Rann Now Longest-Serving Premier

Peter Beattie’s resignation as Queensland Premier will elevate South Australia’s Mike Rann to the position of longest-serving state premier. Rann was elected in March 2002.

Mike Rann, Premier of South AustraliaThe Northern Territory Chief Minister, Clare Martin, will become the longest-serving state or territory head of government, having been elected in August 2001. She just eclipses the ACT’s Jon Stanhope, elected in November 2001.

The retirements of Bob Carr (elected 1995), Steve Bracks (1999) and Beattie (1998) have resulted in the Labor governments which dominate the Australian states and territories moving to a second-generation of leaders.

Western Australian Premier Geoff Gallop (elected February 2001) resigned due to ill-health in January 2006. Tasmanian Premier Jim Bacon (elected September 1998) also resigned due to ill-health in February 2004.

Rann remains the last-elected and only original member of the clutch of Labor Premiers elected between 1995 and 2002.

John Howard remains the longest-serving head of government, having been Prime Minister since March 11, 1996.


Tony Blair Praises Geoff Gallop

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great BritainThe British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has praised the retiring Premier of Western Australia, Geoff Gallop, as “one of the outstanding politicians of our generation”.

Blair’s comments came as the Labor caucus in Western Australia endorsed Alan Carpenter unopposed as their new leader. Carpenter will be sworn in tomorrow as Premier.

Speaking at his monthly press conference at 10 Downing Street, Blair was asked:

The Western Australian Premier, Geoff Gallop, recently resigned, he is an old friend of yours from your university days. He resigned because of depression. What were your thoughts when you heard about him stepping down because of mental illness?

Blair responded:

Well obviously as you probably know I have spoken to Geoff several times in the past 10 days or so. Geoff Gallpp was in my view one of the outstanding politicians of our generation, an absolutely brilliant man, a fantastic person as well, and as people in Western Australia will know, a person of tremendous warmth, integrity and achievement in western Australia. And so obviously I was really sorry that he took that decision but I know he did it in the best interests of the state and his own family and his own health. And I have no doubt at all he will bounce back very quickly because he is a quite exceptional person.

Blair and Gallop were both at Oxford University in the early 1970s. Gallop was a Rhodes Scholar.


Citing Depression, Geoff Gallop, WA Premier, Resigns

The Premier of Western Australia, Geoff Gallop, has announced his resignation, due to depression.

Gallop will resign as Premier and from Parliament. Gallop has been leader of the WA ALP since 1996 and Premier since 2001.

This is the text of the statement from Geoff Gallop.

Geoff Gallop, outgoing Premier of Western AustraliaIt is my difficult duty to inform you today that I am currently being treated for depression.

Living with depression is a very debilitating experience, which affects different people in different ways.

It has certainly affected many aspects of my life. So much so, that I sought expert help last week.

My doctors advised me that with treatment, time and rest this illness is very curable.

However, I cannot be certain how long I will need. So in the interests of my health and my family I have decided to rethink my career.

My commitment to politics has always been 100 per cent plus. I now need that time to restore my health and well-being.

Therefore I am announcing today my intention to resign as Premier of Western Australia and Member for Victoria Park in the State Parliament.

It has been an enormous privilege and pleasure to serve this State and witness the wonderful progress that is being made.

I would like to thank the WA public for bestowing on me the immense responsibility and thrill of leading this great State for just under five years; and my colleagues for giving me the honour of leading the WA Labor Party for the best part of 10 years.

I would particularly like to thank the residents of Victoria Park for the support they have given me for nearly 20 years.

In fact, what has made this announcement all the more difficult today is that I love being Premier, I love the work, I love the State and I love its people.

In order to do the job, you need the support of your staff, the Cabinet and your Parliamentary colleagues. They have all been magnificent and I will always cherish the times I have spent with them working on ideas for a better future.

Even though change of the sort I announce today will bring its challenges and will be disruptive in the very short term, I am confident that the Government will continue its excellent work.

The State Parliamentary Labor Party at its earliest possible convenience will decide my successor. In the meantime, Eric Ripper has kindly cancelled his scheduled leave to continue to act as Premier.

I hope you will appreciate the pressure my current condition has placed on my family, who have been a tower of strength and a source of great support.

I now need the space required to start the process of full recovery and for this reason I will not be taking questions nor doing any further media interviews.

I thank you for your co-operation and I wish you all well for the future.


Peter Beattie Comments On Mark Latham’s Leadership

The Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, has commented on Mark Latham’s leadership of the ALP.

Beattie said he felt sorry for WA Labor leader Geoff Gallop, who faces an election amidst speculation about the federal leadership. [Read more…]


Western Australian Government To Toughen MPs Disclosure Laws

The Gallop Labor government in Western Australia is to introduce sweeping new financial disclosure rules for WA members of parliament.

The new rules include requiring MPs to disclose information about family holdings and publishing details of MPs’ financial interests on the internet. [Read more…]


Council Of Australian Governments Joint Press Conference on Stem Cell Research

The meeting of the Council of Australian Governments, held in Canberra on Friday, is being hailed by the participants as the best ever.

The major decision of COAG was an agreement on stem cell research. For the first time ever, all the State Premiers and Territory Chief Ministers are from the ALP, with Prime Minister John Howard representing the non-Labor Federal government.

The Premiers were no doubt keen to demonstrate that wall-to-wall Labor governments are good for the federal compact, but there seemed also to be a genuine belief that the COAG meeting had been productive. There was effusive praise from the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, for the Prime Minister. [Read more…]


Greens Win Balance Of Power In Western Australian Upper House

The Greens have won the balance of power in the Western Australian Legislative Council, denying a vital avenue of power to Pauline Hanson’s One Nation.

The result is a bonus to the new Premier, Geoff Gallop, following his landslide win in the Legislative Assembly.

The outcome is also indicative of the extent to which the ALP’s win in the election is the product of a strong preference flow from the Greens and, to a lesser extent, the Australian Democrats.