Volume 4, 1983–2002
This fourth volume contains articles on the 108 senators and one Clerk of the Senate whose parliamentary service ended between 1983 and 2002, a period of rapid economic and social change. The environmental movement, the push for gender equality, currency and banking deregulation, the lowering of tariffs, the recognition of native title and monumental technological transformations are all seen through the prism of these senators’ stories. Yet, during this time of great change, the political sphere remained relatively stable. Even though no party in government commanded a majority of the Senate, parties in government were often able to work effectively with the Senate to achieve major policy objectives. For the first time since its early years, the Senate deliberately pursued an agenda of institutional strengthening — the codification of parliamentary privilege, new standing orders, enhanced committee capacity and greater opportunities for senators to hold governments to account all developed through this period. As a result of the efforts of senators who served during this period, the Senate re-established itself as an essential part of Australia’s constitutional arrangements and as the main House of review and scrutiny.
This volume contains a wealth of detailed information about senators, some of whom were parliamentarians first and politicians second, and others whose first inclination was to go for the political jugular. It catalogues careers that soared and careers that stalled, sometimes as a result of acts of self-destruction, sometimes as a result of circumstances beyond anyone's control. Notably, of the 307 senators covered in the previous three volumes only seven were women, whereas volume 4 includes the stories of 25 women who served in the Australian Senate – almost a quarter of all entries. The life stories include some well-known figures such as Labor’s Gareth Evans, Peter Walsh and Graham Richardson, the Coalition’s Margaret Guilfoyle, Lady Florence Bjelke-Petersen and Noel Crichton-Browne and members of the cross-bench, Steele Hall, Don Chipp and Cheryl Kernot. There is no doubt that the stories of all these 109 people make fascinating reading.
Edited by Geoffrey Browne, Kay Walsh, Joel Bateman and Hari Gupta
Published by the Department of the Senate, 2017