|00:00:00||Rob Whiddon discusses his interest in politics and how he became involved in the Labor Party. He discusses his appointment to work for Senator Jim Cavanagh who was a Minister in the Whitlam Government. He then joined the party in the wake of the Whitlam dismissal.||Gough Whitlam|
|00:06:52||Rob Whiddon discusses the Labor Party in South Australia.||unions|
|00:08:17||Rob Whiddon discusses his move to Queensland after the election of the Fraser Government. In January 1976 he took up a position with Senator Mal Colston in Queensland.||media|
|00:11:36||Rob Whiddon discusses his involvement with social movements during the Bjelke-Petersen era.||George Georges|
|00:13:39||Rob Whiddon discusses his shift from working in Senator Mal Colston's office to work for Senator George Georges. He outlines how his involvement in the Labor Party reform group led to his dismissal by Senator Colston. He discusses the internal tension in the Queensland branch of the Labor Party before intervention.||George Georges, Manfred Cross|
|00:18:04||Rob Whiddon describes the Queensland Labor Party's lack of support for the social movements of the time. He notes the internal conflict in the Queensland branch and notes the attempts by some in the party to build coalitions with other left groups, including Christian groups.||George Georges, Raymond Whitrod, religion|
|00:20:36||Rob Whiddon describes Ian McLean, Manfred Cross and George Georges as important Labor Party organisers and participants in the social movements of the time.||George Georges, Ian McLean, Manfred Cross|
|00:21:56||Rob Whiddon discusses the electoral insignificance of the Queensland Labor Party in this era.|
|00:22:21||Rob Whiddon details his own involvement in the Labor Party.||Harry Hauenschild, Terry Hampson|
|00:23:16||Rob Whiddon describes the importance of the street march campaign and the media in undermining the Bjelke-Petersen Government.||Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, media, Mike Ahern, Police|
|00:27:16||Rob Whiddon discusses his desire for the reform of the Queensland Labor Party. He discusses the dominance of the Trades Hall group and lack of diversity in the party's parliamentary wing.||Neville Warburton, Peter Beattie, unions, Whitlam Government 1972-75|
|00:29:48||Rob Whiddon discusses the changing membership of the Labor Party after the Whitlam years. He states that some members became more involved with the rise of the reform group.||Australian Democrats, Greens Party, Jack Egerton|
|00:32:17||Rob Whiddon recalls the rise of the reform group and his personal view that Queensland and the Labor Party in Queensland needed to be reformed.||Manfred Cross, Peter Beattie, Whitlam Government 1972-75|
|00:35:22||Rob Whiddon highlights his role in the reform group. He discusses the divisions in the reform group.||Denis Murphy, George Georges, Madeline McPherson, Peter Beattie|
|00:38:06||Rob Whiddon discusses the process of reforming the Queensland branch. He describes the importance of federal involvement in enacting reform.||Paul Keating|
|00:40:36||Rob Whiddon discusses the key individuals involved in the reform movement. He notes the importance of the unions in pursuing reform.||Barbara Cross, Denis Murphy, George Georges, Ian McLean, Madeline McPherson, Manfred Cross, Peter Beattie, Terry Hampson, unions|
|00:42:46||Rob Whiddon describes the key goals of the reform group. He emphasises the importance of renewing and broadening the parliamentary team and achieving government.||Anne Warner, Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, David Hamill, Denis Murphy, Wayne Goss|
|00:44:56||Rob Whiddon recalls divisions within the reform group. He states that differences of opinion emerged over tactics. He notes the vicious nature of the internal dispute.||Bill Hayden, Denis Murphy, factions, Peter Beattie|
|00:48:06||Rob Whiddon discusses Bill Hayden's lack of active involvement in the reform group. He reflects on the build up to intervention and debates the merit of federal interference.||Bill Hayden, Denis Murphy, Manfred Cross|
|00:50:44||Rob Whiddon discusses the key events in the lead up to intervention. He highlights the attempts to expel a number of reform group members. He also notes the role of Ed Casey as the leader of the parliamentary wing in Queensland.||David Hamill, Ed Casey, Manfred Cross, Neville Wran, Peter Beattie|
|00:54:20||Rob Whiddon discusses the first wave of federal reform in 1978. He goes on to discuss the 1979 Rockhampton conference.|
|00:58:02||Rob Whiddon recalls the actions taken by the Queensland Central Executive against key activists of the reform group.||George Georges, Joe Harris|
|00:59:14||Rob Whiddon comments on the emergence of the Centre Caucus in the 1970s and the emergence of the factional system.||factions, George Georges, Peter Beattie|
|01:03:27||Rob Whiddon discusses the possibility that the Queensland branch of the Labor Party might split.|
|01:04:21||Rob Whiddon discusses the factors that contributed to the push for reform. He relates the importance of electoral factors in guaranteeing federal support for intervention.||media|
|01:06:48||Rob Whiddon describes the emergence of the Centre Caucus faction. He notes the differences between various factions.||factions, George Georges, Joy Ardill, Peter Beattie, Wilf Ardill|
|01:10:49||Rob Whiddon reflects on what he would do differently if he could live the intervention period over. He discusses the long term impact of the emergence of factions.||factions|
|01:12:48||Rob Whiddon discusses the long term impacts of federal intervention.|
|01:16:37||Rob Whiddon discusses the period between the 1980 intervention and achieving electoral success in 1989. He highlights the importance of leadership in obtaining government.||Gough Whitlam, Kevin Rudd, leadership, Wayne Goss|
|01:19:15||Rob Whiddon discusses the reaffiliation of the AWU and role the union plays in the party and governments.||Peter Beattie, unions|
|01:21:30||Rob Whiddon reflects on the outcomes of the reform movement and intervention. He discusses returning to government, the broadening of the party, the emergence of the factional system as well as the formation of friendships.||affirmative action, factions|
|01:25:07||Rob Whiddon discusses the lessons of intervention.||Neville Wran|
|01:27:19||Rob Whiddon discusses the identity of Mickey Spillall.||Peter Beattie|
|01:28:56||Rob Whiddon discusses the origins of Smart State, the concept and term. He discusses the role of Peter Beattie, John Mattick and his own role.||biosciences, biotechnology, Gough Whitlam, Peter Beattie, Premier's Department, Smart State, universities|
|01:33:50||Rob Whiddon describes the role of Smart State in overturning Queensland's reputation. He describes Queensland as the Athens of the North and the resentment from other states. He discusses the international recognition of Queensland as the Smart State.||Peter Beattie, Smart State|
|01:36:40||Rob Whiddon discusses the attitude towards Smart State within the government and public service.||Beattie Government 1998-2007, Smart State|
|01:37:41||Rob Whiddon describes Treasury's response to Smart State. He discusses the Bligh Government's reorientation of priorities.||Bligh Government 2007-12, Smart State, Treasury|
Ministerial staffer Rob Whiddon has held a series of senior appointments with key Labor figures, including Chief of Staff for the Beattie Governments from 1998 to 2007.
Rob Whiddon was born on 19 February 1950 in Brisbane. Whiddon developed a strong interest in politics and at the time of the Whitlam Government, sought employment on the staff of Labor Party federal members of parliament. His first position was on the staff of South Australian Labor Party Senator Jim Cavanagh who was Minister for Works in Whitlam’s cabinet. After some years, Whiddon was keen to work in Queensland and a vacancy appeared on the staff of Labor Party Senator Mal Colston, to which Whiddon was appointed.
Whiddon became active in the Labor Party reform movement and moved to work for Senator George Georges in his Brisbane office. Senator Georges’ office provided the effective support needed to keep the Senator and his constituency up to date on matters affecting the Queensland community such as: civil liberties; uranium mining and the Campaign Against Nuclear Power; street march activities; and, the emerging gay rights movement. During the late 1970s and early 1980s – the intervention period in the Labor Party – Whiddon was a leading activist in the reform movement and a foundation member of the Centre Caucus faction of the ALP.
Whiddon worked as Assistant Private Secretary and then Private Secretary for the Honourable Bill Hayden during his time at Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. When the Goss Government took office in Queensland in 1989, Whiddon worked as senior Ministerial Policy Advisor to David Hamill, Minister for Transport and Minister assisting the Premier on Economic and Trade development and later as Minister for Education.
In 1998, when Beattie first became Premier of Queensland, Whiddon was appointed as his Chief of Staff, a position he held for the entire ten years of the Beattie premiership period. Since this time Whiddon has served as director on a number of boards.
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