Brendan Nelson

The Honourable
Brendan Nelson
Director of the Australian War Memorial
Assumed office
17 December 2012
Preceded by Steve Gower
Ambassador of Australia to Belgium, Luxembourg, the EU and NATO
In office
17 September 2009  10 October 2012
Preceded by Alan Thomas
Succeeded by Duncan Lewis
Leader of the Opposition
In office
3 December 2007  16 September 2008
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd
Deputy Julie Bishop
Preceded by Kevin Rudd
Succeeded by Malcolm Turnbull
Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
3 December 2007  16 September 2008
Deputy Julie Bishop
Preceded by John Howard
Succeeded by Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Defence
In office
27 January 2006  3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Robert Hill
Succeeded by Joel Fitzgibbon
Minister for Education, Science and Training
In office
26 November 2001  27 January 2006
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by David Kemp
Succeeded by Julie Bishop
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bradfield
In office
2 March 1996  19 October 2009
Preceded by David Connolly
Succeeded by Paul Fletcher
Personal details
Born Brendan John Nelson
(1958-08-19) 19 August 1958
Coburg, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Gillian Adamson[1]
Children 2
Alma mater Flinders University
Profession Physician
Religion Roman Catholicism

Brendan John Nelson AO (born 19 August 1958) is a former Australian politician and former federal Opposition leader. He served as a member of the Australian House of Representatives from the 1996 federal election until 19 October 2009 as the Liberal member for Bradfield, a northern Sydney seat.

A medical doctor by profession, he came to public prominence as the Federal President of the Australian Medical Association (1993–95), and served as a Minister in the third and fourth terms of the Howard Government, serving as Minister for Education, Science and Training (2001–06) and Minister for Defence (2006–2007).

Following the 2007 federal election, at which the Howard Government was defeated, Nelson was elected leader of the federal Liberal parliamentary group in a contest against former Minister for Environment and Water Resources Malcolm Turnbull, and became the Leader of the Opposition on 3 December 2007.[2] On 16 September 2008, in a second contest following a spill motion, Nelson lost the leadership of the Opposition and the Liberal Party to Turnbull.[3]

On 25 August 2009 he announced his forthcoming retirement from politics. In September 2009, the Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced Nelson as the next Ambassador of Australia to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg as well as Australia's Special Representative to the NATO.[4] He remained Member for Bradfield until officially resigning on 19 October 2009, sparking the 2009 Bradfield by-election.[5]

On 10 October 2012, Nelson resigned as an ambassador because he had been promoted to succeed Steve Gower as Director of the Australian War Memorial a position he took up on 17 December 2012.

Early life

Nelson was born in Coburg, a suburb of Melbourne, as the eldest of three children of Des Nelson, a marine chief steward active in the Seamen's Union, and his wife, Patricia.[1] In his infancy, his family moved to his mother's home town of Launceston, Tasmania. In his early teenage years, they relocated again to Adelaide, South Australia, where he matriculated at Saint Ignatius' College before going on to study economics at the University of Adelaide. However, he dropped out in his first year, working in various casual jobs in retail and hospitality before returning to university to study medicine. He switched to Flinders University to complete his Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS). He married his first wife, Deanna, while a student at Flinders, but they lasted only a year together.[1]

Medical career

Nelson then relocated to Hobart, Tasmania, taking up practice as a medical practitioner from 1985 until 1995. In 1986, he married for a second time, and became a father to twins. In 1987, he and David Crean, brother of Labor politician Simon Crean and later a Tasmanian state Labor minister, established an after-hours locum service which he worked in until 1991.

In 1988, he joined the Australian Medical Association, and in 1990 became the Tasmanian State president of the organisation, taking a reformist approach to the role, and assisted the State branch in growing its membership. In 1991, he replaced Michael Jones, a former AMA president from Western Australia, as federal AMA vice-president.[6] He took a strong public stand against sponsorship of sports events by cigarette companies, lobbying politicians directly for legislative change, and also encouraged airlines to increase the number of non-smoking seats.[7]

On 30 May 1993, Nelson was elected unopposed as federal president of the Australian Medical Association, at 34 being the youngest ever holder of the office. He came to the office after significant hostility between the AMA and the federal Labor government, which peaked at the 1993 election under former AMA president Bruce Shepherd and former Health Minister Brian Howe. Nelson attempted to establish better relations with the government and its new Health Minister, Graham Richardson. He pledged to make Aboriginal health and the effects of unemployment on health a high priority during his term as federal president, and would appoint a full-time worker based in Canberra to look after these issues.[8][9]

In an address to the National Press Club on 30 September 1993, acknowledging the AMA's reputation for conservatism, he said he would not "lead the AMA safely", but believed doctors should "lead the way in showing that national progress can be made by placing the welfare and consideration of other human beings ahead of their own," asserting their obligation to speak out on issues for the public good. In the address, he advocated gay law reform, greater concern for the environment, more attention to Aboriginal and unemployed health, and greater co-operation between the medical profession and politicians of all sides to build a better health system.[10] In November, he told a national Aboriginal conference in Sydney that he was ashamed of the medical profession's track record on Aboriginal health, arguing that "doctors need to ask themselves how a person can be well when they've been denied their land, their hunting grounds, their citizenship and freedom and even their own children. Of course Aboriginal people's health has suffered when you look at this litany of misery".[11] As president, while personally opposing euthanasia, he supported the right of doctors to withdraw treatment from consenting critically ill patients, and supported euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke's case against the Royal Darwin Hospital.[12]

The role of private health in the health care mix, Aboriginal health, the AMA's ongoing campaign against cigarette sponsorship of sports events, and the size of the Medicare levy were other significant issues which occupied a lot of Nelson's time and attention as federal president, as they did the various Ministers for Health in the final years of the Keating Government. Nelson took ministers and shadow ministers around Central Australia to view Aboriginal communities. In October 1994, the World Conference on Tobacco and Health in Paris unanimously adopted an AMA resolution calling for a formal United Nations strategy on tobacco control.[13]

Political career

Nelson's father's strong involvement in the union movement and the Australian Labor Party influenced his early political development, and he joined Labor at the age of 13. However, he resigned from the Labor Party in 1991 before accepting a role on the AMA executive, on account of his perception of it as an apolitical position.[1][9]

At a rowdy pre-election rally during the 1993 election campaign in Toorak, as vice-president of the AMA, he declared via a megaphone that "I have never voted Liberal in my life!"[14] On 25 November 1993, he told journalist and medical writer Steve Dow that Labor governments generally were better for Australia but not always in their handling of health care.[15][16]

In January 1994, Nelson joined the Tasmanian branch of the Liberal Party of Australia. After initially being tipped for the South Australian seat of Boothby, being vacated by outgoing Liberal MP Steele Hall,[17] he sold his Tasmanian home, and moved to Lindfield in the affluent North Shore region of Sydney, establishing a surgery at The Rocks and switching his membership to the Pymble branch. On 30 January 1995, he announced his nomination for the preselection contest for Bradfield, a safe Liberal seat in which Pymble was located and held since 1974 by shadow minister David Connolly. The seat had been in Liberal hands for its entire existence, and the Liberals held it with a 27-percent majority, making it the safest Coalition seat in Sydney and one of the safest Coalition seats in metropolitan Australia.[18] He was supported in his bid by former AMA president Bruce Shepherd, who served as his campaign treasurer. On 1 March 1995, at a Liberal gathering, he renounced his view that Labor governments had been better for Australia, and stated that he believed Medicare was unsustainable and that voluntary work programs for the unemployed would build self-esteem, and advocated a consumption tax. He also declared that he intended to be a high-profile member of Parliament, saying "if all I wanted to do was be a parliamentarian, a seat-warmer, I would have gone for a marginal seat."[16][19] A bitter preselection campaign ensued; and, on 13 May 1995, he gained the party's endorsement on a 96-to-93 vote, even though Connolly had the support of Liberal leader John Howard and deputy leader Peter Costello. Nelson claimed his win was "a victory for liberalism".[1][20]

After the preselection, Nelson worked on an Aboriginal health program for the Cape York Peninsula; and, in June, following his retirement as president of the AMA, went to the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, on behalf of World Vision to hear about that country's struggles with AIDS—only three months after losing his younger brother to the disease.[21]

On 14 July 1995, as master of ceremonies for a fundraising dinner supporting Howard, he was criticised for his risque humour concerning then-current entertainment and political events, not having realised that Lady Fairfax, Lady McMahon, and conservative business leaders were in the audience. The incident attracted considerable publicity and there were calls from inside the Liberal Party to reverse his preselection, but he was supported by key decision-makers including the president of the NSW Liberal Party.[22]

Member for Bradfield (1996–2009)

Nelson was elected to Parliament as expected at the federal election on 2 March 1996, at which the Keating government was defeated and John Howard became Prime Minister. Although he suffered a tiny swing against him, he still took 64.7 percent of the primary vote and 75.8 percent after preferences were distributed. Nelson spent his first two terms as a government backbencher, while establishing himself as a leading member of the moderate, or "small-l liberal," wing of the Liberal Party.

Nelson was a vocal opponent of the views of Independent MP Pauline Hanson following her maiden speech on 10 September 1996, challenging her to visit Palm Island and other Aboriginal communities with him.[23] On 6 October, he proposed a bipartisan condemnation of her statements along lines already suggested by Labor Opposition leader Kim Beazley, saying that politicians had an obligation to show leadership on the issue.[24] He questioned the Prime Minister, who offered to cooperate and negotiate, but indicated he would not support the Opposition's motion in full.[25] On 19 October, Nelson said he believed the Government needed to more clearly repudiate Hanson's claims, and that she was "appealing to a primeval instinct" in her statements on Aboriginals and Asian migrants.[26] On 30 October 1996, a bipartisan motion on tolerance, nondiscriminatory immigration and Aboriginal reconciliation was moved and passed.[27]

In December 1996, Liberal MP Kevin Andrews raised a private members' bill to overturn the Northern Territory's euthanasia legislation, which had been championed by Dr Philip Nitschke. Nelson, along with former New South Wales premier John Fahey, were accused of convincing the son of the first man to die under the law, who had previously been a euthanasia advocate, to change his mind. The man, a branch secretary of a rural Liberal branch, ended up in hospital after suffering a nervous breakdown following the publicity surrounding the matter.[28] When the bill went through the House of Representatives on 10 December, Nelson was one of 88 MPs who voted for Andrews' bill on a conscience vote.[29] Nelson also had to apologise to Parliament in March 1997 when it was found that 11 parts of a speech he had given matched a paper on overseas doctors by immigration expert Bob Birrell of Monash University published the previous year.[30]

Nelson was appointed Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence in 2001.

Minister for Education, Science and Training (2001–2006)

After the 2001 federal election he was promoted directly to Cabinet with the senior portfolio of Minister for Education, Science and Training. Despite Bradfield's long-standing status as a comfortably safe Liberal seat, Nelson was the first (and to date, only) person to be promoted to cabinet while holding the seat.

He introduced a series of radical changes to Australia's higher education system that simultaneously imposed more direct government control over the management of universities while also allowing them to earn more revenue by charging higher fees to students. He extended the government's policy of directing more federal funding to non-government schools, as well as becoming more involved in reviewing the state education systems. In 2005 he introduced Voluntary Student Unionism. He was a popular target for student activism because of these changes.[31][32]

In 2005 Nelson expressed support for giving parents the option of having students exposed to the controversial subject of intelligent design. However he emphasised that evolution should always hold first place saying, "I'd be quite concerned if intelligent design were to replace evolution."[33] He later said intelligent design should only be taught in religion or philosophy classes.[34]

Minister for Defence (2006–2007)

Nelson with Robert Gates in August 2007

After his rapid promotion to Cabinet, Nelson was spoken of as a possible future Liberal leader. On 24 January 2006, then Prime Minister John Howard announced Nelson's promotion from the Education, Science and Training portfolio to the high profile Defence portfolio.

As Defence Minister, he made the controversial decision to purchase Boeing's Super Hornet aircraft instead of a fighter perceived by some to be more capable.[35]

Leader of the Opposition (2007–2008)

Following the defeat of the Howard government at the 2007 federal election, he was elected Liberal party leader and therefore Leader of the Opposition, narrowly defeating Malcolm Turnbull in a 45 to 42 vote,[2] after the withdrawal from the race of Tony Abbott. After Nelson's election, his political past resurfaced, with him claiming he came from a Labor family.[36]

Nelson became the first person since Billy Snedden in 1972 to become Opposition Leader without prior experience in Opposition. Nelson also became the first Catholic to lead the Liberal Party.[37]

On 1 December 2007 Nelson attempted to distance himself from some of the conservative policies of his predecessor, saying "I don't support gay marriage, adoption or IVF. But I believe in addressing the social and economic injustices affecting homosexuals."[38]

Nelson declared that the Liberal Party had "listened and learned" from the Australian public on WorkChoices. He pronounced the program "dead," vowing it would never be resurrected as part of Coalition policy, and called on the Government to move quickly to introduce draft industrial relations legislation.[39]

Crowds turn their backs part way through Brendan Nelson's reply to the Parliamentary apology for the stolen generations in February 2008.[40]

In January 2008, Nelson opposed making any formal apology to the indigenous Australians known as the "Stolen Generations". Nelson said such an apology would fuel guilt among middle Australia, and cause a mentality of "victimhood" among indigenous Australians.[41] In early February 2008, Nelson changed his stance, and declared that he supported the apology, first personally,[42][43][44] then also on behalf of his party:

I, on behalf of the Coalition, of the alternative government of Australia, are [sic] providing in-principle support for the offer of an apology to the forcibly removed generations of Aboriginal children.[45]

When a motion formally apologising to the Stolen Generations was put before the House on 13 February, Nelson voted in favour, as did all Coalition members present in the chamber. However, six members of Nelson's caucus—Don Randall, Sophie Mirabella, Dennis Jensen, Wilson Tuckey, Luke Simpkins and Alby Schultz—were absent. Before the vote, Nelson delivered a 20-minute speech endorsing the apology. Nelson's endorsement triggered nationwide protests; several people watching the speech booed, jeered and turned their backs on him.[46]

Nelson's leadership came under increased pressure in January 2008, after an MP shifted loyalties to Turnbull, and taking into consideration that former MP Dave Tollner was still allowed to vote, the leadership vote would now be deadlocked at 43–43.[47] Newspoll polling in February 2008 set a record low "Preferred Prime Minister" rating for any opposition leader at 9 percent, with March polling setting another record of 7 percent, with two-party-preferred setting another Newspoll record at 37–63 percent.[48] Nelson responded by declaring himself the underdog.[49] In response to increased speculation about his leadership Nelson commented in April that he "will keep fighting and standing up for everyday Australians.".[50]

Nelson used his 2008 budget reply to declare the Rudd government budget a "tax and spend" budget, as well as arguing for a 5-cent reduction in petrol excise, and pledging to block an increase in the "alcopop" tax.[51]

In May 2008, Nelson gave his approval to a merger occurring between the Queensland Liberal Party and Queensland National Party.[52]

Support for Nelson as leader within the Liberal Party had all but collapsed by the end of July 2008, in part due to repeated gaffes on emissions trading and climate change. Expected to challenge him was either Peter Costello or Malcolm Turnbull, upon the release of Costello's book, The Costello Memoirs.[53][54][55] Costello stated he would not be making any move for the Liberal leadership,[56] however media outlets capitalised on Costello's failure to categorically rule out any future leadership challenge.[57][58]

Nelson suffered from another gaffe in August 2008, where he stated:

Peter's made his decision that he did not seek the leadership of the party. As I've said before, I'd be very happy if he changes his mind.

He later attempted to clarify the comment in that he was referring to Costello staying in parliament.[59][60][61]

Despite a small and steady increase after record low polling, Nelson lost the leadership of the Liberal Party to Shadow Treasurer, Malcolm Turnbull, on 16 September 2008 by 45 to 41 votes in a spill.[62] Nelson went to the backbench.

Turnbull and later Liberal leader Tony Abbott eventually became Prime Ministers and meant that so far Nelson is the only Liberal leader of the 21st century who did not become Prime Minister.

Resignation from politics

On 16 February 2009, Nelson announced that he would retire from politics at the next federal election.[63] On 25 August 2009, he announced that he would resign from Parliament in late September 2009.[5]

Nearly two months later, Nelson officially resigned on 19 October 2009,[64] triggering the 2009 Bradfield by-election.

Diplomatic appointments

On 17 September 2009, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith appointed Nelson as the Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union, and NATO,[65][66][67] at the same time appointing former Federal Labor Leader Kim Beazley as the Australian Ambassador to the United States.[68] Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the appointments in Canberra the same day. Nelson accepted the appointment from his former rival and commended the decision to appoint Beazley as Ambassador to the US. Nelson said of both appointments, they "would be accepted across the political spectrum."[69]

Director of the Australian War Memorial

On 23 August 2012, the government announced Nelson's forthcoming appointment in the Australian Public Service as the new Director of the Australian War Memorial effective from 17 December 2012, succeeding Major General Steve Gower.[70]

Personal life

Nelson has been married three times and has two children.[1] In 1995, his brother, Philip, died after a long battle with AIDS.[1] His hobbies include playing guitar[71][72] and riding motorcycles, which he started at 17 after he dropped out of an economics degree at Adelaide University and needed a cheap form of transport.[73]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "The evolution of Brendan Nelson". Sydney Morning Herald. 23 December 2005. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  2. 1 2 "Nelson wins Liberal leadership". Sydney Morning Herald. 29 November 2007. Retrieved 29 November 2007.
  3. Hudson, Phillip (16 September 2008). "Get behind Turnbull: Nelson tells Libs". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  4. Stephanos, Maria. "Kim Beazley, Brendan Nelson new US, EU ambassadors: The Australian 17/9/2009". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  5. 1 2 Grattan, Michelle (25 August 2009). "Nelson to quit politics and force byelection". The Age. Melbourne. Retrieved 25 August 2009.
  6. Birnbauer, Bill (27 September 1993). "Doctor in Charge Shakes Up AMA". The Age. p. 4.
  7. Mostyn, Suzanne (10 July 1991). "Cricket body challenged on tobacco funds". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 6.
    * "Smoking campaign". The Age. 22 October 1991. p. 15.
    * Stapleton, John (1 June 1992). "It's a funny way to give up smoking". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 4.
  8. Johnston, Nicholas (31 May 1993). "Richardson and new AMA chief in truce". The Age. p. 2.
  9. 1 2 Cooke, Jennifer (29 May 1993). "AMA shepherds in a new era". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 5.
  10. "New prescription for the AMA". Sydney Morning Herald. 1 October 1993. p. 16.
    Dempster, Quentin (24 October 1993). "Personalities not principles". The Sun-Herald. p. 35.
  11. Davies, Julie-Anne (28 November 1993). "AMA Chief Vows To Aid Aborigines". Sunday Age. p. 10.
  12. Magazanik, Michael (9 July 1993). "Letting People Die Is A Duty – Doctor". The Age. p. 3.
  13. Daley, Paul (16 October 1994). "Australian Anti-smoke Move Gets World Nod". Sunday Age. p. 8.
  14. McManus, Gerard (3 December 2007). "Nelson support for gay couples". Herald Sun. Retrieved 16 February 2009.
  15. Henderson, Gerard (23 August 1994). "Nelson's high hopes". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 15.
  16. 1 2 Dow, Steve (1 March 1995). "Nelson chooses his seat". The Age. p. 11. Again, it's probably consistent with my perhaps lifelong philosophy of, you know, saying, well maybe Labor governments are generally better for the country that's a personal view, by the way, it's not an AMA view...
  17. Wright, Tony (8 November 1994). "Robert Hill falls foul of the Steele Hall factor". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 19.
  18. Huxley, John (31 January 1995). "No Half Nelson, The Doctor Is in the Liberal Party To Win". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 4.
  19. Seccombe, Mike (6 May 1995). "Brendan struggles to get a half-Nelson on politics". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 33.
  20. Grattan, Michelle (8 May 1995). "Nelson accuses his opponents of spreading rumours". The Age. p. 3.
    * Daley, Paul (14 May 1995). "Nelson wins safe Lib seat". Sunday Age. p. 5.
    * "Editorial: An earthquake in Bradfield". Sydney Morning Herald. 15 May 1995. p. 16.
  21. Lamont, Leonie (18 July 1995). "Wounded Nelson counts the very visible cost of his battles". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 6.
  22. Byrne, Andrew (15 July 1995). "Dr Nelson apologises to Libs for dirty jokes". Sydney Morning Herald. p. 1.
    * Grattan, Michelle (24 July 1995). "Nelson will keep seat – party chief". The Age. p. 6.
  23. Corbett, Bryce (19 September 1996). "Hanson goes even further out on a limb". Daily Telegraph. p. 13.
  24. Chan, Gabrielle (7 October 1996). "Howard rejects racism claim as McCarthyism". The Australian. p. 4.
    * Chan, Gabrielle (15 October 1996). "PM challenged to take stand on racism". The Australian. p. 2.
  25. Chan, Gabrielle (16 October 1996). "PM offers to negotiate bipartisan race motion". The Australian. p. 3.
  26. Rees, Peter (20 October 1996). "Hanson 'awakens base instincts'". Sunday Telegraph. p. 15.
  27. Ward, Ian (August 1997). "Australian Political Chronicle: July–December 1996". Australian Journal of Politics and History. 43 (2): 216. ISSN 0004-9522.
  28. Middleton, Karen (4 December 1996). "Euthanasia about-turn by Liberal son". The Age. p. 2.
    * "Nervous collapse hospitalises euthanasia son". The Australian. 5 December 1996. p. 3.
  29. Hansard; also, Ceresa, Maria (11 December 1996). "We cannot fight MPs' vote – Stone". The Australian. p. 2.
  30. Middleton, Karen (7 March 1997). "Liberal apologises to the House". The Age. Also "Nelson says sorry over plagiarism". The Australian. 7 March 1997. p. 3. The publication involved was Birrell, Bob (1996). "Medical manpower: the continuing crisis". People and Place. 4 (3): 37–46. ISSN 1039-4788. Archived from the original on 13 September 2009.
  31. Nelson too chicken to face us, say students Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 28 September 2005 Archived 1 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. 'Safety fear' stops Nelson talking at uni again, The Sydney Morning Herald, 28 September 2005
  33. 'Intelligent design' an option: Nelson, The Age, 11 August 2005
  34. Intelligent design not science: experts, The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October 2005
  35. 'Flying Blind', Four Corners, 29 October 2007
  36. "Nelson dogged by Labor party past". ABC News. 29 November 2007.
  37. Holy oversight, Brendan: The Australian 29 July 2008
  38. 'Nelson backs gay legal rights', Sunday Herald Sun, 2 December 2007
  39. "Nelson declares WorkChoices dead – } ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 19 December 2007. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  40. "Fury over Nelson's 'sorry' response". The Age. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  41. Schubert, Misha (30 January 2008). "Liberal division grows on apology". The Age. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
  42. "Howard will not attend apology". The Sydney Morning Herald. 8 February 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  43. Coorey, Phillip (6 February 2008). "Nelson agrees to 'sorry'"]". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  44. Milne, Glenn (10 February 2008). "Nelson rubbishes 'sorry' switch claims". The Australian. Archived from the original on 12 February 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  45. Hoare, Daniel (7 February 2008). "Opposition joins rush to say sorry". ABC Online. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  46. "Fury over Nelson's 'sorry' response". The Age. 13 February 2008. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  47. Nelson's leadership shaky as MPs shift loyalties, Dennis Shanahan, The Australian, 12 February 2008 Archived 14 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  48. Maiden, Samantha (3 March 2008). "Brendan Nelson and Liberal-Nationals Coalition hit all-time low in Newspoll". The Australian. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  49. Samantha Maiden and Dennis Shanahan (4 March 2008). "Nelson defends record low poll figures | The Australian". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  50. Lahey, Kate (12 April 2008). "Nelson vows to stay on as Liberal leader". The Age. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  51. Maiden, Samantha (15 May 2008). "Nelson's Budget reply: slash petrol tax". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  52. Greg Roberts (15 May 2008). "Nelson removes a merger caveat | The Australian". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  53. "Brendan Nelson's leadership is hanging by a thread: Herald Sun 2/8/2008". 2 August 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  54. Look out Brendan, here comes the tap: 2/8/2008 Archived 5 August 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  55. O'malley, Sandra (2 September 2008). "Libs meet amid leadership speculation: SMH 2/9/2008". Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  56. "Costello clears the air over Liberal leadership: ABC News 11/9/2008". 11 September 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  57. Matthew Franklin, Chief political correspondent (12 September 2008). "Costello could stand at next election". The Australian. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  58. "Costello may still harbour dream of being PM: The age 12/9/2008". Melbourne: 12 September 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  59. "Nelson would be 'very happy' if Costello seeks leadership: WA Today 29/8/2008". 29 August 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  60. "Nelson heightens leadership speculation". The Australian. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  61. Dennis Shanahan, Political editor (30 August 2008). "Brendan Nelson struggles to quell roll-over gaffe". The Australian. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  62. "Leadership spill: Nelson draws 'line in the sand': The Age 15/8/2008". Melbourne: 15 September 2008. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  63. "Brendan Nelson announces he will quit politics at the next election". The Australian. Retrieved 13 June 2010.
  64. "Brendan Nelson bows out of Bradfield". The Age. Retrieved 6 February 2012.
  65. Smith, Stephen (17 September 2009). "Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the European Communities, Belgium and Luxembourg, Representative to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and Special Representative to the World Health Organization" (Press release). Australian Government. Archived from the original on 3 April 2015.
  66. "Beazley, Nelson appointed to key diplomatic posts". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 17 September 2009. Archived from the original on 2 May 2015.
  67. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. "Ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, the European Union and NATO". Australian Government. Archived from the original on 9 August 2010.
  68. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade. "Diplomatic Appointment: Ambassador to the United States".
  69. "Kim Beazley, Brendan Nelson new US, EU ambassadors". 17 September 2009. Retrieved 14 April 2013.
  70. "Australian War Memorial Director Appointed". Media release. The Hon Warren Snowdon MP. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2012.
  71. Brendan Nelson's Interests – Playing the Guitar Archived 19 July 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  72. Franklin, Matthew (2 April 2008). "Brendan on stairway to Kevin". The Australian. Retrieved 2 April 2008.
  73. Brendan Nelson's Interests – Riding Motorcycles Archived 25 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Brendan Nelson.
Professional and academic associations
Preceded by
Bruce Shepherd
President of the Australian Medical Association
Succeeded by
David Weedon
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
David Connolly
Member for Bradfield
Succeeded by
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Political offices
Preceded by
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Minister for Education, Science and Training
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Minister for Defence
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Joel Fitzgibbon
Preceded by
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Leader of the Opposition of Australia
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Party political offices
Preceded by
John Howard
Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
Succeeded by
Malcolm Turnbull
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Alan Thomas
Australian Ambassador to Belgium, the EU and Luxembourg
Succeeded by
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New title Australian Ambassador to NATO
Government offices
Preceded by
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Director of the Australian War Memorial
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