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Lindsay Tanner

The Honourable
Lindsay Tanner
Member of the Australian Parliament for Melbourne
In office
13 March 1993 – 19 July 2010
Preceded by Gerry Hand
Succeeded by Adam Bandt
11th Minister for Finance and Deregulation
In office
3 December 2007 – 3 September 2010
Preceded by Nick Minchin
Succeeded by Wayne Swan
Personal details
Born (1956-04-24) 24 April 1956
Orbost, Victoria, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Andrea
Children Ainsley, Remy. Jemma and James from previous marriage
Residence Alphington, Victoria
Profession Lawyer
Trade Unionist

Lindsay James Tanner (born 24 April 1956) is a former Australian member of the House of Representatives representing the Division of Melbourne, Victoria, for the Australian Labor Party, having first won the seat at the 1993 federal election. He was a member of the Australian Government from 3 December 2007, serving as the Minister for Finance and Deregulation. On 24 June 2010 he announced his intention not to contest the 2010 federal election, at which his seat was won by the Greens. He has written several books and been an outspoken commentator on Australian culture and the direction and role of the Labor Party.


  • Background 1
  • Parliamentary career 2
  • Post-political career 3
  • Publications 4
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Lindsay Tanner was born in the East Gippsland town of Orbost. He studied at the local state primary school before obtaining a scholarship to Gippsland Grammar School in Sale, where he graduated as dux in 1973. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Laws with Honours and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours, and later a Master of Arts in History in 1981. While still at university, he co-wrote a book on environmental politics and worked as a casual layout and design artist. He was Editor of Farrago and a Member of the Melbourne University Law Review.

Tanner began his career as an articled clerk and solicitor at Holding Redlich Lawyers in Melbourne. In 1985, he became an electorate assistant to Labor senator Barney Cooney. He was Assistant State Secretary of the Federated Clerks' Union from 1987, then State Secretary from 1988 until 1993.

He has been married twice, and has one son and three daughters.[1]

Parliamentary career

In March 1993 Tanner was elected to the Australian House of Representatives representing the Division of Melbourne, and served one term as a government backbencher during Paul Keating's final term as Prime Minister.

The Liberal Party under John Howard won the March 1996 election, and Keating subsequently retired from politics. A major reshuffle by new leader Kim Beazley resulted in Tanner's promotion to the Shadow Ministry and appointment as Shadow Minister for Transport. He remained a member of the Shadow Ministry, despite numerous changes of leadership, continuously until the election of the Rudd Labor government in November 2007.

In 1998, Tanner was moved to the portfolios of Finance and Consumer Affairs. In 1999, he wrote a book entitled Open Australia, which explored how information technology could be used to enhance social justice and economic equality; and he also wrote a number of articles on targeted, "micro" ways of addressing globalisation and the decline of large-scale manufacturing, in which he suggested there was little substance to the notion put forward by neoclassical economists of a "simulated free market" in East Asian economies that explains their "emergence" (see 1997 Asian Financial Crisis).[2] Following the 2001 election, he became Shadow Minister for Communications.

Tanner has been a prominent member of Labor's left faction and it was thought that he might contest the Labor leadership in 2002, when former leader Kim Beazley first challenged Simon Crean. In the second leadership spill in December 2003, Tanner supported Beazley,[3] who lost the party-room ballot to Mark Latham. The following month, Latham appointed Tanner to the new portfolio of Community Relationships, in addition to his existing responsibilities.

After the October 2004 federal election, Tanner was thought to be a candidate for the position of Shadow Treasurer, which had been vacated by Simon Crean. However, once it became clear that Latham did not intend to offer him this position, Tanner announced that he would not stand for a position in the new shadow ministry. He subsequently released a brief statement, stating that he had "no complaint about how Mark Latham has dealt with [him] personally", but adding that he had "serious reservations about the emerging Labor response to our latest election defeat."[4] In June 2005, Tanner was re-elected to the Opposition frontbench and was appointed Shadow Minister for Finance.

A polling booth in Lindsay Tanner's electorate of Melbourne.

The 2007 election saw Tanner's seat of Melbourne face the Greens on the two-party-preferred vote, the first seat to do so at a federal election. Labor retained the seat on 54.7 percent of the two-party-preferred vote. After the successful election of the federal Labor Party, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd retained Tanner as Minister for Finance and Deregulation.[5] The role had previously only been known as Minister for Finance and Administration.

On 24 June 2010, during Julia Gillard's first question time as Prime Minister, Tanner announced his intention to not re-contest his seat at the next election, citing that he wanted to spend more time at home with his family and stressing he had already planned to do so before the change in leadership.[6]

His tenure as Member for Melbourne ceased on 19 July 2010 when the Parliament was dissolved prior to the 2010 federal election. He remained as Minister for Finance throughout the election campaign.[7]

Post-political career

Tanner has been appointed as a Vice Chancellor's Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Victoria University,[8] and a special adviser to financial firm Lazard Australia.[9] In 2011, the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) accorded him the rare distinction of an Honorary Fellowship (FCIPS); the first to be bestowed outside of the UK.


Tanner has been published extensively in newspapers and journals. His major works are detailed below:

  • Russ, Peter; Tanner, Lindsay. (1978) The politics of pollution. Camberwell, VIC: Widescope. ISBN 0-86932-072-6. (186 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (1984) "Working class politics and culture : a case study of Brunswick in the 1920s." Parkville, VIC: University of Melbourne (MA thesis). (PDF copy) (161 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (1996) The last battle. Carlton, VIC: Kokkino Press. ISBN 0-646-28912-8 (216 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (1999) "Engaging with the world" (12th Stan Kelly Memorial Lecture, 30 September 1999). Melbourne: Economic Society of Australia (Victorian Branch). (16 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (1999) Open Australia. Annandale, NSW: Pluto Press. ISBN 1-86403-052-6 (248 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (2003) Crowded lives. North Melbourne, VIC: Pluto Press. ISBN 1-86403-272-3 (124 pages) (Review)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (2003) "Courage and compassion" (Arthur Calwell Memorial Lecture, 19 September 2003). Melbourne. (24 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (2007) "Labor going global" (Chifley Memorial Lecture, 14 March 2007). Melbourne: University of Melbourne. (16 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (2011) "Sideshow: Dumbing Down Democracy" Scribe Publications. ISBN 9781921844898 (256 pages)
  • Tanner, Lindsay. (2012) "Politics with Purpose" Scribe Publications. ISBN 978-1-922070-04-3 (350 pages)

See also


  1. ^ From ABC profile at: , accessed online 23-11-2008
  2. ^ Tanner, Lindsay (1999). "Global Flexibility: Industry Policy in the New Economy". In Carman, Michael. Out of the Rut: Making Labor a Genuine Alternative. Sydney, NSW:  
  3. ^ Koutsoukis, Jason (20 October 2004). "Three wise men are gone".  
  4. ^ McGrath, Catherine (19 October 2004). "Tanner heads to the backbench".  
  5. ^ "Rudd hands out portfolios". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2007. 
  6. ^ Rodgers, Emma (24 June 2010). "Tanner to stand down". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  7. ^ ABC News
  8. ^ AAP (24 August 2010). "Lindsay Tanner joins Victoria University". The Australian. Retrieved 24 May 2010. 
  9. ^ ABC News (2010). Tanner moves from Parliament to private equity. Retrieved 11 September 2010.

External links

  • Personal website
  • Fairfax Blog
  • Department of Finance and Deregulation profile
  • Tanner on the dumbing down of democracy - ABC News interview
  • Search or browse Hansard for Lindsay Tanner at
Political offices
Preceded by
Nick Minchin
Minister for Finance and Deregulation
3 December 2007 – 3 September 2010
Succeeded by
Acting Wayne Swan
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Gerry Hand
Member for Melbourne
Succeeded by
Adam Bandt
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