The Hon. Peter Keaston Reith
After leaving BGS Peter studied economics and law at Monash University. Peter practised law in both Melbourne and Cowes in rural Victoria. His first taste of politics was as a Councillor of the Shire of Phillip Island from 1976 to 1981, including as Shire President from 1980 to 1981.
Whilst practicing law at Phillip Island he played a key role in establishing Newhaven College and the penguin research facility.
In late 1982 Peter was the Liberal Party’s pre-selected candidate for a by-election caused by the resignation of Sir Phillip Lynch.
He was elected to the House of Representatives as MP for Flinders. Peter lost his seat four months later at the March 1983 general election. He was elected again in December 1984 and remained the Member for Flinders until he resigned from politics in 2001.
Peter was a shadow minister in various portfolios from 1987 until 1996, including Shadow Attorney General in 1988. He was elected Deputy Opposition Leader and appointed Shadow Treasurer by John Hewson, a position he held from 1990-1993. Along with John Hewson,
Peter was one of the architects of the Liberal Party’s ‘Fightback’ policy, including the Goods and Services Tax. The tax was later introduced in 2000. He resigned as Shadow Treasurer after the loss of the 1993 election.
Following the election of the Howard Government in 1996 Peter became Minister for Workplace Relations and Leader of the House. He was responsible for legislating the Government’s industrial relations policy. His handling of the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute, in which he strongly supported efforts to reform the waterfront, led to significant increases in waterfront productivity.
He was Minister for Defence from 2000 to 2001 and retired in October 2001.
In 2003 he accepted an appointment as an Executive Director at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London, representing Australia, the Republic of Korea, Egypt and New Zealand.
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