Geoff Smith

Interviewed by
Robin Sullivan
Mar 26 2010
Geoff Smith
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Geoff Smith discusses his childhood and education in Bundaberg. He describes his early career as an electrical apprentice and later at Millaquin Sugar Company. He describes how he later moved to Townsville due to an employment opportunity.
00:03:47 Geoff Smith recalls his early interest in politics, including the influence of Bombshell Barnes, a local character who spoke at street corner meetings. He describes how he worked for Ted Walsh and later how he became an active Labor Party member once he moved to Townsville. 1977 election, Ted Walsh
00:06:36 Geoff Smith explains how he was one of only two new Labor members elected at the 1980 election and credits this success to campaigning on regional issues. He comments on the divide between regional and urban Queensland and the effects of this on the policy agenda. 1980 election, campaign strategy, Keith De Lacy, Max Hooper
00:12:03 Geoff Smith discusses the challenges to an elected government following a long period in opposition. He speaks on the role of ministerial staff, reforms of the Goss Government and the role of the Griffith mafia. He elucidates on the restructuring of Queensland government departments and argues that following the review period, power remained with the Office of Cabinet and Treasury. Glyn Davis, Goss Government 1989-96, Griffith University, Keith De Lacy, Kevin Rudd, ministerial staff, Pat Weller, Peter Coaldrake, Peter Ellis
00:19:22 Geoff Smith discusses the role of ministerial staff and the links between these staff and public servants. He comments on the power of the Office of Cabinet and his view that advice from the public service was often ignored in favour of the Office of Cabinet. Cabinet Office, ministerial staff
00:22:16 Geoff Smith comments on the differences between the Lands Department and the Manufacturing and Commerce Department. He discusses his experience as Minister for Lands, concentrating on two substantial issues of the time, the automated land titles system and the Land Rights Act. Anna Bligh, land rights, Lands, Wayne Goss
00:24:47 Geoff Smith identifies the automated titling system as one the major achievements during his time as Lands Minister. He also credits the Land Rights Act as a major achievement while acknowledging that impetus for this came from the Office of Cabinet. He discusses the push for reform during this time and discusses gerrymandering and poker machine legislation. 1992 election, gerrymander, land rights, Lands, poker machines, Wayne Goss
00:25:51 Geoff Smith discusses the usefulness of ideological groupings in politics. He comments on Kevin Rudd's involvement in the Office of Cabinet and some of the contentious issues during this time. Cabinet Office, David Hamill, Kevin Rudd, Wayne Goss
00:31:50 Geoff Smith comments on the 1992 electoral defeat and discusses his own reasons for retiring. He states that closing down the railway workshops in Townsville was a time bomb and talks about the benefits of an incremental approach to politics. 1992 election, David Hamill, Ken Davies, Molly Robson, Peter Coaldrake
00:36:44 Geoff Smith describes his political style and comments broadly on the approach governments take to the media. Barnaby Joyce, Cabinet Office, media, Tom Burns
00:39:48 Geoff Smith recalls a meeting between himself and Pat Comben. Pat Comben
00:41:02 Interview ends.