John Rau bigraphy, stories - Australian politician

John Rau : biography

20 March 1959 -

John Robert Rau (born 20 March 1959) is an Australian barrister and politician. He is the current Deputy Premier of South Australia and Attorney-General. He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the House of Assembly since 2002, representing the seat of Enfield.

Personal life

Rau lives in the suburb of Henley Beach with his wife Anna, who is a councillor for the City of Charles Sturt, and their three children.

Legal career

Rau was admitted as a solicitor and barrister of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1981. He worked as an adviser to Hawke government ministers Mick Young, Michael Tate and Neal Blewett from 1985 to 1988. He has also served on the ALP State and National Executives.

After concluding his service as a political adviser, Johnston worked as a solicitor and barrister at the firm of Johnston and Withers before establishing a private legal practice in Adelaide, specialising in industrial, employment, commercial and personal injuries law. In 1998, he was admitted to the independent bar in South Australia, practicing as a member of Murray Chambers.

According to the legal database AustLII, Rau has appeared as counsel 49 times before the South Australian Industrial Relations Commission, 22 times before the South Australian Industrial Relations Court, 15 times before the Supreme Court of South Australia and 7 times before the Federal Court of Australia (including once in his capacity as Attorney-General).Austlii, accessed at http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinosrch.cgi?query=%22J%20Rau%22%20OR%20%22J%20R%20Rau%22;results=50;submit=Search;mask_world=;mask_path=;callback=on;method=auto;meta=%2Fau;view=database-natural;offset=0

Political career

His first political experience as a Labor candidate occurred at the 1993 federal election, when he stood for the Division of Hindmarsh, where he was narrowly defeated by Liberal Party candidate Christine Gallus by 1.6 percent.

Prior to the 2002 state election, Rau contested Labor preselection for Enfield against the sitting member Ralph Clarke. Clarke had recently been deposed as the party's deputy leader. The local party branch chose Clarke who received 60 of 74 votes. However, the party's state executive stepped in and installed Rau as the pre-selected candidate. Clarke ran as an independent Labor candidate, receiving a respectable 23 percent of the vote; however, Clarke narrowly fell short of overtaking and inheriting Liberal Party votes. Rau easily won the seat with a 35.9 percent primary and 65.9 percent two-party vote.

Rau gained publicity in 2004 over his involvement in the Real Estate Industry – Reform bill, which was designed in an attempt to stop industry practices such as dummy bidding at auctions.

The 2006 state election saw Rau retain Enfield with a 63.4 percent primary and 74.5 percent two-party vote. At the 2010 state election, Rau suffered a swing to finish with a 52.6 percent primary and 60.5 percent two-party vote.

Rau became Attorney General when Michael Atkinson stepped down from the position following the 2010 election. Like his predecessor, Rau has also been described as a social conservative.

Rau expressed approval for the introduction of an R18+ video games classification following the resignation of Atkinson and is set to discuss it at the next meeting of attorneys-general in April 2010. The issue has been one for which his predecessor Atkinson received significant media attention. Rau appears to be taking a different view to his predecessor and is considering allowing an introduction of an R18+ classification.

In February 2011, Rau was elevated to Deputy Premier following the resignation of Kevin Foley from the position.

Current portfolios

As well as Deputy Premier and Attorney-General, Rau is representing a number of other portfolios:

  • Minister for Justice
  • Minister for Tourism
  • Minister for Urban Development, Planning & the City of Adelaide
  • Minister for Food Marketing
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