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Paul Keating

Paul Keating was Australia’s 24th Prime Minister and held office from 20 December 1991 to 11 March 1996.

Paul Keating at the APEC meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, 1994

Paul Keating at the APEC meeting in Bogor, Indonesia in November 1994 with heads of government Jim Bolger (New Zealand), Julius Chan (Papua New Guinea), Mahathir Mohamad (Malaysia), Jiang Zemin (People's Republic of China) and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle (Chile). Paul Keating's batik shirt features Australia's Coat of Arms in its intricate pattern.

NAA: A8746, KN22/11/94/62

The Keating government pursued economic growth as a precondition for improving the daily lives of all Australians. Keating’s initiatives as Prime Minister included the passage of Indigenous land rights legislation, encouraging the process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and other Australians, and supporting the writing of a ‘new national story’ that acknowledged the conquest and capture of the continent from Indigenous peoples. The government also established the Republican Advisory Committee to facilitate debate on the possibility of an Australian republic, supported reform of vocational education and training, and introduced policies encouraging economic competitiveness.

As Treasurer and as Prime Minister, Paul Keating transformed Australia’s financial system and economy. As Treasurer from 1983 to 1991 in the government of Bob Hawke, Paul Keating was the architect of Australia’s economic deregulation. The government floated the Australian dollar and allowed foreign banks to operate in Australia from 1983. This style of ALP neo-liberalism implemented many changes then in vogue, but without the confrontation of 'Thatcherism'.

Paul Keating first entered parliament when he won the House of Representatives seat of Blaxland in 1969. He was only 25 years old, making him one of the youngest federal parliamentarians.

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