The Gallop Government: A Perspective by Geoffrey Bolton

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton was born in Perth and educated in WA and at Oxford University. He began his academic career as a research fellow at the Australian national University in 1957 and during his forty years in universities held a chair in Modern or Australian History at four different Australian universities as well as a three year appointment as the founding professor and head of the Australian Studies Centre at the University of London, and four years as Chancellor of Murdoch University. Between 1958 and 2009 he has published more than a dozen books on Australian history including his prize winning 'Edmund Barton: The One Man for the Job', a biography of Australia’s first prime minister.  An officer of the Order of Australia, he was Western Australia’s 2006 Australian of the Year.

In his five years as premier (2001-06) it was Geoff Gallop's main achievement to restore the credibility of the Western Australian branch of the ALP as a party of government.  Having achieved office somewhat unexpectedly at the 2001 State elections Gallop and his team maintained sound standards of governance and ministerial responsibility.

Prudent management of the State's finances was facilitated by a booming mineral export trade to China and Japan. Early environmental legislation included the protection of old-growth forests, thus resolving a controversy of long standing. The construction of the Perth-Mandurah railway and the extension of the Joondalup line marked a major upgrade in public transport. 

A lifelong friend of British prime minister Tony Blair, Gallop was perceived as a Christian social democrat with an ongoing concern for social welfare measures.  Although returned with an improved majority at the 2005 State elections he decided to retire from the stress of public life early in 2006 and returned to his original career as a university academic, taking a senior post in government at The University of Sydney. He brought to the subject unique experience in the theory and practice of Australian politics.  

Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton. c2002. Courtesy Murdoch University. Emeritus Professor Geoffrey Bolton. c2002.
Photograph courtesy Murdoch University