Paul Keating is one of the great Australian political leaders. His continued high international standing reflects his political and social achievements, his knowledge of world affairs and the close contacts he maintains with national leaders and former leaders. Read More >
His distinguished political career began in 1969 when he was elected to the House of Representatives, representing the electorate of Blaxland for the Australian Labor Party (ALP). In 1975, at the age of thirty-one, he became a federal minister and held the portfolio of Minister for Northern Australia in the ALP Whitlam Cabinet. He then served in the Opposition Shadow Ministry and was spokesperson for a number of portfolios including agriculture, minerals and energy.
With the election of a Labor national government in 1983, Keating became Treasurer (Finance Minister,) a position he held until 1991. In this role, he implemented economic reforms that transformed the Australian economy. These included the progressive deregulation of the financial sector, the float of the Australian dollar, extensive tax reform and the dismantling of many protectionist barriers.
In 1991, Keating became Prime Minister, and in 1993 he led the ALP to an historic fifth term of government. As Prime Minister he continued his progressive reform program which included establishing a National Training Authority, a national superannuation scheme and labor market and training reforms that addressed Australia’s long-term unemployment problems. The Keating government also implemented the historic Mabo legislation that recognized the land rights of Australia’s indigenous people. Keating also raised proposals for constitutional reform to facilitate Australia becoming a Republic.
Under the Keating government, foreign relations focused on developing independent policies, recognizing Australia’s geographical position in the Asian region. Keating took an active role in the development of APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and initiated its annual leaders' meeting with its commitment to a regional free trade agenda.
As a political commentator Keating contributes articles to newspapers and international journals that discuss international, economic and social issues. His book, Engagement: Australia Faces the Asia-Pacific, examines Australia’s foreign policy objectives and achievements during his term as Prime Minister.
Keating is a frequent visitor to China and the Asian region and a sought after keynote speaker at major domestic and international conferences. As a speaker, he excels at pulling together disparate ideas, trends and facts to produce a “big picture” analysis of the topic. His knowledge spans global as well as national economic, social and political issues. Keating is a dynamic speaker with a wealth of international experience and a keen contemporary insight into global and domestic affairs. Read Less ^