John Mickel

Interviewed by
Roger Scott & Chris Salisbury
Nov 17 2011
John Mickel
Time Summary Keywords

John Mickel discusses his childhood and educational background. He was born in Murgon but grew up in Ipswich and Brisbane. He attended a number of Catholic schools. He discusses the lack of funding for the Catholic education system. He completed a BA at the University of Queensland while undertaking teacher training at the Mt Gravatt Teachers' College. He continued his studies at the University of Queensland and completed a Masters degree in politics.

Catholic schools, University of Queensland

John Mickel states that his interest in politics was sparked during his time at the University of Queensland. He highlights the importance of the Vietnam War and the Whitlam government's decision to provide State support for Catholic schools in shaping his political views. He discusses his commitment to Catholic social justice. 

Catholic schools, Joh Bjelke-Petersen, student unionism, Whitlam Government 1972-75

John Mickel reflects on the difficulties of being a Labor supporter while working in the State education system during the Bjelke-Petersen era. He describes his transfer to a school in Inala and the lack of resources provided by the State government to schools in Labor electorates. He discusses his work for the Teachers' Union and states he joined the ALP in 1978.

Bill Hayden, Kevin Hooper, school teacher, Teachers Union

John Mickel describes his transition from teaching to become a researcher for federal MP David Beddall, in Inala. He highlights the diversity of the Federal seats of Rankin and Hinkler. He discusses his attempt to enter State parliament and going to work for Wayne Goss as a political advisor.

Bob Hawke, ministerial advisers, Wayne Goss

John Mickel states that from 1990-91 he worked for the Minister for Administrative Services, Ron McLean (1989-92). He discusses working with McLean to redress social disadvantage. 

Goss Government 1989-96, Ron McLean

John Mickel states that from 1991-95 he worked for Premier Goss as a senior policy advisor. He describes his role and discusses working with the public service.

Kevin Rudd, ministerial advisers

John Mickel discusses the relationship between the Goss Government and the public service. He highlights the different public service expectations of the Bjelke-Petersen and Goss governments. He discusses the role of the Office of Cabinet.

Bjelke-Petersen Government 1968-87, Cabinet Office, Goss Government 1989-96, relationship with public service

John Mickel reflects on the fall of the Goss Government. He cites the 1995 leaders debate as a factor in the 1995 election result.

1995 election, Goss Government 1989-96, Mundingburra by-election 1996

John Mickel states that following the election loss he went overseas. After he returned he lectured at QUT but was asked by several Labor politicians, including Peter Beattie, to return to politics. He was working as an advisor when he was selected to run for the State seat of Logan.

Carruthers Inquiry, Peter Beattie, Wayne Goss

John Mickel discusses his preselection and ALP factions. He also discusses internal factional politics. He describes the 1998 election and the popularity of Pauline Hanson in the Logan electorate.

factions, Mike Kaiser, Pauline Hanson

John Mickel describes becoming a new parliamentarian and challenges of replacing Goss as the local member in Logan. He connects the importance of being a strong local member with combating support for Pauline Hanson in the electorate.

induction, Pauline Hanson, Wayne Goss

John Mickel discusses his roles and goals for his first term in parliament. He was chair of the Ethics Committee, Deputy Speaker and Chair of the Food Committee. He decribes how he immersed himself in the variety of roles in order to represent Queenslanders.

Jim Elder

John Mickel describes his appointment to the Beattie ministry after six years on the backbench. He describes his surprise at being appointed Minister for Environment in 2004.


John Mickel discusses his relationship with both Wayne Goss and Peter Beattie.

Peter Beattie, Wayne Goss

John Mickel discusses his time as Minister for Environment. He describes his focus on water conservation and the changing attitudes to water tanks. He describes his reliance on the department to provide sound advice. 

Bob Brown, Environment, water infrastructure, water policy

John Mickel discusses his transition from Minister for Environment to Minister for Energy and refers to a report in August 2004 that Premier Beattie had overruled him on energy issues.

Darryl Somerville, media

John Mickel describes Anna Bligh's rise to become Deputy Premier. He discusses his own political career and his appointment to Indigenous Affairs. He discusses his relationship with Indigenous community leaders and refers to the Government Champions program.

Anna Bligh, Indigenous Affairs, media, Murrandoo Yanner, Sam Watson

John Mickel describes the fallout from Beattie's labeling of him as a 'Mr Fixit'. He discusses the problems with electricity supply during his time as minister and the need to improve public information to inform people about electricity supply.

electricity, media, Peter Beattie

John Mickel describes his shift to Minister for State Development in 2006. He discusses the Smart State agenda, the response to this initiative internationally and the level of cynicism displayed by the media and the public towards the concept.

Queensland Brain Institute, Smart State, State Development Department

John Mickel discusses the process of selling the Smart State concept. He reflects on inter-departmental cooperation.

Education Department, Smart State, State Development Department

John Mickel discusses the transition from the Beattie to the Bligh government and the shift from Smart State to Towards Q2. He highlights the various roles he had during the Bligh years, he became Minister for Transport, Trade & Industrial Relations. Later this was changed to State Development and Industrial Relations.

Bligh Government 2007-12, Q2, Speaker

John Mickel reflects on the changes to the role of Speaker introduced by the Bligh Government. He expresses his disapproval of transferring the responsibility for the administration of parliament to the Executive.

Anna Bligh, Bligh Government 2007-12, parliamentary reform, Speaker

John Mickel describes the changes to the Committee System. He states that they allows members to develop greater knowledge of policy. He argues that the parliament should increase its numbers to reflect population growth and further enhance its effectiveness. He states that the changes to the role of the Speaker were the only negative part of the changes.

Bligh Government 2007-12, committee system, parliamentary reform, Speaker

John Mickel pinpoints the privatisation of the retail arm of Energex as his best decision. He also discusses the sale of the airports as another positive move.

airports, electricity, energy production, privatisation, Queensland Rail

Interview ends.