|00:00:00||Mike Ahern discusses his early experience as one of the younger members of parliament. He explains how he became a member at 25 and the impact that his age had on colleagues.||Francis Nicklin, Joe Baker|
|00:03:51||Mike Ahern speaks on cross party friendships and explains how not all members of parliament shared his view that these relationships were beneficial.||Jack Pizzey, Joh Bjelke-Petersen|
|00:05:33||Mike Ahern comments on the professional impact his university education had on his colleagues.||James Cook University, Neville Hewitt, women|
|00:08:09||Mike Ahern discusses the role of committees in parliamentary accountability. He talks specifically about the select committee on crimes of violence, committee on privileges, select committee on education and the role of technology in advancing the delivery of distance education.||Bill Hewitt, Bill Knox, capital punishment, Education Committee, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, MACOS, Rona Joyner, SEMP, Sex education, STOP and CARE|
|00:14:06||Mike Ahern speaks on the impact of the select committee on education and about the Darling Downs Institute of Advanced Education.||Caroline Barker, Lindsay Barker, Lionel Powell|
|00:16:32||Mike Ahern comments on the unicameral system in Queensland and the Westminster parliamentary system.||accountability, unicameral parliament, Westminster system|
|00:20:16||Mike Ahern reflects on the length of time it took for him to become a minister. He discusses his time as Minister for Primary Industries and how he was appointed Minister for Technology.||Don Young, Fisheries, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, leadership, technology parks|
|00:26:00||Mike Ahern outlines the development of the technology portfolio, specifically the establishment of technology parks. He also comments on the budgetary process of getting funding for projects.||budget process, international relations, Leo Hielscher, QCAT, QIMR, technology parks, tobacco tax, Treasury|
|00:30:54||Mike Ahern speaks on the introduction of the tobacco tax.||random breath testing, tobacco tax|
|00:32:39||Mike Ahern comments on the Joh for Canberra campaign, and in particular the impacts this had on the Queensland National Party.||Bill Gunn, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Joh for Canberra, Robert Sparkes, World's Tallest Building|
|00:36:40||Mike Ahern reflects on the impact of World Expo '88 on Queensland.||Expo 88, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, stamp duties|
|00:38:08||Mike Ahern discusses the affects of the Fitzgerald Inquiry on his term as premier and his famous promise to implement the recommendations from the inquiry 'lock, stock and barrel'. He speaks about his professional life after politics.||Criminal Justice Commission, drug trafficking, Fitzgerald Inquiry, Goss Government 1989-96, media, Peter Beattie, Trade Commissioner|
|00:45:44||Mike Ahern speaks about the Westminster system and on the electoral zoning system.||Canada, Westminster system|
|00:55:19||Mike Ahern discusses the impact of technology on the Lands Department.||Brian Austin, exports, Land Titles Office, Lands, technology|
|00:57:54||Mike Ahern discusses the Savage Report and comments on the politicisation of the public service.||frank and fearless advice, Joan Kirner, public sector reform|
|01:01:04||Mike Ahern considers succession planning and reflects on the recruitment strategies needed to get good people into politics and the public service.||merit based selection, public sector reform|
|01:03:07||Mike Ahern discusses the impacts of his political career on his children.||Kaye Paterson, Peter Costello, superannuation legislation|
|01:05:04||Mike Ahern comments on the issue of daylight saving in Queensland and the lead up to the contestation of his leadership of the National Party.||daylight saving, Fitzgerald Inquiry|
|01:07:02||Mike Ahern speaks about the anniversary of the Fitzgerald Inquiry and the need for further reforms.||Fitzgerald Inquiry, Gordon Nuttall|
|01:08:55||Mike Ahern comments on the One Nation Party and the use of minority parities as a wake up call for the major parties.||Bob Katter, One Nation, Pauline Hanson|
|01:11:20||Mike Ahern speaks about the Queensland Community Foundation.||board management, Doug McTaggart, Public Trustee, Queensland Investment Corporation|
|01:14:42||Mike Ahern discusses regrets from his time in politics.|
|01:17:22||Mike Ahern discusses the fisheries industry and the move towards sound resource management. He comments on state spending on hospitals and about financial waste in the hospital system.||Fisheries, hospitals, medical research|
|01:22:45||Mike Ahern comments on the roles and responsibilities of ministers, past and present. He discusses the press and Margaret Thatcher.||Expo 88, Leo Hielscher, media, Queensland Investment Corporation|
|01:27:24||Mike Ahern discusses some of the people he has met during his career.||Andrew Peacock, Bob Hawke, Malcolm Fraser, Paul Keating|
|01:29:00||Mike Ahern speaks on the various state development strategies in Queensland.||coal, mining, Peter Beattie, Quality Queensland, Smart State, state development|
In 1987 Mike Ahern successfully challenged Joh Bjelke-Petersen to become National Party leader and Premier of Queensland, ending Bjelke-Petersen’s 19-year rule as Premier. In Ahern’s nearly two years as leader of the government, he initiated some of the recommendations of the Fitzgerald Inquiry into official corruption.
Mike Ahern was born in Maleny in 1942 and educated at Downlands College in Toowoomba before completing a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree at the University of Queensland. He was born into a politically active family, his father having served as state president of the Country Party and campaign manager for Premier Francis Nicklin. Ahern moved from the youth wing of the Country Party into state parliament when he won the by-election for Nicklin’s seat of Landsborough in 1968, in so doing becoming among the first university graduates to represent the party in the state’s legislature (former Premier and Queensland Country Party member Jack Pizzey had studied for a Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Queensland during World War II). For the next twelve years Ahern remained on the government backbench, although serving as Party Whip for eight of those years and chairing the Parliamentary Select Committee on Education in the late 1970s. In 1980 he was promoted to the Cabinet, becoming Minister for Primary Industries for a three-year period. He was subsequently appointed Minister for Industry, Small Business and Technology – heading the government’s newly-created Department of Technology – and in 1986 was made Minister for Health and the Environment.
Following revelations from the Fitzgerald Inquiry into corruption, in November 1987 Ahern challenged and deposed Bjelke-Petersen, thereby becoming Premier as well as Treasurer and Minister for the Arts and later State Development. Leading the state through a turbulent political time, he saw Brisbane host the Expo ‘88 festival. While Premier, he famously pledged to implement the Fitzgerald Inquiry’s recommendations ‘lock, stock and barrel’; he began the process of delivering on this promise but was unable to fulfil it when he was ousted from the National Party leadership by one of his ministers, Russell Cooper, in September 1989. After the government was defeated at the state election less than three months later, Ahern resigned from his seat in parliament in early 1990.
After retiring from politics he embarked on a business career and later acted as a special trade representative for the Beattie Government. He serves on the boards of several companies and charitable foundations. He was admitted as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2005.
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