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 serving as a Councillor of the Shire of Phillip Island from 1976 to 981, including servicing in the role of Shire President from 1980 to 1981. In December 1982 Peter joined the Liberal Party in a by-election caused by the resignation of Sir Phillip Lynch. He was elected to the House of Representatives to represent the seat of 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. 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. In that role, he was responsible for implementing the Government’s industrial relations policy. His handling of the 1998 Australian waterfront dispute, in which he openly supported the Patrick Corporation in its efforts to defeat the Maritime Union of Australia, led to criticism from unions and the Australian Labor Party. Prime Minister Howard transferred Peter to the Defence portfolio in 2000. In 2001 Peter announced his impending retirement and did not contest the 2001 election. Shortly after leaving politics, Peter took up employment with Tenix, a major Australian defence contractor. In 2003 he accepted an appointment as an executive director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development based in London, representing Australia, the Republic of Korea, Egypt and New Zealand.
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