Peter Hall (politician)

Peter Hall (politician)

Peter Ronald Hall (born 27 May 1952) is an Australian politician. He has been a National member of the Victorian Legislative Council since 1988, representing Gippsland Province. He is the current leader of the National Party in the Legislative Council and the Shadow Minister for Skills & Workforce Participation and for Tertiary Education & Training. Due to the reforms of the Legislative Council introduced by the Bracks Labor Government, Hall is now one of five MLCs for the new Eastern Region.

Football career

Hall was born and raised in Castlemaine, Victoria. He showed some promise as an Australian rules football player as a young person, being the Best and Fairest for the Castlemaine Football Club in 1969. While studying teaching at Monash University in Melbourne, Hall made his debut for the Carlton Football Club in what was then the Victorian Football League (now the Australian Football League). He went on to play 37 senior games between 1971 and 1974. However, he retired from top-grade football at the end of the 1974 season, moving to Traralgon in 1975 to take up a full-time secondary teaching position.

Over the next fourteen years, Hall continued to teach in Traralgon while also being the playing coach of his local football club. He twice won the league's Best and Fairest Award, and coached both Traralgon and Morwell to premierships. Both of these careers were to end, however, when Hall was elected to the safe National seat of Gippsland Province at the 1988 state election.

Political career

Hall was given little responsibility in his first term in office, a trend to continue throughout his lack lustre career, but after being re-elected in 1996, he was made Deputy President of the Legislative Council and Chairman of the Ministerial Rural Health Advisory Group. When the Liberal-National coalition lost government in 1999, Hall became the Deputy Leader of the National Party in the Legislative Council and Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation, Youth and Affairs.

However, this was to again change in 2000, when the now-opposition coalition fractured. This meant that the Victorian division of the National Party was now the only one anywhere in the country to be separate from the Liberal Party. Hall subsequently lost his three shadow ministries, but instead became the party's spokesperson for education, tertiary education, secondary education, primary education, preschools, adult learning, e learning resources and the environment. The following year, he was again promoted, and was made Leader of the National Party in the Legislative Council.

The 2002 election saw a major landslide victory for the Labor government at the expense of both the Liberal and National Parties. There was a swing to Labor in almost every seat in the state, with numerous MPs losing their seats. Hall, however, was the only exception in the Legislative Council, slightly improving his vote despite the party's poor statewide result. After the election, he maintained his position as leader in the Legislative Council, despite the sacking of his Liberal counterpart, Bill Forwood.

While usually orthodox in his support for National Party policies, Hall was one of a group of prominent National Party figures - including key senators Barnaby Joyce and Fiona Nash to express concern about the federal party's support for the policy of voluntary student unionism. Hall in particular expressed concern about the effect it would have on rural universities and towns within his electorate, most notably surrounding the Churchill campus of Monash University.

After the Bracks Labor Government reformed the Legislative Council, some pundits predicted that Hall would struggle to retain his upper house seat in the new Eastern Region, which included significant metropolitan areas. The quota system also enhanced the chances of minor parties such as the Greens and Family First winning seats. However, a limp statewide swing to the National Party, particularly localised gains in Gippsland lower house electorates and adroit preference deals saw Hall win the final Eastern Region seat ahead of the Greens candidate.

External links

* [ Official Website]
* [ The Nationals - Victoria]

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