Denver Beanland

Interviewed by
Helen McMonagle & Roger Scott
Jan 09 2012
Denver Beanland
Time Summary Keywords

Denver Beanland recounts his early life, schooling in Kilcoy and his move into the Liberal Party.


Denver Beanland recalls the emerging interest of the Liberal Party in the Brisbane City Council and the reason for his standing for a seat in the ward of Auchenflower in the 1976 local election.

Brisbane City Council, Clem Jones

Denver Beanland discusses his time in local government as Alderman for Auchenflower and Toowong from 1976 to 1986.

Brisbane City Council

Denver Beanland describes his time as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party in the Brisbane City Council 1983-86, and his term as Vice Mayor from 1985-86.

Brisbane City Council, Brisbane Lord Mayor, local government, Sallyanne Atkinson

Denver Beanland discusses the relationship between local government and the Bjelke-Petersen government. He outlines the emergence of the Brisbane Area Water Board.

Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, local government, Russ Hinze, water policy

Denver Beanland outlines the relationship between local government and federal government, particularly in the area of loan funding for capital works. He discusses the abolition of the Death Duty by the Bjelke-Petersen government, and the surplus funds created by the coal industry.

Capital Works, coal, death duties, Gordon Chalk, QPAC

Denver Beanland comments on the role the AWU played in the Labor Party in 1950s and 1960s. He details the introduction of coal export trade for Queensland at Moura.

coal, Francis Nicklin, Gordon Chalk, unions

Denver Beanland discusses the history of Queensland's rail networks and the burden they placed on the State budget and the introduction of private enterprise.

Queensland Rail

Denver Beanland discusses the role of Gordon Chalk in developing the Performing Arts Complex in the 1970s. He also discusses the promotion of the Arts throughout Queensland and how the budget surplus helped local government.

Arts, Gordon Chalk, QPAC

Denver Beanland discusses his move from local to state government, winning the seat of Toowong from the National Party.


Denver Beanland recalls his campaign to win the 1986 State election, especially the tension between the Liberal and National Party due to the disintegration of the coalition in 1983.

1986 election, Coalition

Denver Beanland describes how he became Deputy Leader and then Leader of the Liberal Party in May 1990. He discusses becoming Attorney-General for Queensland.

Angus Innes, Attorney General, David Watson, leadership

Denver Beanland discusses the creation of a coalition between the Liberal and National parties in 1992.

1992 election, Coalition, Mike Ahern, Russell Cooper, Wayne Goss

Denver Beanland comments on the PSMC, changes in the structure of government and the public service in general.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Public Sector Management Commission, public sector reform, Wayne Goss

Denver Beanland discusses the fall of the Goss Government and the importance of having an experienced and knowledgeable public sector.

Goss Government 1989-96, Public Sector Management Commission, Wayne Goss

Denver Beanland describes law reform and the Queensland justice system during his time in office, in particular the Juvenile Justice Act and amendments to the Criminal Code.

Justice, juvenile justice, Liz Cunningham

Denver Beanland discusses his style of leadership when at the head of the Liberal Party. He also discusses his relationship with Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen, leadership

Denver Beanland outlines losing the leadership of the Liberal Party and the forming of a coalition.

Coalition, leadership

Denver Beanland describes his role after being deposed as leader, and his support for Joan Sheldon.

Joan Sheldon, leadership

Denver Beanland discusses the 1996 Mundingburra by-election, the Memorandum of Understanding and the Connolly-Ryan Inquiry.

Connolly-Ryan Inquiry, Liz Cunningham, Memorandum of Understanding, Mundingburra by-election 1996

Denver Beanland describes the administrative confusion he faced at the start of the Borbidge government.

Borbidge Government 1996-98, Denis Murphy, induction

Denver Beanland discusses the Justice portfolio, and explains the difficulties he faced due to the 1996 federal election.


Denver Beanland discusses his time as Minister for Consumer Affairs and Justice.

Consumer Affairs, John Sosso, Justice

Denver Beanland discusses the Memorandum of Understanding, the Carruthers Inquiry and the Connolly-Ryan Inquiry.

Carruthers Inquiry, Connolly-Ryan Inquiry, Criminal Justice Commission, Memorandum of Understanding

Denver Beanland comments on corruption within the government and public service, and the effectiveness of the CJC and CMC.

corruption, Crime and Misconduct Commission, Criminal Justice Commission

Denver Beanland discusses the outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding investigation and the motion of no-confidence which was passed against him.

Liz Cunningham, Memorandum of Understanding

Denver Beanland details the Borbidge government's losing office after 1998 election, with particular emphasis on the influence of One Nation and the introduction of gun laws. He discusses the impact of poor decisions by the government, such as floating the TAB and the amalgamation of Suncorp Metway.

1998 election, gun laws, Joan Sheldon, One Nation, Suncorp Metway

Denver Beanland discusses the rise of One Nation and the 1998 state and federal elections.

1998 election, One Nation, Peter Beattie

Denver Beanland describes how parliamentary processes have changed since the Bjelke-Petersen government. He distinguishes the differences between the CJC and the CMC, and how the public service has changed.

Crime and Misconduct Commission, Criminal Justice Commission, Fitzgerald Inquiry, public sector reform

Denver Beanland discusses what actions he believes future governments need to undertake in order to ensure Queensland's success and prevent widespread corruption.

corruption, Criminal Justice Commission

Denver Beanland discusses his regrets from his time in parliament, particularly losing the 1998 election and the Heiner Enquiry.

1998 election, Heiner Enquiry

Denver Beanland recalls getting elected and re-elected as the highlights of his political career.


Interview ends

Further reading: 

John Wanna, ‘The passing of no-confidence in Attorney -General Denver Beanland’, Australian journal of politics and history 44/2, 1998, pp.262-70