Rob Borbidge

Interviewed by
Roger Scott & Maree Stanley
Mar 28 2011
Rob Borbidge
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:00 Rob Borbidge discusses his childhood on his family farm outside Ararat in Victoria. He reflects on his education in Ararat and time as a Rotary exchange student in Caledon in South Africa, before returning home to finish his education. He relates that he was offered a Commonwealth Scholarship but chose to remain on the family farm.
00:01:28 Rob Borbidge discusses his first attempt to enter parliament as a National Party candidate for the state seat of Rippon in Victoria. He tells of his move to Queensland with his family and the role of death duties in that decision. He relates how his family purchased the Surfers Paradise Motor Inn and he states how he played a significant role in its management. death duties, Gold Coast, Henry Bolte, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Thomas Austin
00:04:47 Rob Borbidge tells how he built up the motel and compares it to farming. He describes how he became involved in the Queensland branch of the National Party and made a decision to stand for parliament. He discusses the preselection process, where he was the only candidate, and the election which he won on Labor preferences. Bruce Bishop, Doris Gibbs, Ivan Gibbs, June Redmond, Peter Beattie, Young Nationals
00:09:08 Rob Borbidge highlights his loyalty to the National Party, and Joh Bjelke-Petersen's role in his family's decision to move to Queensland. Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Peter White
00:09:48 Rob Borbidge discusses significant National Party personalities, such as Robert Sparkes. He reflects on the role of Charles Holm on the Gold Coast. Charles Holm, Gold Coast, Robert Sparkes, Wendy Armstrong
00:10:50 Rob Borbidge comments on Joh Bjelke-Petersen and the experience of governing under him. He argues Bjelke-Petersen was very different in person from how he was seen publicly. Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Retail Shop Leases Act
00:13:09 Rob Borbidge discusses the major figures during the Bjelke-Petersen years both in the party organisation and parliamentary party. Charles Holm, Gold Coast, Ivan Gibbs, Michael Evans, Robert Sparkes, Russ Hinze
00:13:59 Rob Borbidge reflects on the fall of Joh Bjelke-Petersen after several ministers were removed from their positions. Borbidge tells how Bjelke-Petersen refused to resign and delves into the process the party implemented to remove him from office. He discusses the rise of the Ahern Government and his own elevation to the ministry. Ahern Government 1987-89, Bill Gunn, Governor, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Mike Ahern, Walter Campbell
00:17:30 Rob Borbidge discusses the establishment of the Fitzgerald Inquiry and Bill Gunn's role in its formation. He comments on the Joh for Canberra campaign and the move to install Russell Hinze as premier. Bill Gunn, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Joh for Canberra, John Howard, Mike Gore, Paul Clauson, Russ Hinze
00:20:06 Rob Borbidge recalls his time as the Minister for Small Business and tells how he was appointed to this role. Industry Development, Mike Ahern, Peter Ellis, Small Business
00:22:51 Rob Borbidge discusses the internal politics of the National Party and his shift to take on the Police portfolio at the behest of Premier Ahern. He delves into the fall of the Ahern Government and his replacement by Russell Cooper. He discusses his relationship with Premier Cooper. Angus Innes, Bob Katter, Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Mike Ahern, Paul Clauson, Police, Russell Cooper
00:25:36 Rob Borbidge discusses his departmental relationships during the Cooper Government. He tells how he took his ministerial staff with him but the departmental staff remained in place. He discusses the major issues that confronted him in this portfolio. Environment, Forestry and Tourism, Fraser Island, Iwasaki Project, Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation, Stan Wilcox
00:27:18 Rob Borbidge discusses his rise to become the deputy leader and then leader of the Nationals and the experience of working with Russell Cooper. He discusses the CJC inquiry into members' expenses and Cooper's decision to resign in order to use the inquiry to put pressure on the Goss Government. Criminal Justice Commission, leadership, Russell Cooper, Wendy Armstrong
00:30:22 Rob Borbidge discusses the staffing arrangements he brought in as leader. He discusses the shadow ministry and the lead up to the 1995 election. Attorney General, Brian Littleproud, Denver Beanland, Education Department, Police, Russ Hinze, Transport, Vaughan Johnson
00:32:43 Rob Borbidge reflects on the 1995 election and the respective campaigns of the Goss Government and Opposition. He delves into the controversy surrounding the seat of Mundingburra and Cunningham's decision to support a minority coalition government. He states that this was the first time in decades that an Australian government had been replaced without the mechanism of an election. Court of Disputed Returns, Frank Tanti, Goss Government 1989-96, Governor, Joan Sheldon, Leneen Forde, Liz Cunningham, Mundingburra by-election 1996
00:40:07 Rob Borbidge comments on the Mundingburra by-election and the Memorandum of Understanding with the police union. Memorandum of Understanding, Mundingburra by-election 1996, police union
00:41:13 Rob Borbidge considers his relationship with the public service and the public service union and contrasts his own approach with that of the Goss Government. He discusses the introduction of tenure for the term of government and the importance of this measure in improving relations with the public service. Alex Scott, Public Sector Union, Santo Santoro, unions, Waterside Workers Federation
00:43:19 Rob Borbidge discusses the alleged 'hit list' of public servants and compares the Goss Government's approach to reconfiguring the public service after a change of government to his own approach. Glyn Davis, Goss Government 1989-96, Gulag, Hit List, Public Service Commissioner
00:46:32 Rob Borbidge explains the arrangements within the Premier's Department and the processes for appointing directors general through a selection panel. He describes introducing fixed term contracts for the term of the government. directors general, fixed term contracts, Peter Ellis, Premier's Department
00:47:31 Rob Borbidge discusses decision making structures within the government and the process of appointing cabinet. He explains how he introduced parliamentary secretaries. He discusses the controversies that affected the government and resulted in the resignation of three ministers. Cabinet Office, Cabinet Secretariat, Cairns, Gold Coast, Health Department, Kev Lingard, Mark Rowell, media, Mike Horan, Naomi Wilson, One Nation, Townsville, Wayne Goss
00:53:37 Rob Borbidge discusses the reasons behind the decision to appoint a Children's Commission and appoint a Crime Commission outside the purview of the CJC. Criminal Justice Commission, Tim Carmody
00:55:01 Rob Borbidge discusses the 1998 election and reasons for his government's fall from power. He cites the rise of One Nation as an important factor and delves into the debate around gun control and its impact on the fortunes of the National Party. gun laws, John Howard, National Competition Policy, Native Title, One Nation, pastoral leases, Port Arthur massacre, Wik Decision
00:58:11 Rob Borbidge discusses the reasons for the rise of One Nation and how this affected the National Party. economic rationalism, John Howard, National Competition Policy, Native Title, One Nation, Pauline Hanson, Peter Costello
01:02:51 Rob Borbidge discusses the leadership styles of Bjelke-Petersen, Ahern and Cooper. In particular he notes Bjelke-Petersen's great ability to communicate. Joh Bjelke-Petersen, leadership, Mike Ahern, Russell Cooper
01:03:56 Rob Borbidge discusses his own leadership style and the characterisation of him as a 'nice guy'. leadership
01:04:33 Rob Borbidge, with reference to his 2001 resignation speech, talks about extremism in Australia and Queensland. John Howard, One Nation
01:05:57 Rob Borbidge talks about coalition arrangements and the rise of the Liberal National Party. He recalls how he tried to unite the parties but failed to bring the Liberals on board. Coalition, Donald McDonald
01:06:46 Rob Borbidge discusses the effectiveness of parliament and recent suggested changes to the role of the Speaker. minority government, parliamentary reform, Peter Beattie, Speaker
01:08:37 Rob Borbidge discusses his disappointments and achievements. He cites the privatisation/merger of Suncorp Metway as among his proudest moments and delves into party preferencing arrangements with One Nation in the 2001 election when talking about his disappointments. He suggests that this was a great boon to the Beattie Labor government. Beattie Government 1998-2007, Capital Works, international relations, Memorandum of Understanding, One Nation, privatisation, Suncorp Metway
01:12:39 Rob Borbidge discusses working with Independent, Liz Cunningham. He delves into the commission of inquiry investigating the Criminal Justice Commission which sparked a vote of no-confidence in Attorney General Denver Beanland. Borbidge explains his decision to support the Attorney General. Attorney General, Criminal Justice Commission, Denver Beanland, Justice, Liz Cunningham
01:15:30 Interview ends.