Ian Macfarlane (politician)

The Honourable
Ian Macfarlane
Minister for Industry and Science
In office
18 September 2013  21 September 2015
Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded by Kim Carr
Succeeded by Christopher Pyne
Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
In office
26 November 2001  3 December 2007
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Nick Minchin
Succeeded by Kim Carr Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Martin Ferguson Minister for Resources and Energy
Minister for Small Business
In office
30 January 2001  26 November 2001
Prime Minister John Howard
Preceded by Peter Reith
Succeeded by Joe Hockey
Member of the Australian Parliament for Groom
In office
3 October 1998  9 May 2016
Preceded by Bill Taylor
Succeeded by John McVeigh
Personal details
Born (1955-04-05) 5 April 1955
Kingaroy, Queensland, Australia
Political party Liberal National Party
Other political
Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Karen
Children Kate and Laura
Residence Toowoomba, Queensland
Occupation Farmer

Ian Elgin Macfarlane (born 5 April 1955) is a former Australian politician. He was elected as a member of the Australian House of Representatives in October 1998, representing the Division of Groom, Queensland, for the Liberal National Party. Prior to the merger of the Liberal and National parties in Queensland in 2008, Macfarlane was a member of the Liberal Party, and sat in the Liberal party room in Canberra. In December 2015, it was reported that he would be defecting to the National Party.[1] Macfarlane was the Minister for Industry and Science in the Abbott Government from 18 September 2013[2] until 20 September 2015, when he was dropped from Cabinet in the ministry of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Background and career

He was born in Kingaroy, Queensland, and was a farmer and president of the Queensland Graingrowers Association before entering politics. He acquired the nickname "Chainsaw" from ABC rural reporter Judy Kennedy due to his raspy voice. He now attributes the moniker to his ability to "cut through red tape",[3] and it was alluded to in his 1998 election campaign through the slogan "The Right Voice for Groom".

In an interview with Four Corners on 9 November 2009, Macfarlane said that his position on global warming had changed "a bit", since he had recognised a greater importance for mankind's contribution.[4] Acting as Climate Change Spokesman for the Coalition in 2009, he spent 5 weeks in negotiations around a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme with Minister for Climate Change Penny Wong,[5] before a leadership spill deposed party leader Malcolm Turnbull and replaced him with Tony Abbott,[6] and the policy was overturned.

As a minister in the Coalition Government under John Howard he held the portfolio of Minister for Small Business from January 2001, before being promoted to the Cabinet role of Industry, Tourism and Resources in November 2001.[7] After the defeat of the Coalition in the 2007 federal election he served in the shadow portfolios of Trade as well as Infrastructure and Water, and was the Shadow Minister for Energy and Resources.[8] With the election of the Abbott Coalition government in September 2013 he was appointed Minister for Industry. He was later sworn in as the Minister for Industry and Science on 23 December 2014.

Upon the ascension of the Turnbull Government, Macfarlane was dropped from the new ministry despite being a Turnbull supporter. On 3 December 2015, Macfarlane announced his intention to defect from the Liberal Party room to the National Party room.[9] The move was later blocked by the Queensland LNP executive.[10]

On 15 February 2016, Macfarlane announced he would retire from parliament and not contest the 2016 federal election.[11]

Queensland Resources Council

On 26 September, it was announced that Macfarlane had been appointed as chief executive of the Queensland Resources Council.[12] It comes just four months after former Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in the House of Representatives chamber on 4 May 2016, referring to Mr Macfarlane’s efforts to dump Labor’s mining tax, ‘It was a magnificent achievement by the member for Groom in his time as minister reborn, as it were. I hope this sector will acknowledge and demonstrate their gratitude to him in his years of retirement from this place.’.[13] Greens Senators Larissa Waters and Lee Rhiannon allege[14] the appointment appears to breach current Federal Government ministerial standards which require that ex-Ministers not engage in lobbying for an eighteen month period after ceasing to be a Minister.[15]


  1. Coorey, Phil (3 December 2015). "Ian Macfarlane defects to Nationals in shock for Malcolm Turnbull". Australian Financial Review. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  2. "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". smh.com.au. AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  3. "Biography". Ian Macfarlane MP. Archived from the original on 29 July 2007. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  4. "Program Transcript". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 November 2009. Retrieved 31 January 2014.
  5. "Debate conducted on old-school rules". The Australian. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  6. "The Cloud of Climate of Change". The Courier Mail. 28 November 2009. Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  7. "The Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, Member for Groom (Qld)". Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 3 December 2007.
  8. "Ian Macfarlane MP". Retrieved 21 April 2010.
  9. "Liberal MP Ian Macfarlane defects to Nationals in shock move against Malcolm Turnbull". Sydney Morning Herald. 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  10. Anderson, Stephanie. "Ian Macfarlane blocked from moving to Nationals by LNP executive". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
  11. "Ian Macfarlane won't contest 2016 election". Sky News. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2016.
  12. "Former resources minister Ian Macfarlane appointed to run Queensland mining lobby". ABC. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  13. "Adjournment Debate, Retiring Politicians. Speech by Tony Abbott MP". Hansard (Australian Parliament). 4 May 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  14. "Macfarlane's new job at Queensland Resources Council is revolving door in action". greensmps.org.au. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  15. "Statement of Ministerial Standards" (PDF). Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). December 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016. See Section 2.24
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Bill Taylor
Member for Groom
Succeeded by
John McVeigh
Political offices
Preceded by
Peter Reith
Minister for Small Business
Succeeded by
Joe Hockey
Preceded by
Nick Minchin
Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources
Succeeded by
Kim Carr
as Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Succeeded by
Martin Ferguson
as Minister for Resources, Energy and Tourism
Preceded by
Kim Carr
as Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research
Minister for Industry
Succeeded by
Christopher Pyne
as Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science
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