Frank Crean

From Academic Kids

Frank Crean in 1961
Frank Crean in 1961

Frank Crean (born 28 February 1916), Australian politician, was a senior minister in the Australian Labor Party government of Gough Whitlam from 1972 to 1975, and was Deputy Prime Minister for the last six months of the government's term.

Crean was born in Hamilton, Victoria, where his father was a bicycle-maker of Irish Catholic descent. Crean, however, is a Presbyterian, and changed his name from Francis Daniel to the less Irish-sounding Frank. He graduated from the University of Melbourne with degrees in arts and commerce and a diploma in public administration, and became an accountant and tax consultant. In 1945 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly, but was defeated in 1947. He was re-elected in 1949.

In 1946 Crean married Mary Findlay, with whom he had three sons. One of these, Simon Crean, was federal Leader of the Opposition from 2001 to 2003. Another, Dr David Crean, became a minister in the state Labor government in Tasmania.

In 1951 Crean quit state politics to stand for the safe Labor seat of Melbourne Ports in the Australian House of Representatives. In Canberra Crean advanced rapidly, since he was one of the few Labor members with formal qualifications in economics. In 1956 he was elected to the Opposition front-bench and was appointed shadow Treasurer (finance minister), a position he held for 16 years.

During the 1960s Crean was sometimes considered as a possible party leader, but his rather plodding public image meant that he was overtaken by Gough Whitlam, who became leader in 1967. When Whitlam finally led Labor to office at the 1972 elections, Crean became Treasurer, although Whitlam had no real confidence in him.

Crean was unfortunate that his time as Treasurer coincided with the onset of high inflation and rising unemployment. He did not trust the orthodox economic advice he was getting from the Treasury, but he lacked the authority to challenge it. The leader of the Labor Left, Dr Jim Cairns, attacked Crean's policies in the Cabinet, and in December 1974 Whitlam gave Cairns the Treasury and moved Crean to the Trade portfolio.

In July 1975 Whitlam sacked Cairns over his involvement in the Loans Affair, and Crean was elected party Deputy Leader and Deputy Prime Minister in his place. He held this position until the dismissal of the Whitlam government in November 1975. After the elections he contested the leadership but was defeated by Whitlam. He retired from Parliament in 1977.


Preceded by:
Gough Whitlam
Treasurer of Australia
1972-1974
Succeeded by:
Jim Cairns

Template:Succession box one to two Template:End box

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