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Frank Crean

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Frank Crean

The Honourable
Frank Crean
25th Treasurer of Australia
In office
19 December 1972 – 11 December 1974
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
Preceded by Gough Whitlam
Succeeded by Jim Cairns
5th Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
2 July 1975 – 11 November 1975
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
Preceded by Jim Cairns
Succeeded by Doug Anthony
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Melbourne Ports
In office
1951 – 1977
Preceded by Jack Holloway
Succeeded by Clyde Holding
Personal details
Born Francis Daniel Crean
(1916-02-28)28 February 1916
Hamilton, Victoria, Australia
Died 2 December 2008(2008-12-02) (aged 92)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Mary Findlay
Children Simon Crean
David Crean
Stephen Crean
Alma mater University of Melbourne

Frank Crean (28 February 1916 – 2 December 2008) was a senior minister in the Australian Labor Party government of Gough Whitlam from 1972 to 1975, and was Deputy Prime Minister for the last six months of the government's term.


  • Life and career 1
  • Death 2
  • References 3
  • Bibliography 4

Life and career

Crean was born Francis Daniel Crean in Hamilton, Victoria, where his father was a bicycle-maker. Although his father was of Irish Catholic descent, Francis was raised in his mother's Presbyterian faith. He later and changed his name to Frank. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with degrees in arts and commerce and a diploma in public administration, and became an accountant and tax consultant. In 1945 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly, but was defeated in 1947. He was re-elected in 1949.

In 1946 Crean married Mary Findlay, with whom he had three sons. One of these, Simon Crean, was the federal Labor leader from 2001 to 2003. Another, Dr. David Crean, became a minister in the state Labor government in Tasmania. His third son, Stephen, became lost while skiing and died in a blizzard near Charlotte Pass in August 1985. A massive search failed to find him. His remains were found more than two years later.

Crean quit state politics in 1951, to stand for the safe Labor seat of Melbourne Ports in the Australian House of Representatives. In Canberra, Crean advanced rapidly, since he was one of the few Labor members with formal qualifications in economics. Elected to the Opposition front-bench in 1956, he became, in effect, shadow Treasurer (although Labor did not have a formal shadow ministry until 1969). This position he held for 16 years. During the 1960s Crean was sometimes considered as a possible party leader, but his rather plodding public image meant that he was overtaken by Gough Whitlam, who became leader in 1967. When Whitlam finally led Labor to office at the 1972 election, Crean became Treasurer, although Whitlam had no real confidence in him. Crean's tenure coincided with the onset of high inflation and rising unemployment. He did not trust the orthodox economic advice he was getting from the Treasury, but he lacked the authority to challenge it. The leader of the Labor Left, Dr Jim Cairns, attacked Crean's policies in the Cabinet, and in December 1974 Whitlam gave Cairns the Treasury and moved Crean to the Trade portfolio.

In July 1975 Whitlam sacked Cairns over his involvement in the Loans Affair, and Crean was elected party Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister in his place. He held this position until the dismissal of the Whitlam government in November 1975. After the election he contested the leadership but was defeated by Whitlam. He retired from Parliament in 1977.

From 1978 to 2004 he was Chairman of the New Hope Migrant and Refugee Centre.[1] In July 2006 it was reported that he was too frail to travel interstate for Gough Whitlam's 90th birthday function.


Crean died following a short illness on 2 December 2008, the 36th anniversary of the election of the Whitlam government in 1972.[2]


  1. ^ Australian Government notice: "State Funeral: The Honourable Frank Crean", The Age, 9 December 2008
  2. ^


  • Frith, Marion (1995). "Family Politics--Like Father, Like Son." The Age. 24 June.
  • Griffiths, Tony (2005). Beautiful Lies: Australia From Menzies to Howard. Kent Town: Wakefield Press.
  • Smyth, Paul (1994). Australian Social Policy: The Keynesian Chapter. Sydney: New South Wales University Press.
  • Stewart Ian (1974). "Inflation Troubles Australian Labor Party." New York Times. 8 October.
  • Trumbull, Robert (1973). "Problems Cloud Whitlam's Image." New York Times. 4 February.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Jack Holloway
Member of Parliament for Melbourne Ports
Succeeded by
Clyde Holding
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Succeeded by
Jim Cairns
Preceded by
Jim Cairns
Minister for Overseas Trade
Succeeded by
Doug Anthony
Deputy Prime Minister
Party political offices
Preceded by
Jim Cairns
Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Tom Uren
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