submarine program, which was beset with some technical problems and cost over-runs (see Collins class submarine). Beazley has had a lifelong interest in military matters; his consequent enthusiasm for this portfolio, and particularly for military hardware, earned him the nickname "Bomber Beazley".

Beazley was then Minister for Transport and Communications (1990-91), Finance (1991), Employment, Education and Training (1991-93), and Finance again (1993-96). He supported Hawke in his leadership battles with Paul Keating in 1991, but retained his position when Keating deposed Hawke and became Prime Minister in December 1991. Beazley was Deputy Prime Minister 1995-96. At the 1996 elections Beazley shifted to the safer seat of Brand, south of Perth.

First term as ALP leader

In 1996, on the defeat of the Keating government by John Howard, Beazley was elected unopposed as Labor leader and became Opposition Leader. He campaigned against Howard's Goods and Services Tax (GST) but lost the October 1998 elections by a narrow margin. Labor polled a majority of the two-party vote and received the largest swing to a first-term opposition since 1934, but failed to win enough seats in the House of Representatives.

In mid-2001 Labor was well ahead in the opinion polls and seemed set to win the election due at the end of the year, but in August a political crisis erupted when the Howard government refused to allow the MV Tampa, a Norwegian freighter, to set down on Australian soil at Christmas Island several hundred asylum seekers whom the crew had rescued from an unseaworthy boat in international waters. When the November 2001 election was announced, Howard had taken a commanding lead in the polls and seemed set for a huge victory. But Beazley's dogged campaigning regained some of this ground and Labor suffered a net loss of only four seats.

Opposition backbencher

Beazley resigned the Labor leadership after the election and was succeeded by Simon Crean. But by 2003 Crean had failed to make any headway against Howard and Labor MPs began to fear that Howard would easily win the election due in 2004. Crean's opponents persuaded Beazley to attempt a return to the leadership by challenging Crean. The Labor Caucus (parliamentary Labor Party) re-elected Crean in June 2003, not convinced that Beazley offered a better alternative. Some Beazley supporters, most notably Stephen Conroy, continued to plot against Crean, and Beazley refused to rule out a further challenge.

On 27 November Crean's closest supporters told him that he had lost their confidence, and the next day he announced his resignation. Beazley immediately announced that he would be contesting the leadership when the Labor Caucus met on 2 December. His only opponent was the party's economic spokesperson, Mark Latham. Latham defeated Beazley by 47 votes to 45. After the ballot, Beazley announced that he would remain in politics as a backbench member and would recontest his seat at the 2004 election.

In June 2004 Beazley battled claims he had a "special relationship" with Ratih Harjono [Sim, Susan (19 February 2000). All the President's whisperers, Straits Times (Singapore).] back when he was defence minister, it was alleged this relationship posed a security risk [AAP, (30 June 2004). Spy claims Beazley a 'security risk'http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2004/06/30/1088487994346.html?from=storylhs] .

In July 2004, however, Latham arranged for Beazley to return to the Labor front bench as Shadow Defence Minister. This followed controversy over Latham's policy of withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq by the end of 2004. Beazley's return to the front bench was generally seen as a move by Latham to reassure Australian public opinion that a Labor government would not put the U.S.-Australian alliance at risk.

econd term as ALP leader

After Labor's defeat in the October 2004 federal election, at which he became the longest-serving Labor member of the Parliament, Beazley again returned to the backbench, saying "my time as leader of the Labor Party has come and gone, it's over for me as far as leadership is concerned". But after Latham resigned as leader on 18 January, 2005, Beazley announced his intention to contest the leadership, saying that he was "absolutely fired with ambition."

Referring to widespread doubt that Labor could win the 2007 election under a leader who had already lost two elections, Beazley said: "There's no doubt in my mind that I can lead a winning team in the next election. The road to the prime ministership of this nation is a long and hard road. It's not an easy one. And there are many twists and turns on that road. I'm in my 25th year as a member of the Federal Parliament and I know this: public opinion is volatile and it can change."

Beazley was re-elected as federal Labor Leader when the Labor Caucus met on 28 January, following the withdrawal of the other potential candidates, Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. [cite web
title = Gillard gives Beazley clear run at leadership
publisher = ABC News
date = 26 January 2005
url = http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200501/s1289217.htm
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] Labor hoped that Beazley could follow a similar course to John Howard, who failed in his first term as Opposition Leader but returned in 1995 for a second term and then won the 1996 election.

In September 2005, the publication of Mark Latham's "The Latham Diaries" contained comments by Latham to the effect that Beazley was a "dirty dog" and was not fit to "clean toilets in Parliament". Latham's abuse resulted mainly from two allegations: firstly that Beazley had engaged in a prolonged campaign to undermine Latham in his positions as a frontbencher and as opposition leader and; secondly that Beazley (as leader) had failed to provide support to Labor MP Greg Wilton, who later committed suicide. All of these allegations were vehemently denied by Beazley, his supporters and others.

In the first half of 2006, Beazley focussed much of the Labor Party's parliamentary inquiry into the Australian Wheat Board (AWB) scandal, which allegedly involved bribes and kickbacks with the then Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, that universally breached UN Sanctions, to which Australia was a signatory. The situation reached climax in the aftermath of Treasurer Peter Costello's 2006 Budget, whereby for the first time in recent Australian political history, the opposition leader and his colleagues ceased inquiry on the budget papers after just six questions, before resuming further questioning on the AWB scandal. The media criticised the ALP, [cite web
first=Catherine
last=McGrath
title = Budget reply a tough test for Beazley
publisher = PM
date = 11 May 2006
url = http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2006/s1636514.htm
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] although many ministers acknowledged the need for the Government to be held accountable for the AWB scandal. These tactical deficiencies plagued Beazley's return to the leadership and were amplified by factional infighting in the broader Labor Party, raising many questions concerning both his ability to lead and the stability of the party. At the time, opinion polls by ACNielsen and Newspoll on preferred leader had him at record lows. This was confirmed in a forum on the SBS Insight television program on 2 May 2006, [cite web
work=Insight
title = Labor Pains
publisher = Special Broadcasting Service
date = 2 May 2006
url = http://news.sbs.com.au/insight/topic.php?id=93
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] which specifically dealt with the Labor Party's political struggles, where some community members voiced their concerns about being disillusioned with Kim Beazley, and a lack of understanding of the values and policies for which he and the party stood. While Beazley admitted that winning an election was difficult, he was adamant that the 2007 election would be a "referendum on the Howard Government's unfair industrial relations laws."

After the mid-term parliamentary break, Beazley's fortunes slightly improved, with voter concern over interest rate rises, petrol prices and industrial relations giving Labor some electoral comfort. This was later evident in polls which suggested the ALP's primary vote was at around 40 per cent - the minimum considered necessary to gain government. However, polls concerning preferred leader still positioned Kim Beazley well below John Howard. Conservative political commentator, Piers Akerman, suggested in the "Sunday Telegraph" on 11 October 2006, that Beazley's poor performance in leadership polls was to do with alleged inconsistencies in policy and judgement, particularly with regard to the Iraq war.

2006 leadership challenge

With continued weak performances in preferred Prime Minister opinion polls, 2006 was punctuated by a number of embarrassing gaffes from the opposition leader. At a press conference on 17 November 2006, Beazley confused the grieving TV host Rove McManus with President Bush's Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, offering his sympathy to the wrong Rove.cite news |title=Kim's sympathy for wrong Rove |url=http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,20773664-2,00.html |publisher=News Limited |location=Australia |date=2006-11-17 |accessdate=2008-05-20 ]

Beazley's leadership of the Labor Party came under increasing pressure. Opposition to Beazley again centred around foreign affairs spokesperson Kevin Rudd and health spokesperson Julia Gillard. According to media reports, the New South Wales Right faction promised its support to Rudd for leadership so long as he challenged Beazley before Christmas. [ cite web
first=Matthew
last=Franklin
coauthors= Sproull, Richard
title = New style of leadership needed: Rudd
publisher = The Australian
date = 1 December 2006
url = http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,20852666-601,00.html
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] [ cite web
title = Rudd, Beazley to lobby colleagues
publisher = ABC News
date = 2 December 2006
url = http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1802585.htm
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] On 30 November, Rudd met with Beazley and announced his intention to challenge for the leadership. On 1 December, Beazley announced not only a leadership election but also that all frontbench positions within the Parliamentary Labor Party would be made vacant. [cite web
first = Phillip
last=Coorey
title = Beazley calls leadership ballot
publisher = ABC News
date = 1 December 2006
url = http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1801716.htm
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] [cite web
first = Phillip
last = Coorey
title = It's us or oblivion
publisher = Sydney Morning Herald
date = 2 December 2006
url = http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/rudd-gillard-pledge-energy/2006/12/01/1164777794928.html
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] Both sides claimed that they were in a winning position.

A ballot was held on Monday 4 December, and Kevin Rudd was declared the winner and leader of the ALP, by a margin of 49 votes to 39. [ cite web
first = Phillip
last = Hudson
title = Beazley's black Monday
publisher = Sydney Morning Herald
date = 4 December 2006
url = http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2006/12/04/1165080849091.html
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] After the leadership results were announced, Jenny Macklin withdrew from the contest for deputy leader, which allowed Gillard to be elected unopposed to that position.

Following the ballot, Beazley said of his political future, "For me to do anything further in the Australian Labor Party I would say is Lazarus with a quadruple bypass. So the time has come for me to move on but when that gets properly formalised I will let you know." [This refers to John Howard's response to a journalist's question after his loss of the leadership of the Liberal Party to Andrew Peacock on 9 May 1989. The journalist asked, "Do you see yourself as having another chance at the leadership at some future time?" and Howard replied: "Oh, that'd be Lazarus with a triple bypass". From cite web
title = Howard's Way
work= Sunday
publisher = Ninemsn
date = 4 December 2006
url = http://sunday.ninemsn.com.au/sunday/cover_stories/transcript_331.asp
accessdate = 2006-12-04
] It was also revealed that his brother David had died of a severe heart attack at age 53, shortly before the vote took place. [cite web
title = Tearful Beazley bows out
publisher = The Age
date = 4 December 2006
url = http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/rudd-ousts-beazley/2006/12/04/1165080846679.html
accessdate = 2006-12-04
]

Post-political career

Beazley later announced that he would not stand for re-election at the 2007 federal election, [cite web | title = Beazley to retire at next election | publisher = ABC News | date = 13 December 2006 | url = http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200612/s1810990.htm | accessdate = 2006-12-13 ] which the Labor Party won. After his retirement from parliament, it was speculated that he was a leading candidate to become the next Australian Ambassador to the United States when Dennis Richardson retires in mid-2008 [cite web | title = Plenty of Labor talent ready to fill plum posts | publisher = The Age | date = 11 January 2008 | url = http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/plenty-of-labor-talent-ready-to-fill-plum-posts/2008/01/10/1199554832009.html | accessdate = 2008-01-11 ] or the next Governor-General of Australia when Michael Jeffery's term expired, also in 2008. [cite web | title = Beazley tipped for government crown | publisher = SMH | date = 20 January 2008 | url = http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/beazley-set-for-gg-job/2008/01/19/1200620275126.html | accessdate = 2008-01-20 ] The latter suggestion, however, was swiftly ruled out by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, saying that he would not appoint a current or former politician as Governor-General, but instead would prefer to choose someone from the wider community. [cite web | title = Beazley ruled out as next governor | publisher = The Australian | date = 21 January 2008 | url = http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,23082210-2702,00.html?from=public_rss | accessdate = 2008-01-21 ] This has since been confirmed by the appointment of Australia's first female Governor General, Quentin Bryce, who assumed the position on September 5 2008.

He is currently a professorial fellow at the University of Western Australia, focusing on politics, public policy and international relations. On July 25 2008, it was announced that Kim Beazley will become the next Chancellor of the Australian National University in Canberra from January 1 2009, succeeding Allan Hawke. The Chancellor position is seen as ceremonial and part-time, however Beazley has already stated he wants to be more hands-on with the students and staff.Fact|date=July 2008

ee also

*Politics of Australia
*Australian Labor Party

References

External links

* [http://www.alp.org.au/people/wa/beazley_kim.php ALP biography]


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