About Paul Keating
- Born: 18 January 1944
- Partner: Anna Johanna Maria (Annita) Keating
- Political party: Australian Labor Party
- Image: NAA: A6135, K27/7/93/57
Paul Keating was Australia’s 24th Prime Minister and held office from 20 December 1991 to 11 March 1996.
Keating first entered parliament when he won the House of Representatives seat of Blaxland in 1969. He was only 25 years old, making him one of the youngest federal parliamentarians.
Keating's first Cabinet post was Minister for Northern Australia from 21 October to 11 November 1975. He was Treasurer from 1983 to 1991 in the Hawke government. Then he successfully challenged Hawke for Labor Party leadership on 19 December 1991.
The Keating government pursued economic growth as a precondition for improving the daily lives of all Australians. Keating’s initiatives as Prime Minister included the passage of Indigenous land rights legislation, encouraging the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and other Australians, and supporting the writing of a ‘new national story’ that acknowledged the conquest and capture of the continent from Indigenous peoples. The government also established the Republican Advisory Committee to facilitate debate on the possibility of an Australian republic, supported reform of vocational education and training, and introduced policies encouraging economic competitiveness.
As Treasurer and as Prime Minister, Paul Keating transformed Australia’s financial system and economy. As Treasurer from 1983 to 1991 in the government of Bob Hawke, Paul Keating was the architect of Australia’s economic deregulation. The government floated the Australian dollar and allowed foreign banks to operate in Australia from 1983. This style of Australian Labor Party neo-liberalism implemented many changes then in vogue, but without the confrontation of 'Thatcherism'.
Did you know?
- was among the youngest federal ministers, aged 31, when he took his first portfolio in 1975
- like John Howard, had been in parliament for 22 years when he became Prime Minister
- campaigned only twice as Australian Labor Party leader, winning in 1993 and losing in 1996