Speakers Profile - The Hon. Paul Keating

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Paul Keating is one of the great Australian political leaders. Born in Sydney in 1944, Paul Keating was elected a Member of Parliament for the federal seat of Blaxland in 1969 at the age of 25. After holding several shadow ministerial portfolios while in Opposition, he was appointed Treasurer following the election of the Labor government in 1983. He held that position until 1991 when he became Prime Minister.

As both Treasurer and Prime Minister Mr Keating oversaw a period of fundamental economic and social reform in Australia. Those reforms included the opening up of the Australia economy through changes like the deregulation of the financial system and the lowering of tariffs, the introduction of compulsory superannuation, reform of the labour market, the privatisation of a number of Commonwealth commercial operations, the expansion and reform of the tertiary education and training sector, the historic Native Title legislation and the development of closer relations between Australia and Asia. He put the debate about Australia becoming a republic into the public domain by establishing the Republic Advisory Committee in 1995 and outlining a model for an Australian republic.

Mr Keating has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Laws from Keio University in Tokyo, the National University of Singapore and the University of New South Wales. His book, Engagement: Australia faces the Asia Pacific, which deals with the foreign policies of his government, was published in 2000 and translated into Japanese and into Chinese for publication by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Mr Keating left public life in 1996. As a political commentator he contributes to newspaper 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 and was published in March 2000.

Mr Keating is a frequent visitor to the Asian region and an engaging orator who specialises in pulling together disparate ideas, trends and facts to produce a 'big picture'-type analysis of the topic. His expertise spans global and national economic, social and political issues.