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Paul Keating is an Australian former politician who served as the 24th prime minister of Australia from 1991 to 1996. A member of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), he previously served as treasurer of Australia in the Hawke Government from 1983 to 1991 and as deputy prime minister of Australia from 1990 to 1991. Keating was born in Sydney and left school at the age of 14. He joined the Labor Party at the same age, serving a term as State President of Young Labor and working as a research assistant for a trade union.
Keating was elected to the Australian House of Representatives at the age of 25, winning the division of Blaxland in the 1969 election. Keating briefly served as Minister for Northern Australia from October to November 1975, in the final weeks of the Whitlam Government. After the Dismissal removed Labor from power, he held senior portfolios in the Shadow Cabinets of Gough Whitlam and Bill Hayden. During this time he came to be seen as the leader of the Labor Right faction and developed a reputation as a talented and fierce parliamentary performer.
He was appointed treasurer by prime minister Bob Hawke after Labor’s landslide victory in the 1983 election. The pair developed a powerful political partnership, overseeing significant reforms intended to liberalize and strengthen the Australian economy. These included the Prices and Incomes Accord, the float of the Australian dollar, the elimination of tariffs, the deregulation of the financial sector, achieving the first federal budget surplus in Australian history, and reform of the taxation system, including the introduction of capital gains tax, fringe benefits tax, and dividend imputation. He also became recognized for his sardonic rhetoric, as a controversial but deeply skilled orator.
Keating became deputy prime minister in 1990, but in June 1991 he resigned from the Government to unsuccessfully challenge Hawke for the leadership, believing he had reneged on the Kirribilli Agreement. He mounted a second successful challenge six months later and became prime minister. Keating was appointed prime minister in the aftermath of the early 1990s economic downturn, which he had famously described as “the recession we had to have”. This, combined with poor opinion polling, led many to predict Labor was certain to lose the 1993 election, but Keating fought a strong campaign and managed to increase the Government’s majority.
The Keating Government enacted the landmark Native Title Act to enshrine Indigenous land rights, introduced compulsory superannuation and enterprise bargaining, created a national infrastructure development program, privatized Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank, and established the APEC leaders’ meeting, and promoted republicanism by establishing the Republic Advisory Committee. In the 1996 election, after 13 years in office, Labor suffered a landslide defeat to the Liberal-National Coalition led by John Howard. Keating retired from Parliament shortly after the election but has since remained active as a political commentator, whilst maintaining a broad series of business interests, including serving on the international board of the China Development Bank.
Paul Keating received broad praise from historians and commentators for his role in modernizing the Australian economy as treasurer since leaving office, although ratings of his premiership have been mixed. Keating has been recognized across the political spectrum for his charisma, skills in debating, and willingness to boldly confront social norms. An example of the latter was the groundbreaking Redfern Park Speech; the first admission by any Australian government official of the impact of colonization in Australia on Indigenous Australians, and that white rule had been responsible for all the struggles they faced as a people in the modern-day. The speech is regarded as a watershed moment in Australian history and was voted by the Australian public as one of the greatest ever given.
|Net Worth||$5 million|
|Occupation||Former prime minister of Australia|
Paul John Keating was born on January 18, 1944 (age 78 years) at St Margaret’s Hospital in Darlinghurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. He was the first of four children born to Minnie (née Chapman) and Matthew John Keating. His father worked as a boilermaker for the New South Wales Government Railways. All of Keating’s grandparents were born in Australia. On his father’s side, he was descended from Irish immigrants born in counties Galway, Roscommon, and Tipperary. On his mother’s side, he was of mixed English and Irish descent.
Keating’s maternal grandfather, Fred Chapman, was the son of two convicts, John Chapman and Sarah Gallagher, both of whom had been transported for theft in the 1830s. Keating grew up in Bankstown, a working-class suburb in western Sydney, with the family home from 1942 to 1966 being a modest fibro and brick bungalow at 3 Marshall Street, Bankstown (demolished for flat development in 2014). His siblings include Anne Keating, a company director and businesswoman.
Leaving De La Salle College—now known as LaSalle Catholic College—at the age of 14, Keating left high school rather than pursuing higher education, instead working as a pay clerk at the Sydney County Council’s electricity distributor. Keating also attended Belmore Technical High School to further his education. He then worked as a research assistant for a trade union, having joined the Labor Party as soon as he was eligible. In 1966, he became president of New South Wales Young Labor. During the 1960s, Keating also managed a rock band named The Ramrods.
Paul Keating met future senior Labor figures such as Laurie Brereton, Graham Richardson and Bob Carr through his contacts in the unions and Young Labor, then known as Youth Council. He also developed a friendship with former New South Wales Premier Jack Lang, who Keating took on as a political mentor. In 1971, he succeeded in having Lang re-admitted to the Labor Party.
Keating successfully gained the Labor nomination for the seat of Blaxland in the western suburbs of Sydney and was elected to the House of Representatives in 1969 when he was just 25 years old. Keating was initially more socially conservative; in his maiden speech he declared that the Liberal Government had “boasted about the increasing number of women in the workforce. Rather than something to be proud of, I feel it is something of which we should be ashamed”.
He later voted against former prime minister John Gorton’s motion to decriminalize homosexuality in 1973. According to Tom Uren he was originally a “very narrow-minded young man”, who later “matured” and became far less socially conservative. After Labor’s victory at the 1972 election, Keating narrowly failed to be elected to serve in the Cabinet, instead being a backbencher for most of the Whitlam Government.
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Paul Keating was eventually appointed Minister for Northern Australia in October 1975 but served in the role only until the Government was controversially dismissed by Governor-General John Kerr the following month. In a 2013 interview with Kerry O’Brien, Keating called the dismissal a “coup” and raised the idea to “arrest Kerr” and “lock him up”, adding that he would not have “taken it lying down” if he was prime minister.
Keating was quickly added to the Shadow Cabinet after Labor’s defeat in the 1975 election, serving as Shadow Minister for Minerals, Resources and Energy until January 1983. During this time he achieved a reputation as a flamboyant and fierce parliamentary performer, adopting the style of an aggressive debater. In 1981, he was elected president of the New South Wales Labor Party, thus becoming the leader of the influential Labor Right faction.
He initially supported the former Treasurer Bill Hayden for Labor Leader over the former ACTU President Bob Hawke as leadership tensions between the two men began to mount; he later explained that part of his reasoning was that he privately hoped to succeed Hayden himself in the near future. However, by 1982, the members of his faction had swung behind Hawke, and Keating endorsed his challenge. The formal announcement of Keating’s support for Hawke was written by a fellow Labor politician, Gareth Evans.
Although Hayden survived the challenge, pressure continued to mount on him; in an attempt to shore up his position, Hayden promoted Keating to the role of Shadow Treasurer in January 1983. However this did not prove sufficient, and Hayden resigned a month later, after a poor by-election result. Hawke was elected unopposed to replace him, and he subsequently led Labor to a landslide victory in the 1983 election just six weeks later.
Treasurer of Australia
Paul Keating was appointed Treasurer of Australia by Prime Minister Bob Hawke following Labor’s victory in the 1983 election. He succeeded John Howard in the position. He and Hawke were able to use the size of the budget deficit that the Hawke Government had inherited from the Fraser Government to question the economic credibility of the Liberal-National Coalition over the coming years. According to Hawke, the historically large $9.6 billion budget deficit left by the Coalition “became a stick with which we were justifiably able to beat the Opposition”. Although Howard was widely regarded at this time as being “discredited” by the hidden deficit, he had in fact argued unsuccessfully against Fraser that the revised figures should be disclosed before the election.
Keating and Hawke developed an extremely powerful partnership, which proved to be essential to Labor’s success in government; multiple Labor figures in years since have cited the partnership between the two as the party’s greatest ever. The two men proved a study in contrasts: Hawke was a Rhodes Scholar; Keating left high school early. Hawke’s enthusiasms were cigars, betting and most forms of sport; Keating preferred classical architecture, Mahler symphonies and collecting British Regency and French Empire antiques. Despite not knowing one another before Hawke assumed the leadership in 1983, the two formed a personal as well as political relationship which enabled the Government to pursue a significant number of reforms, although there were occasional points of tension between the two.
Keating, along with Hawke, oversaw a “National Economic Summit” in their first month in office, with Keating leading several sessions outlining the Government’s economic agenda. The Summit, which brought together a significant number of senior business and industrial figures alongside trade union leaders and politicians, led to a unanimous adoption of a national economic strategy, generating sufficient political capital for the Government to begin a wide-ranging programme of economic reform previously resisted by much of the Labor Party.
Prime Minister of Australia
Paul Keating was sworn in as prime minister by Governor-General Bill Hayden on December 20, 1991. On becoming prime minister, Keating thought of becoming treasurer again, noting that state premiers had often served as their own treasurers, but decided against it. John Dawkins was appointed treasurer instead. Keating entered office with an extensive legislative agenda, including pursuing reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous population, deepening Australia’s economic and cultural ties with Asia, and making Australia a republic. The addressing of these issues came to be known as Keating’s “big picture.”
Paul Keating moved to the affluent eastern Sydney suburb of Woollahra after leaving Parliament in 1996. He accepted an appointment as a director for various companies and also became a senior adviser to Lazard, an investment banking firm. Keating was also appointed to the advisory council of the Chinese Government Development Bank. He was also appointed a visiting professor of public policy at the University of New South Wales and was awarded honorary doctorates in law from Keio University in Tokyo (1995), the National University of Singapore (1999), the University of New South Wales (2003) and Macquarie University (2012).
Keating declined the appointment in the Australia Day Honours as a Companion of the Order of Australia in 1997, an honour which has been offered to all former prime ministers since the modern Australian Honours System was introduced in 1975. On his refusal, Keating expressed that he had long believed honours should be reserved for those whose work in the community went unrecognized and that having been prime minister was sufficient public recognition.
He published his first book in 2000 since leaving office, Engagement: Australia Faces the Asia-Pacific, which focused on foreign policy during his time as prime minister. In 2002, Keating’s former speechwriter and adviser, Don Watson, published Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A Portrait of Paul Keating PM. The book first drew criticism from Keating’s by then-estranged wife, Annita Keating, who said that it understated her contribution, a complaint Watson rejected. Keating himself was so unhappy with the book that it brought the two men’s friendship to an abrupt end.
Keating initially avoided public political comment during the Howard Government, although made occasional speeches criticizing his successor’s social policies. Ahead of the 2007 election, Keating joined former Labor Prime Ministers Gough Whitlam and Bob Hawke to campaign against Howard, describing Howard as a “desiccated coconut” who was “Araldited to the seat”, as an “…old antediluvian 19th-century person who wanted to stomp forever…on ordinary people’s rights to organize themselves at work…he’s a pre-Copernican obscurantist”. He also described Howard’s deputy, Peter Costello, as being “all tip and no iceberg” when referring to an alleged pact made by Howard to hand the leadership over to Costello after two terms.
In February 2008, after Labor’s victory in the 2007 election, Paul Keating joined former prime ministers Whitlam, Fraser and Hawke in Parliament House to witness new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd deliver the National Apology to the Stolen Generations. In August 2008, he spoke at the book launch of Unfinished Business: Paul Keating’s Interrupted Revolution, authored by economist David Love. Among the topics discussed during the launch were the need to increase compulsory superannuation contributions, as well as to restore incentives for people to receive their superannuation payments in annuities.
Paul Keating took part in a series of four-hour-long interviews with Kerry O’Brien in 2013 which were broadcast on ABC in November of that year. The series covered Keating’s early life, his entry into Parliament, his years as treasurer and prime minister, and canvassing his academic, musical and artistic interests, economic and cultural vision for Australia, and commitment to Australia’s integration into Asia. O’Brien used these conversations as the basis for the 2014 book Keating: The Interviews. Keating repeatedly declared he would not write a memoir, so his cooperation with O’Brien was perceived as the closest he would come to producing an autobiography.
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In 2016, Troy Bramston, a journalist for The Australian and a political historian, wrote an unauthorized biography that Keating cooperated with titled Paul Keating: The Big-Picture Leader. Bramston was given full access to Keating’s personal papers, was granted a series of interviews with Keating and also interviewed more than 100 other people. It was described as the “authoritative” and “definitive” Keating biography written by a “first-class” political historian.
In 2019, during campaigning for that year’s federal election, Keating spoke out against the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation by calling them “nutters.” His remarks attracted media criticism, and Labor Leader Bill Shorten distanced himself from Keating’s views. Keating later issued a joint statement with Bob Hawke endorsing Labor’s economic plan as part of the election campaign, and condemning the Liberal Party for “completely giving up the economic reform agenda”. They stated that “Shorten’s Labor is the only party of government focused on the need to modernize the economy to deal with the major challenge of our time: human-induced climate change”; it was the first joint press statement released by the two since 1991. After Hawke’s death in the same month, Keating gave an address at Hawke’s state memorial service at Sydney Opera House on 14 June, where he reflected on the “great friendship and partnership” the two had enjoyed.
In September 2021, following the announcement of the AUKUS trilateral military alliance between the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, Keating criticized the alliance, saying that “Australia turns its back on the 21st century, the century of Asia, for the jaded and faded Anglosphere” and the deal would be “locking the country and its military forces into the force structure of the United States by acquiring US submarines”.
Keating went on to criticize Labor’s opposition foreign affairs spokesperson Penny Wong, accusing the Labor opposition of being complicit with the Liberal government in “false representation of China’s foreign policy”. His comments were criticized by Labor MPs Anthony Byrne and Peter Khalil. In January 2022, Keating accused British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss of making “demented” comments about Chinese military aggression in the Pacific, saying that “Britain suffers delusions of grandeur and relevance deprivation.”
Paul Keating moved from the family home in Bankstown in the early 1970s when he purchased a new brick-veneer house at 12 Gerard Avenue, Condell Park, two doors up from his parents’ new home at No. 8 Gerard Avenue. This became the family home after his marriage in 1976 until 1983 when the Keatings sold the property for $123,000 and moved to a one-storey rental house in the Canberra suburb of Red Hill to be closer to work. Keating’s interests include the music of Gustav Mahler and collecting French antique clocks. He currently resides in Potts Point, in inner-city Sydney, and has a holiday home on the Hawkesbury River.
Paul Keating is domestically married to Julieanne Newbould, they have been together since 1998. His wife is an actress. However, in 1976, Keating married his first wife Annita van Iersel, a Dutch-born flight attendant for Alitalia. The couple had four children, who spent some of their teenage years in The Lodge, the prime minister’s official residence in Canberra. The couple separated in November 1998 with four children Katherine Keating, Patrick Keating, Alexandra Keating, and Caroline Keating. While they did not formally divorce until 2008, Annita had resumed her maiden name long before then. Before his marriage to van Iersel, Keating had in 1972 announced his engagement to fashion consultant Kristine Kennedy, but they did not marry. As of mid-2022, Paul Keating and his partner Julieanne Newbould are still together.
Paul Keating net worth
How much is Paul Keating worth? Paul Keating net worth is estimated at around $5 million. His main source of income is from his career as a politician who served as a Prime Minister in Australia from 1991 to 1996. Keating salary per month with other career earnings is over $1 million annually. He is one of the richest and most influential politicians in Australia. Paul Keating ‘s successful career has earned him some luxurious lifestyles and some fancy car trips.