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Paul Keating

Keating, Paul, 1944–, Australian politician. A trade-union official and member of the Labor party, he was first elected to parliament in 1969. As federal treasurer (treasury minister) from 1983 to 1991 and deputy prime minister under Prime Minister Bob Hawke from 1990 to 1991, he advocated free-market economic policies designed to spur growth. In mid-1991 Keating challenged Hawke for party leadership; he lost and resigned his posts. A continuing recession eroded support for Hawke, however, and Keating replaced him at the end of 1991. In 1993 he led Labor to another electoral victory.

As prime minister, Keating moved to deregulate the financial markets and privatize government businesses, including the national airline. He emphasized Australia's ties with Asia and the importance of competing in a global economy. Keating also advocated Australia's withdrawal from even nominal British rule and its adoption of a purely republican mode of government. Although he initiated a number of successful free-market reforms, ongoing economic problems undid his administration. In the elections of 1996 Labor was defeated by a Liberal-National coalition led by John Howard. Keating stepped down as Labor party leader and then resigned his seat in parliament, ending a 27-year career in politics.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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