John Anderson (Australian politician)

John Anderson (Australian politician)

Infobox Deputy Prime Minister
honorific-prefix = The Honourable

name = John Anderson

honorific-suffix =MA (Syd)

order=12th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
term_start =20 July 1999
term_end =6 July 2005
predecessor =Tim Fischer
successor =Mark Vaile
birth_date =birth date|1956|11|14|df=y
birth_place =Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
death_date =
constituency =Gwydir
party= National
office2 = Member for Gwydir
term_start2 = 15 April 1989
term_end2 = 24 November 2007
predecessor2 =Ralph Hunt
successor2 = (Division abolished)
spouse = Julia
religion = Christian [ [ - reading - Faith & Duty: The John Anderson Story ] ]
footnotes =

John Duncan Anderson (born 14 November 1956) is an Australian politician. He served as the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the rural-based National Party of Australia from July 1999 to July 2005.

Early years

Anderson was born in Sydney, but his family have been graziers (sheep ranchers) and landowners in northern New South Wales since the 1840s. When he was three years old, his mother died of cancer. In a tragic accident, his younger sister died after Anderson hit a cricket ball into the back of her neck while he was playing with his father. He was educated at The Kings School and has a Master of Arts degree from the University of Sydney. He was a farmer and grazier on family properties before entering politics.

Political career

In 1989 Anderson was elected to the House of Representatives as MP for the rural seat of Gwydir, at a by-election following the resignation of Ralph Hunt. Handsome, well-educated and well-spoken, he made an immediate impression in the National Party, and was appointed to the Opposition front bench in 1992. In March 1993 he was elected Deputy Leader of the National Party.

When the Liberal Party under John Howard won the March 1996 elections and formed a coalition government with the National Party, Anderson became Minister for Primary Industries and Energy. In 1998 he shifted to become Minister for Transport and Regional Development.

When Tim Fischer retired as National Party leader in July 1999, Anderson was elected party leader without opposition and thus became Deputy Prime Minister. He inherited a party with its electoral base in a long-term decline and facing a series of difficult policy challenges. There were some doubts that his urbane image was appropriate for a rural-based party.

Among the issues facing Anderson as National Party leader were the Liberal Party's desire to privatise the state telephone company, Telstra, which many rural Australians feared would lead to higher charges and reduced services. Anderson succeeded in delaying any action on this until an inquiry had been held, and until a guarantee could be given that there would be no reduction in services.

Nevertheless, at the 2001 federal elections, the National Party lost three seats, two of them to independent MPs, while the Liberals gained seats. As a result, the party had to give up a place in the coalition Cabinet formed after the elections. During 2003 there was speculation that Anderson would soon be quitting politics, but in September he announced that he would stay and fight the 2004 election. Despite a coalition victory, the National Party lost a further seat in the House of Representatives. The party did however pick up two seats in the Senate.

In September 2004, independent federal MP Tony Windsor claimed that he had been approached by a figure associated with the National Party with the offer of a diplomatic position in exchange for retiring from his seat of New England, which he won from the National Party in 2001, at the 2004 election. In November, speaking under parliamentary privilege, Windsor said that it was Anderson, and National Party Senator Sandy Macdonald, who had made the offer, through an intermediary, Tamworth businessman Greg McGuire. Anderson, McDonald and McGuire all denied the claims. [cite news
title =Anderson quizzed over bribe claims
publisher =Australian Broadcasting Corporation
date =18 November 2004
url =
accessdate = 2007-06-01
] [cite news
title =Kingmaker Windsor falls on his sword
publisher =The Sydney Morning Herald
date =22 November 2004
url =
accessdate = 2007-06-01
] In the end, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions found that there were no grounds to lay any charges under the Commonwealth Electoral Act, thus exonerating Anderson.

In June 2005 Anderson announced that he would resign from the ministry and as Leader of the Nationals in mid-July, citing a "debilitating but thankfully benign prostate condition" and other personal concerns. In the House of Representatives on 23 June, after Anderson's announcement of his intention to resign, members from all sides of politics, led by the Prime Minister, John Howard, and the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley, praised his personal qualities and integrity. [cite web
title =House of Represntatives Hansard
publisher =Parliament of Australia
date =23 June 2005
url =
format =
accessdate = 2007-06-01
] Mark Vaile, his deputy, succeeded him as Nationals Leader and Deputy Prime Minister. He remained as Member for Gwydir until the 2007 election. The division of Gwydir has been dissolved as an electorate and ceased to exist at the 2007 election.


External links

* [ National Party of Australia website]

NAME=Anderson, John Duncan
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Australian politician
DATE OF BIRTH=14 November 1956
PLACE OF BIRTH=Sydney, Australia

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