Tom Barton

Interviewed by
Danielle Miller & Chris Salisbury
Mar 11 2011
Tom Barton
Time Summary Keywords
00:00:06 Tom Barton summarises his early history and career beginning in 1964 with an apprenticeship  in the sugar and alumina industries, becoming an office holder in the Metal Workers Union in 1975, and role on the Trades and Labor Council of Queensland. He recalls entering state parliament in 1992 as the Member for Waterford, becoming the Minister for Environment and Heritage in 1995, the Minister for Police and Corrective Services in 1998, the Minister for State Development in 2001, and the Minister for Employment, Training and Industrial Relations in 2004, before retiring in 2006. Criminal Justice Commission, Mundingburra by-election 1996, Trades and Labor Council, unions
00:04:13 Tom Barton recalls his work in the union movement during the Bjelke-Petersen era, including  the SEQEB dispute in 1985 and the negotiation of state superannuation funds. Mike Ahern, Russ Hinze, SEQEB dispute, superannuation legislation, Trades and Labor Council, unions
00:08:35 Tom Barton discusses the SEQEB dispute, the role of the ETU, and the lengths to which the Trades and Labor Council went to get the strikers their jobs back. He outlines the detrimental effect on the union movement of the 1982 general strike, and attempts to redress this. SEQEB dispute, strikes, unions
00:15:35 Tom Barton discusses the Accord process, tracing its history back to the fall of the Whitlam Government. Bob Hawke, unions
00:18:22 Tom Barton discusses the Accord process, commenting on its weaknesses, including  the rise of amalgamated unions and the resultant loss of union members, as well as it strengths, including the advancement of wages and the instituting of compulsory superannuation. Comalco, superannuation legislation, unions
00:23:22 Tom Barton outlines the ongoing influence of the AWU in Queensland, its fraught relationship with the QCU, and the development of government superannuation. Edgar Williams, Errol Hodder, superannuation legislation, Trades and Labor Council, unions
00:28:10 Tom Barton discusses the relationship between the unions and the incoming Goss Government in 1989 and the frequent frustration of the unions with the speed of the reform process. Goss Government 1989-96, Keith De Lacy, Kevin Rudd, Neville Warburton, Peter Coaldrake, unions, Wayne Goss
00:32:11 Tom Barton reflects on the contentious relationship between the Goss Government and the unions, Queensland Rail and competition policy, and the corporatisation and privatisation of government services. Cabinet Budget Review Committee, Goss Government 1989-96, Keith De Lacy, Michael Roche, Queensland Rail, unions
00:36:51 Tom Barton outlines his decision to enter parliament, recalling the influence of his family, and his involvement with the powerful and politically active Metal Workers' Union. Trades and Labor Council
00:41:49 Tom Barton outlines his role as chair of the Budget Estimates Committee, the difficulties of balancing openness with effective governance and the challenge posed by media misinformation. media, Terry Mackenroth
00:46:16 Tom Barton discusses his involvement with the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Committee 1992-95 and its difficult relationship with the Criminal Justice Commission. corruption, Criminal Justice Commission, Goss Government 1989-96, Peter Beattie
00:50:11 Tom Barton discusses the Criminal Justice Commission and the Queensland Crime Commission, and the period in which he was Police Minister and Shadow Police Minister. Criminal Justice Commission, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Max Bingham, Peter Beattie, Police, Russell Cooper, Wayne Goss
00:54:59 Tom Barton outlines becoming Minister for Environment and Heritage in the context of the 1995 election commitments made by the Goss Government, the Coastal Protection Management Act and the Daintree Rescue Project. Environment and Heritage, Molly Robson, Noel Pearson, Pat Comben
00:58:31 Tom Barton outlines his work on the Cape York Conservation Zone, the backlash from the local non-Indigenous community and the collapse of the scheme when Labor lost government.  Environment, Indigenous issues, Mundingburra by-election 1996, Noel Pearson, Warren Entsch, Wild Rivers
01:06:15 Tom Barton talks about the controversial Koala Road and its role in Labor's removal from office in 1996. Gold Coast, Gold Coast Motorway, Jim Elder, koala habitat, Molly Robson
01:11:17 Tom Barton discusses his history in development during the Goss Government and early Beattie Government and becoming the Minister for State Development in 2001. Queensland Investment Corporation, state development
01:17:43 Tom Barton outlines the difficulty of being Police Minister following the Police Union's involvement in the Mundingburra by-election and comments on the culture of the Queensland Police Service post Fitzgerald Inquiry. Jim O'Sullivan, Mundingburra by-election 1996, Pauline Hanson, Police, police union
01:21:03 Tom Barton discusses the Queensland Police Service, their dissatisfaction with the Goss Government and importance of renewed police and public support in the re-election of  Labor in 1998. David Hamill, Matt Foley, Paul Braddy, Peter Beattie, Police, Russell Cooper
01:28:11 Tom Barton describes the Queensland Police Service, and Labor's delivery of additional resources following their return to government in 1998. Police
01:32:09 Tom Barton discusses the privatisation of prisons and the advantage of having prisons operating in both the private and public sectors. Frank Peach, prisons, privatisation, Russell Cooper
01:40:28 Tom Barton outlines the reforms to prostitution legislation by the Goss and Beattie governments. brothels, prostitution
01:46:44 Tom Barton describes his time as Minister for State Development from 2001 and the development of the Smart State ideal and slogan. Coordinator General, Jim Elder, Paul Lucas, Peter Beattie, Smart State, state development
01:53:05 Tom Barton discusses State Development, and the problems surrounding the building of the Goodwill Bridge. Public Works, state development
01:57:43 Tom Barton outlines the difficulties in the construction of the Goodwill Bridge, the Gold Coast Convention Centre and Suncorp Stadium, and State Development's relationship with Public Works. Public Works, Ross Rolfe, state development
02:02:55 Tom Barton outlines the impetus for State Development following Labor's return to government in 1998, and development in Gladstone. aviation, Comalco, state development
02:05:16 Tom Barton discusses the development of various aviation maintenance, training and operation industries. aviation
02:10:23 Tom Barton discusses the sugar industry. sugar
02:13:04 Tom Barton discuss the projects facilitated and funded by State Development, and department staff. Cabinet Office, Coordinator General, relationship with public service, Ross Rolfe, state development
02:15:58 Tom Barton discusses the relationship between State Development and Treasury and its impact on employment. Cabinet Budget Review Committee, Smart State, Terry Mackenroth, Treasury
02:21:30 Tom Barton discusses the aluminium industry, and the work of State Development to secure large projects and resume land. state development
02:26:11 Tom Barton outlines the need to ensure that development and infrastructure spending spreads beyond the south east corner and into regional Queensland. Beattie Government 1998-2007, infrastructure, regions, Smart State
02:30:12 Tom Barton discusses his time as Minister for Employment, Training and Industrial Relations in the context of his experience as a trade unionist, and the need to have a thick skin as a politician. Employment, Industrial Relations, strikes
02:37:19 Tom Barton notes the importance of sport in Queensland, sports funding and initiatives provided by the government and the economic benefits of sport. John Strano, Sport, Terry Mackenroth
02:48:09 Tom Barton outlines his decision to retire from politics due to ill health and to encourage renewal in the ministry. Anna Bligh, Peter Beattie
02:52:38 Tom Barton discusses the projects he would have liked to have completed in his various roles, including the Skills Plan to encourage trades and skill training in Queensland.
03:00:28 Interview ends.