Kristina Keneally

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Kristina Keneally
Kristina KeneallyCrop.jpg
Senator for New South Wales
Assumed office
14 February 2018
Preceded by Sam Dastyari
42nd Premier of New South Wales
Elections: 2011
In office
4 December 2009 28 March 2011
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Marie Bashir
Deputy Carmel Tebbutt
Preceded by Nathan Rees
Succeeded by Barry O'Farrell
19th Leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales
In office
3 December 2009 31 March 2011
Deputy Carmel Tebbutt
Preceded by Nathan Rees
Succeeded by John Robertson
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Heffron
In office
22 March 2003 29 June 2012
Preceded by Deirdre Grusovin
Succeeded by Ron Hoenig
Personal details
Born
Kristina Marie Kerscher

(1968-12-19) 19 December 1968 (age 50)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Political party Labor
(since 2000)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (in the U.S.)
Spouse(s) Ben Keneally
ChildrenTwo sons
Residence Hunters Hill, New South Wales
Education Notre Dame Academy
Marquette University
Alma mater University of Dayton (MA)
Website Agency website
Senate Profile

Kristina Kerscher Keneally (born 19 December 1968 [1] ) is an Australian politician who has been a Senator for New South Wales since February 2018, representing the Labor Party. She previously served as Premier of New South Wales from 2009 to 2011, the first woman to hold the position. [2]

Australian Senate upper house of the Australian Parliament

The Senate is the upper house of the bicameral Parliament of Australia, the lower house being the House of Representatives. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Chapter I of the Constitution of Australia. There are a total of 76 Senators: 12 are elected from each of the six states regardless of population and 2 from each of the two autonomous internal territories. Senators are popularly elected under the single transferable vote system of proportional representation.

New South Wales state of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In March 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 7.9 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Australian Labor Party Political party in Australia

The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. Bill Shorten has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since 13 October 2013. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

Contents

Keneally was born in the United States to an American father and an Australian mother. She grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and is a graduate of the University of Dayton. After marrying an Australian, Ben Keneally, she settled in Australia permanently and became a naturalised citizen in 2000. Keneally was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly seat of Heffron at the 2003 state election, succeeding Deirdre Grusovin after a controversial preselection process. [3] After being re-elected to parliament at the 2007 state election, she became the Minister for Ageing and Disability Services and was subsequently appointed Minister for Planning by Premier Nathan Rees in 2008. She was also the state government's spokeswoman for World Youth Day 2008. [4]

Toledo, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Toledo is a city in and the county seat of Lucas County, Ohio, United States. Toledo is in northwest Ohio, at the western end of Lake Erie bordering the state of Michigan. The city was founded in 1833 on the west bank of the Maumee River, and originally incorporated as part of Monroe County, Michigan Territory. It was re-founded in 1837, after conclusion of the Toledo War, when it was incorporated in Ohio.

University of Dayton university in Dayton, Ohio, USA

The University of Dayton (UD) is an American private Roman Catholic national research university in Ohio's sixth-largest city, Dayton. Founded in 1850 by the Society of Mary (Marianists), it is one of three Marianist universities in the nation and the second-largest private university in Ohio. The university's campus is in the city's southern portion and spans 388 acres on both sides of the Great Miami River. The campus is noted for the Immaculate Conception Chapel and the University of Dayton Arena. The University also operates in China's Suzhou Industrial Park, the University of Dayton China Institute.

Ben Keneally is an Australian Labor Party politician. He was the Mayor of Botany Bay from 2012–2016. He is the husband of former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.

By December 2009, Keneally had emerged as the preferred leadership candidate of the Labor Right faction, and defeated incumbent Premier Nathan Rees (who had been in office for just 15 months) in a party room ballot, winning by 47 votes to 21. [5] [6] [7] The Keneally Government went on to suffer a 16.5% swing statewide at the 2011 state election – the biggest swing in Australian political history. [8] She was replaced as leader of the Labor Party by John Robertson, who was elected unopposed, on 31 March 2011. [9] She resigned from Parliament in June 2012.

The Labor Right is a political faction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) at the national level that tends to be more socially conservative and economically liberal. The Labor Right is a broad alliance of various state centre-right-leaning factions.

In 2014, Keneally joined Sky News Live as a political commentator, later becoming co-host of To The Point . She took leave in November 2017 to stand as the Labor candidate for the Bennelong by-election, which she lost to previous member John Alexander. In February 2018 she was instead appointed to the Senate to fill a casual vacancy caused by Sam Dastyari's resignation. [10]

John Alexander (Australian politician) Australian tennis player and politician

John Gilbert Alexander is an Australian politician and former professional tennis player.

Sam Dastyari Australian politician and union official

Sam Dastyari is an Australian former politician, who from 2013 to 2018 represented New South Wales in the Australian Senate as a member of the Australian Labor Party. Dastyari was previously General Secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party. He was the first person of Iranian origin to sit in the Australian Parliament. As a Senator, Dastyari was the subject of a Chinese-related donations scandal, which eventually led to his resignation from the Senate on 25 January 2018.

Early life

Keneally was born Kristina Marie Kerscher in Las Vegas to an American father and an Australian mother (born in Brisbane). She lived briefly in Colorado but grew up in Toledo, Ohio, [11] where she attended high school at Notre Dame Academy. [12] While at Notre Dame she was twice awarded most valuable player (1985, 1986) in the Academy's soccer team. [13]

Las Vegas Valley Metropolitan area in Nevada

The Las Vegas Valley is a major metropolitan area in the southern part of the U.S. state of Nevada. The state's largest urban agglomeration, it is the heart of the Las Vegas–Paradise-Henderson, NV MSA. The Valley is largely defined by the Las Vegas Valley landform, a 600 sq mi (1,600 km2) basin area surrounded by mountains to the north, south, east and west of the metropolitan area. The Valley is home to the three largest incorporated cities in Nevada: Las Vegas, Henderson and North Las Vegas. Five unincorporated towns governed by the Clark County government are part of the Las Vegas Township and constitute the largest community in the state of Nevada.

Brisbane capital city of Queensland, Australia

Brisbane is the capital of and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of 2.5 million, and the South East Queensland region, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3.5 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the historic European settlement and is situated inside a peninsula of the Brisbane River, about 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River Valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range, sprawling across several of Australia's most populous local government areas (LGAs) — most centrally the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is "Brisbanite".

Colorado State of the United States of America

Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.

Upon graduating from Notre Dame, she undertook studies at the University of Dayton, also in Ohio. While there she became involved in student politics, [14] and was involved in founding the National Association of Students at Catholic Colleges and Universities, serving as president of the group in 1990 and 1991. [15] [16] She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in political science in 1991, [14] [17] [18] was a registered Democrat [19] and worked as an intern for the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio, Paul Leonard. [14] In 1995 she graduated with a Master of Arts in religious studies. She later studied at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Dayton she worked for a year as a volunteer teacher in New Mexico. [17] [18]

Democratic Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Democratic Party is a left-wing to far-left political party and one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. Tracing its heritage back to Thomas Jefferson and James Madison's Democratic-Republican Party, the modern-day Democratic Party was founded around 1828 by supporters of Andrew Jackson, making it the world's oldest active political party.

Paul R. Leonard is an American politician who is a member of the Ohio Democratic Party. He formerly served as the mayor of Dayton and Lieutenant Governor of Ohio.

A Master of Arts is a person who was admitted to a type of master's degree awarded by universities in many countries, and the degree is also named Master of Arts in colloquial speech. The degree is usually contrasted with the Master of Science. Those admitted to the degree typically study linguistics, history, communication studies, diplomacy, public administration, political science, or other subjects within the scope of the humanities and social sciences; however, different universities have different conventions and may also offer the degree for fields typically considered within the natural sciences and mathematics. The degree can be conferred in respect of completing courses and passing examinations, research, or a combination of the two.

For most of her life, she has identified as a staunch feminist. In 2009, she told The Daily Telegraph that when she heard her diocese's bishop was on a local talk show, she called to ask him why girls could not be altar servers. The bishop's "unsatisfactory answer," she said, awakened her to "how women are disadvantaged in the church and society." [20]

Keneally met her future husband, an Australian Labor Party politician, Ben Keneally, at World Youth Day 1991 in Poland. She moved to Australia in 1994 to be with him, but they returned to the US so Ben could take up a position with the Boston Consulting Group. They married there in 1996. [21] [22] They returned to Australia two years after their elder son was born. She became a naturalised Australian in 2000, the same year she joined the Labor Party. She renounced U.S. citizenship in 2002, prior to standing for election. [23] [24]

After arriving in Australia she worked for the New South Wales branch of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul as State Youth Coordinator before leaving full-time work to care for her children. [17] She also briefly attended the Australian Catholic University in Strathfield, New South Wales. [4] [25] [26]

State politics

Keneally was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly in 2003, following a bitter pre-election battle with Deirdre Grusovin, the sister of senior Labor politician Laurie Brereton. [27] It was in fact her husband Ben who was more interested in a political career, relying on his friendship with Joe Tripodi. However, the party's affirmative action rules required a female candidate, so Kristina ran instead. [21] Before the election, Labor insiders were concerned that her strong American English accent would not play well with voters. Although she reportedly took elocution lessons to sound more Australian, to this day she speaks with a marked American accent. [20]

In her maiden speech, she talked about her commitment to social justice, equal opportunity for women and her Roman Catholic faith. She also made light of an incident that happened during the 1999 state election. She was working in John Watkins' campaign office when she took a call from Premier Bob Carr's communications director, Walt Secord. Keneally later learned that Secord had demanded that Watkins’ campaign team "get that woman with an American accent off the telephones." She replied, "Well, I got off the phones that day, but today I have the floor." [19]

As NSW Minister for Disability Services, Keneally undertook measures to rebuild outdated institutional residential facilities for people with disability, going back on promises made by her (non-immediate) predecessor Faye Lo Po'. [28]

As NSW Planning Minister from August 2008, Mrs Keneally's department oversaw the local traffic diversions, and strict environmental management during construction, around the desalination pipeline works between Erskineville and Kurnell, approved by the department under the desalination pipeline project approval, granted by Frank Sartor, in November 2007. [29]

In August 2009, Keneally was alleged to be one of the names being put forward in a challenge to wrest the leadership from NSW Premier Nathan Rees. [30] Keneally responded to the accusations by stating: "He (Nathan Rees) has my support (as Premier)" and it was reported that she insisted she would never be Premier of New South Wales, something that was continuously disputed in the media. [31]

In November 2009 Keneally again denied she wanted to be Premier, saying "I have always supported the Premier, Bob Carr, Morris Iemma and now Nathan Rees. Now is the time to put this ridiculous leadership speculation behind us." [32]

Premier

Challenges for leadership

Less than a month later, however, the dominant Right faction withdrew support from Rees. On 3 December, Keneally narrowly defeated Sartor by two votes to become the Right's candidate in a leadership spill against Rees. Later that day, she defeated Rees in a party room ballot with a majority of 45–21. [33] Prior to the vote, Rees declared "Should I not be Premier at the end of this day, let there be no doubt in the community's mind that any challenger would be a puppet of Eddie Obeid and Joe Tripodi ", [34] a claim later rejected by Keneally, who stated "I am nobody's puppet, I am nobody's protege, I am nobody's girl." [35]

On 4 December 2009 Keneally was sworn in as the 42nd (and first female) premier of New South Wales by the State Governor, Marie Bashir. [36] For the first time in Australian history, both the Premier and Deputy Premier of a state were women.

During her time as Premier Keneally was a supporter of the development of the Barangaroo headlands. In order to ensure the project was completed without delay, Keneally transferred various local government planning powers to the state government, [37] created a new portfolio relating to the major development Barangaroo for which she took responsibility, [37] and oversaw the project whilst Premier. Despite her dedication to the project she was criticised for a perceived conflict of interest in the development of Barangaroo worth over one million dollars and linked to installation of electric car infrastructure associated with the development [38] [39] and additionally for giving exemption to Barangaroo from environmental planning laws. [37] In the eve of her time as premier, during investigations into corrupt dealings by former minister Ian Macdonald, Keneally refused to release a report made about him relating to misuse of taxpayer funds, though she was compelled to release the report to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC). [40]

Party renewal

Keneally pushed to renew the Labor Party, with 23 members of the 50 caucus members retiring. [41] Her push also included the resignation of the NSW Labor President, Bernie Riordan [42] and retirements of Labor powerbrokers, Joe Tripodi [43] and Eddie Obeid. [44]

Electricity privatisation

On 14 December 2010 her government sold the first tranche of the partial privatisation of the state's electricity assets for $5.3 billion. [45] Eight of the directors quit in protest over the sale of trading rights to the output of generators. [46] After criticism of the privatisation, her Government abandoned the second stage of its electricity privatisation plan, as no companies bid. [47]

On 22 December 2010 NSW Governor Marie Bashir prorogued Parliament on Keneally's request. This act normally takes place later than December prior to elections. [48] There were accusations that Keneally tried to halt the electricity inquiry, which later proceeded. [49]

In October 2011, the inquiry which the O'Farrell government set up reported to the NSW Liberal/National Government that the partial sale was "reasonable and appropriate". [50]

Popularity

When she became Premier, she was highly popular and was the most popular political leader at one stage, as the Galaxy poll showed in March 2010, her personal satisfaction was 53 per cent. [51] However, her own personal popularity did not transfer to her party, which had been well behind the Coalition in opinion polling since 2008.

Her popularity began to decline in August 2010, with her approval rating falling to 39 per cent. [52] In October 2010, Newspoll reported that the Keneally government only had 23 per cent of the primary vote—the worst showing on record for a Labor government at the state level in Australia. The only lower result Newspoll had recorded at the time was in 1989, when the Queensland Nationals polled at 22 percent. This was a dramatic turnabout from the 2007 election; Labor would have been decimated had this figure been repeated at an election. [53]

In May 2010, junior minister Karyn Paluzzano was forced out of politics for using public money for her 2007 reelection campaign and lying about it. Keneally moved to have Paluzzano suspended from the Labor Party, and Paluzzano resigned soon afterward. [54] It was not enough to prevent Paluzzano's once-safe seat of Penrith from being resoundingly lost to the Liberals at the ensuinng by-election. Labor suffered a swing of over 26 percent—the largest swing against a sitting government in New South Wales history. [55]

Election defeat

Keneally led Labor into the 2011 state election. She was hoping to lead Labor to a fifth term in government, and also to become the second woman elected as a state premier in her own right, after Anna Bligh in Queensland.

However, Keneally was a heavy underdog for most of the campaign. At one point, Labor trailed the Barry O'Farrell-led Coalition by 26 points on the two-party vote [56] and Keneally trailed O'Farrell by 16 points as preferred premier. [57] Despite Keneally's efforts to rehabilitate Labor's image, opinion polls and commentators had almost universally written Labor off by the time the writs were dropped. An election-eve poll showed Labor's support at a record low of 23 percent. [58] The ABC's Antony Green estimated that Labor faced being cut down to as few as 13 seats. As a measure of how far Labor's fortunes had fallen, the party was in danger of losing seats it had held for over a century, and there were fears Labor would not be able to hold onto enough seats to form a credible shadow cabinet. [59]

In the 26 March election, the Labor government was heavily defeated, suffering a swing of over 16 per cent—the largest in a general election at any level in Australia since World War II. In the process, Labor lost many seats in its former western Sydney heartland, two of which fell to the Liberals on swings of 20 percent. [60] Ultimately, Labor was cut down to 20 seats (down from 48 at dissolution), its worst showing in over a century and one of the worst defeats a sitting state government in Australia has ever suffered. Many of the survivors saw their majorities more than halved. Keneally, for instance, went into the election sitting on a comfortably safe majority of 23.7 percent in her own seat of Heffron. However, she suffered a swing of over 16 percent, reducing her majority to 7.1 percent. She was the first Labor candidate since Heffron's creation to not garner enough primary votes to win without the need for preferences.

With Labor's defeat beyond doubt, Keneally resigned as premier and state Labor leader on election night and announced she would return to the backbench. Accepting responsibility for the worst defeat of a sitting government in NSW's history, Keneally said, "The truth is the people of NSW, who entrusted us with government for 16 years, did not leave us. We left them." [61] On 11 June 2011, Keneally was granted by the Governor retention of the title "The Honourable". [62] On 23 June 2012, Keneally announced her resignation from the New South Wales Parliament. [63]

Labor government and ICAC

After the defeat of the Labor government, a series of investigations at the Independent Commission Against Corruption, found that Keneally ministers Obeid, Tripodi, and McDonald had acted in a corrupt manner. [64] [65] [66] Counsel assisting the inquiry, Geoffrey Watson SC , said in 2012 of investigations into the actions taken by the men in 2010 that these inquiries were the most important investigation ever undertaken by the ICAC and that there was corruption on a scale probably unexceeded since the days of the Rum Corps. [67]

Keneally appeared as a witness at the ICAC in March 2014 concerning investigations of her former colleagues. She said that she had had concerns about Obeid, Tripodi and Tony Kelly's lobbying and that their efforts had not influenced her. Asked if Obeid had "put her in her job" as premier, Keneally replied: "No, caucus did". [68]

Basketball Australia

Keneally resigned from Parliament on 29 June 2012, to commence work as the Chief Executive of Basketball Australia. [69] She was previously the Chair of the Basketball Australia board. [70] Keneally left Basketball Australia in April 2014 to spend more time with her family. [71] Keneally is also a director of Souths Cares, the nominated charity of the South Sydney Rabbitohs. [72]

Political commentator and television host

In July 2014, Keneally joined Sky News Australia and began co-hosting panel program The Contrarians every Friday afternoon with Ross Cameron, before the pair were given their own self-titled program Keneally and Cameron . [73] This program was axed in April 2015. Keneally joined Peter van Onselen as co-host of Sky News daytime program To The Point on 1 June 2015 which airs during PVO NewsDay . [74] Keneally was also a regular presenter of primetime programs The Cabinet [75] and Credlin & Keneally . [76] Upon announcing her intention to stand for Federal parliament, she took leave from Sky News on the same day as her announcement on 14 November 2017. [77]

Keneally has contributed to The Guardian Australia since December 2014 on a range of politico-social issues such as religion in politics, same sex marriage and asylum seeking. [78]

Federal politics

Bennelong by-election, 2017

In November 2017, Keneally was preselected by federal Labor as their candidate for the Bennelong by-election on 16 December. [79] Despite picking up a five percent two-party swing, she lost to the previous incumbent and Liberal candidate John Alexander. [80]

Australian Senate, 2018–present

On 30 January 2018, the Labor Party announced that Keneally would fill the vacant New South Wales seat in the Senate left by the previous Senator, Sam Dastyari, who formally resigned earlier that month after an ongoing Chinese-related donations scandal. [81] Keneally was formally appointed to the vacancy on 14 February 2018 and was sworn in as a Senator the following day. [82] [83]

In June 2018, Keneally stated her opposition to mandatory reporting for Catholic priests who are informed of child sexual abuse in confession; she believes it is not the most effective way to prevent abuse. [84] Keneally also attended the Rambam Israel Fellowship Program in Israel, sponsored by the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council. The lobby group funded "transport, accommodation, meals and other associated costs". [85]

Personal life

Keneally is married to former Mayor of Botany Bay, Ben Keneally; together they have two sons. A daughter died at birth. [86] Her husband is the nephew of Australian writer Thomas Keneally. [22] Keneally is the patron of the Stillbirth Foundation Australia. [87]

Keneally and her family previously lived in Pagewood, within the electorate of Heffron which she represented in state parliament. In 2016, Keneally and her husband sold their home and moved across Sydney to a rented home in the affluent suburb of Hunters Hill. Together they own a $1.8 million holiday home on the isolated Scotland Island on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and a townhouse in Wollstonecraft purchased for $1.3 million in 2016. [88]

Publications

See also

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Matthew James Thistlethwaite is an Australian politician. He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives since 2013, representing the electorate of Kingsford Smith. He was formerly a member of the Australian Senate from 2011 to 2013. Thistlethwaite served as Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs and Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs in the Gillard government from March to July 2013, and as Parliamentary Secretary for Infrastructure and Transport in the Rudd government from July to September 2013. Before entering electoral politics, he was the general secretary of the New South Wales branch of the Australian Labor Party.

The Rees ministry is the 91st ministry of the Government of New South Wales, and was led by the 41st Premier Nathan Rees.

The Keneally ministry is the 92nd ministry of the Government of New South Wales, and was led by the 42nd Premier Kristina Keneally.

References

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Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Deirdre Grusovin
Member for Heffron
2003–2012
Succeeded by
Ron Hoenig
Political offices
Preceded by
John Della Bosca
Minister for Ageing
2007–2008
Succeeded by
Paul Lynch
Minister for Disability Services
2007–2008
Preceded by
Frank Sartor
Minister for Redfern-Waterloo
2008–2011
Ministry abolished
Minister for Planning
2008–2009
Succeeded by
Tony Kelly
Preceded by
Joe Tripodi
Minister for Infrastructure
2009
Preceded by
Nathan Rees
Premier of New South Wales
2009–2011
Succeeded by
Barry O'Farrell
Party political offices
Preceded by
Nathan Rees
Leader of the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch)
2009–2011
Succeeded by
John Robertson
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Sam Dastyari
Senator for New South Wales
2018–present
Incumbent