Philip Ruddock

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Person.png Philip Ruddock  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(lawyer, politician)
Philip Ruddock.jpg
Born12 March 1943
Alma materBarker College, University of Sydney
Member ofGlobal Panel Foundation/Board of Advisors, Global Panel Foundation/Board of Directors, Global Panel Foundation/Supervisory Board
PartyLiberal Party of Australia
Spooky Australian Attorney General.

Employment.png Attorney-General for Australia

In office
7 October 2003 - 3 December 2007

Employment.png Member of the Australian Parliament

In office
22 September 1973 - 9 May 2016
Rescheduled in 1977 and 1993

Philip Maxwell Ruddock is an Australian politician. He is a member of the Liberal Party of Australia and currently the state president of the party's New South Wales division. He is a Vice Chair of the think-tank Global Panel Foundation Australasia, an intelligence connected network working behind the scenes to influence politics.

Ruddock was previously a Liberal member of the House of Representatives from 1973 to 2016. First elected in a 1973 by-election, by the time of his retirement he was the last parliamentary survivor of the Whitlam and Fraser Governments. He was both the Father of the House and the Father of the Parliament from 1998 to retirement.

He is the second longest-serving parliamentarian in the history of the Australian Parliament.[1] Ruddock served continuously in the ministry during the Howard Government, as Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs from 1996 to 2001 (promoted to the federal Cabinet in 2003), Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs from 2001 to 2003, and Attorney-General from 2003–2007.[2]

Early life and education

Philip Ruddock is the son of Emmie (née Chappell) and Maxwell "Max" Ruddock. Born in Canberra. His father was the Deputy Prices Commissioner working for the Commonwealth Government.[3] The senior Ruddock was later a Liberal member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1962 to 1976 and a state minister in the Lewis and Willis governments.

Ruddock was educated at Barker College in the suburb of Hornsby before attending the 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.[3]

On 22 September 1973, Ruddock was elected to the House of Representatives at a by-election for the seat of Parramatta.

Cabinet Minister

Minister for Immigration

Following the Coalition's rise to government at the 1996 election, Ruddock was appointed Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs. Following the 1998 election, Ruddock was promoted to Cabinet. In this role, he administered the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs and presided over the Howard government's policies on asylum seekers. During his time in office, the previous Keating Labor Government's practice of mandatory detention of asylum seekers was continued and extended. In October 1999, the Australian government introduced Temporary Protection Visas for persons who applied for refugee status after making an unauthorised arrival in Australia, and was the main type of visa issued to refugees when released from Australian immigration detention facilities. Many Afghan and Iraqi refugees who are not Australian citizens were affected by this policy.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs

In 2001, Ruddock was 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. His "Pacific Solution" – which prevented asylum seekers receiving legal access – was condemned by Human Rights Watch as contravening international law, as being a human rights violation: Oxfam and the UNHCR (United Nations refugee agency) agreed with this viewpoint.[4]

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.[5][6] 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.[7] Ruddock denied that there was a connection between the donations and his actions, and noted that the donation had been properly declared.[8] In 2004, an Australian Federal Police investigation cleared Ruddock of any wrongdoing, and a Senate inquiry, composed of a majority of Labor members, found that "there was no way to determine whether Mr Ruddock was influenced by money to grant visas."[9]

His position makes him central in the Children Overboard affair and the following events, and the coverup of them.


In 2003, Ruddock was Attorney-General in a cabinet reshuffle. On 27 May 2004, Ruddock introduced the Marriage Legislation Amendment Bill to prevent any possible court rulings allowing same-sex marriages or civil unions.[10]

Ruddock defended a decision to deny a gay veteran's partner a spousal pension, despite their 38-year same-sex relationship. The UN Human Rights Commission found the Australian government in violation of equality and privacy rights under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, but Ruddock insisted the government was not bound by the ruling.[11]

In July 2007, he remarked that Australia needs to improve its legislation to deal with pro-terrorist literature and media. "People who may be susceptible to carrying out a terrorist act ought not to be instructed in how to do it, how to use household products to produce a bomb, or be encouraged to think about violent jihad and taking their own life", he said.[12]

In 2007 Ruddock and the New South Wales Right to Life Association complained to the Australian Classification Board about the sale in Australia of The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Philip Nitschke and Fiona Stewart.[13] The book provides information on assisted death and voluntary euthanasia. The complaint resulted in the book's banning from sale in Australia. Nitschke commented that "No other country in the world ... has gone down this path - Australia stands alone" and that the Ruddock's action represented a "significant erosion to the free speech principle and it's extremely disappointing".

Following the November 2007 election, Ruddock did not seek a shadow cabinet role and returned to the backbench.

Third term in government and retirement, 2013–2016

Ruddock was named the Chief Government Whip in the House of Representatives in the Abbott Government, which took office on 18 September 2013.

Ruddock was replaced as Chief Government Whip by Queensland MP Scott Buchholz on 13 February 2015.[14][15]

On 27 May 2015, Ruddock was appointed to the new office of Special Envoy for Citizenship and Community Engagement.[16] The office was created in the wake of controversial proposals by the government to strip sole Australian nationals of their citizenship.

On 8 February 2016, Ruddock announced that he would not contest the next federal election and would be retiring from politics.

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  3. a b
  4. Streatfield, D. (2011) A History of the World Since 9/11, Chapter 2., pp.70–73
  10. "Marriage Amendment Bill 2004". Parliament of Australia. 24 June 2004. Retrieved 26 May 2008.

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