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Biographical entry Keating, Paul John (1944 - )

Bankstown, New South Wales
Trade Unionist and Politician - Federal - MHR


Keating grew up in Bankstown, Sydney, attended De La Salle College, and later studied at Belmore and Sydney Technical Colleges. Keating joined the Australian Labor Party when he was fifteen. He worked in clerical jobs before joining the staff of the Federated Municipal and Shire Council Employees' Union, and became the union's industrial advocate.

Paul Keating was elected to the House of Representatives for the Sydney seat of Blaxland at a general election on 25 October 1969. He held the seat through the next 10 general elections.

Keating first became a minister in E.G. Whitlam's ALP government,being appointed Minister for Northern Australia only three weeks before the Governor-General removed the government from office on 11 November 1975. He also served as president of the ALP's New South Wales state branch from 1979 to 1983. The ALP was returned to government at the general election on 5 March 1983.

As well as holding the Treasury portfolio, Keating served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Commonwealth-State Relations from April 1990-June 1991. He held both positions until challenging Hawke for the ALP leadership on 3 June 1991. Losing the caucus vote on the leadership, he resigned his ministries and returned to the 'back-bench'.

Keating became Prime Minister on 20 December 1991 after his second challenge to Hawke in six months. He was opposed by the 'Left' faction again, but this time he had the numbers to win the ballot, a number of former opponents having switched sides since the first challenge.

P.J. Keating replaced R.J.L. Hawke as Prime Minister on 20 December 1991 and in March 1993 Keating led the ALP to victory in a general Election.

After more than four years in office Keating took the nation to his second election as Prime Minister on 2 March 1996. Labor suffered a resounding defeat, the Liberal-National Party coalition under the Opposition leader, John Howard, winning convincingly. Keating immediately resigned as Labor leader and quit parliament. Keating retired from public life and devoted himself to developing business interests.

Archival resources

National Archives of Australia, National Office

  • Papers - Paul Keating, 1975 - 2005; National Archives of Australia, National Office. Details

Published resources

Edited Books

  • Grattan, Michelle (ed.), Australian Prime Ministers, New Holland Publishers (Australia) Pty Ltd, Australia, 2001, 512 pp. Details

Online Resources

Sophie Papadopoulos