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Mike Ahern interviewed by Lindsay Marshall and Malcolm McMillan in the Decades of Division oral history project [sound recording]
Bib ID 5037581
Format AudioAudio, OnlineOnline [sound recording]
Ahern, M. J. (Michael John), 1942-, Interviewee
Online Access
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2010 
4 sound files (ca. 370 min.) 

Decades of Division oral history project.

Technical Details

Mode of access: Internet via World Wide Web. 


Mike Ahern talks about his family involvement in politics; his initial involvement in Country Party politics; his early political influences and experiences at University of Queensland; the change in Queensland politics with Joh Bjelke-Petersen as Premier; quality of advice given to the government from the public service in the late 1960s and the relationship between public servant and ministers; relationship between Coalition parties in the late 1960s; influential ministers in the late 1960s; the claims of a Catholic-versus-Protestant division between Ahern and Bjelke-Petersen; politicking in the 1960s and 1970s and work of the Ahern committee on education; the capabilities of National Party organisational team; the quality of opposition provided by the Labor Party; tensions at the time of the 1972 state election; Bjelke-Petersen's opposition to the Whitlam government; the attitude of 11 Labor Party MPs remaining after the 1974 state election landslide, the problems for the government of having a huge majority; his expectations of attaining a ministry after the 1974 state election; the repercussions of the Country Party's name-change to National Party; views on the government-controlled electoral system and its impact on non-government parties; the relationship between Joh Bjelke-Petersen and Liberal Party leaders; his views on the events surrounding the Coalition split (Aug. 1983); Constitutional convention, referendum; his recollection of events surrounding the 1982 controversy over the appointment of the Queensland Chief Justice; his appointment as Minister for Industry, Small Business and Technology.

Ahern discusses the move of Don Lane and Brian Austin to the National Party following the 1983 state election; Sir Edward Lyons; Sir Roderick Proctor; his recollections of events surrounding the 'Joh for PM' campaign; his recollection of circumstances leading to the establishment of the Fitzgerald Commission of Inquiry; the Fitzgerald Inquiry's work and likely findings; the political impact of the Fitzgerald Inquiry on the National Party; his motives for committing to implement Fitzgerald Inquiry's recommendations; his leadership and leadership challenges; the relationship with the Hawke Government during the Fitzgerald Inquiry; his views as a new premier on how well the state was being run and the changes needed in economic strategy; Russell Cooper's successful challenge for the premiership; the purchase of Brisbane CBD land known as Queensland Place; response within the National Party to the election of the Labor Party to government under Wayne Goss in December 1989; the decision to quit politics; having to seek employment after 22 years in politics; how to balance personal and political relationships; how the Ahern Government will be remembered by history; his decision to stay out of political involvement after resigning as an MP and work as a Trade Commissioner; maintaining a low profile post-politics and his views on contemporary politics.


This interview was conducted in association with the Queensland Chapter of the Don Dunstan Foundation and the National Library of Australia.

Recorded on 13 and 20 November 2010 in Caloundra, Qld.

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary (12 p.) and corrected transcript (typescript, 128 leaves) 
Subjects Ahern, M. J. (Michael John), 1942- -- Interviews.  |  Businessmen -- Australia -- Interviews.  |  Queensland -- Politics and government.  |  Queensland -- Politics and government -- 1965-
Occupation Premiers.  |  Business professionals.
Other authors/contributors Marshall, Lindsay N. (Lindsay Neil), 1956-, Interviewer  |  McMillan, Malcolm, 1949-, Interviewer  |  Don Dunstan Foundation. Queensland Chapter  |  National Library of Australia

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Details Collect From
ORAL TRC 6150/10
Copy: Recording
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 6150/10 (transcript)
Copy: Transcript
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 6150/10 (summary)
Copy: Summary
Special Collections Reading Room

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