Philip Ruddock: Wikis


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The Honourable
 Philip Ruddock 

In office
7 October 2003 – 3 December 2007
Preceded by Daryl Williams
Succeeded by Robert McClelland

In office
11 March 1996 – 7 October 2003
Preceded by Nick Bolkus
Succeeded by Amanda Vanstone

Assumed office 
13 March 1993
Preceded by Harry Edwards

Born 12 March 1943 (1943-03-12) (age 66)
Canberra, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia

Philip Maxwell Ruddock (born 12 March 1943) is an Australian politician who is currently a member of the House of Representatives representing the Division of Berowra, New South Wales, for the Liberal Party of Australia. First elected in a 1973 by-election, he is the only Member of Parliament from the period of the Whitlam government (1972-75) still serving. He has been the Father of the House of Representatives since 1998. He is currently the third longest-serving Member of the House of Representatives, and the fifth longest-serving parliamentarian, in the history of the Australian Parliament. During the Howard Government (1996–2007), Ruddock served continuously in the Coalition Ministry, taking on various portfolios, most notably those of Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs from 1996 until 2003, and Attorney-General from 2003 until 2007.



Ruddock was born in Canberra and was the son of Max Ruddock, a Liberal member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly between 1962 and 1976. He was educated at Barker College in the Sydney suburb of Hornsby before entering University of Sydney, after which he practised as a solicitor. He was articled to the firm Berne, Murray and Tout and was promoted to partner.

On 22 September 1973, Ruddock was elected to the House of Representatives at a by-election for the seat of Parramatta. He shifted to the seat of Dundas in 1977 and to Berowra in 1993. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he was an active member of the parliamentary group of Amnesty International.

Ruddock was a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry from 1983 to 1985 and from 1989 to 1996.

In August 1988, while Ruddock was still a backbencher, the then Leader of the Opposition, John Howard, commented that he believed the rate of Asian immigration was too high. The Hawke Labor government sought to embarrass Howard and introduced a bill to Parliament to ensure that immigration did not discriminate on the basis of race. Ruddock along with fellow Liberals Steele Hall and Ian Macphee crossed the floor to support the Labor motion.[1][2] In 1989, following Andrew Peacock's ascension to the leadership, Ruddock became Shadow Minister for Immigration and proposed a settlement scheme for Australia's far north.[3]


Following the Coalition's rise to government at the 1996 election, Ruddock was appointed to the Cabinet as Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. In this role, he presided over the Howard government's policies on asylum seekers. Many Australians feel that Ruddock's policies became significantly more conservative during this period of time, and that earlier political viewpoints had been abandoned, in an attempt to maintain favour with the then-Prime Minister, John Howard. During his time in office, the previous Keating Labor Government's practice of mandatory detention of asylum seekers was continued and extended. In 2001, Ruddock was also appointed to the role of Minister for Indigenous Affairs. By 2001 he had become a high-profile figure enjoying considerable support within the Liberal Party, while being strongly opposed by left-wing activists and some human rights advocates. At one point he was one of the few senior ministers (besides the prime minister) to have needed personal security details.[citation needed]

Areas in Ruddock's portfolio and some of his decisions were highly controversial in Australian politics, and led to Amnesty International's public attempt to distance the organisation from him by asking him to remove his lapel badge.[4] In 2003, Ruddock was accused by the Labor immigration spokesperson, Julia Gillard, of personally intervening to give a Filipino with a criminal record, Dante Tan, favourable treatment in exchange for donations to the Liberal Party. Ruddock acknowledged his role in representing a constituent but strongly denied any linkage between his actions and any financial support for the Liberal Party.[citation needed] In 2003, Ruddock became Attorney-General in a cabinet reshuffle.

Ruddock's views are said to have caused some conflict with his daughter, Kirsty Ruddock, who gave an interview to ABC Radio in September 2002, stating her disagreement with some of the stances her father had taken in government and citing it as a factor informing her decision to travel overseas.

In Opposition

Following the Howard government's defeat at the November 2007 election, Ruddock did not seek a shadow cabinet role. He returned to the frontbench as Shadow Cabinet Secretary after Tony Abbott captured the Opposition leadership in December 2009.


  1. ^ "IMMIGRATION POLICY: Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders". Parliament Hansard. 25 August 1988. Retrieved 3 August 2007. 
  2. ^ "Howard turns dissent into democracy". The Age. 21 June 2005. Retrieved 3 August 2007. 
  3. ^ Ward, Ian (August 1990). "Australian Political Chronicle: July-December 1989". Australian Journal of Politics and History 36 (2): 235. ISSN 0004-9522. 
  4. ^ "Ruddock stripped of Amnesty International badge". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 18 March 2000. Retrieved 2007-05-26. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Nick Bolkus
Minister for Immigration and Multicultural
and Indigenous Affairs

Succeeded by
Amanda Vanstone
Preceded by
Daryl Williams
Attorney-General of Australia
Succeeded by
Robert McClelland
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Ian Sinclair
Father of the House of Representatives
Preceded by
Nigel Bowen
Member for Parramatta
Succeeded by
John Brown
New division Member for Dundas
Division abolished
Preceded by
Harry Edwards
Member for Berowra

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