Nev Warburton

Nev Warburton
Leader of the Opposition of Queensland
In office
29 August 1984  2 March 1988
Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen
Mike Ahern
Preceded by Keith Wright
Succeeded by Wayne Goss
Member of the Queensland Legislative Assembly
for Sandgate
In office
12 November 1977  19 September 1992
Preceded by Harold Dean
Succeeded by Gordon Nuttall
Personal details
Born Neville George Warburton
(1932-02-23) 23 February 1932
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Frances Helen Doig (m.1956 )
Occupation Electrical industry

Neville George (Nev) Warburton (born 23 February 1932)[1] is a former Queensland politician, who served as leader of the opposition from 1984 to 1988, and as a minister in the Goss Ministry from 1989 to 1992.


Early career

Warburton was elected at the 1977 election as the Australian Labor Party candidate for the seat of Sandgate, succeeding Harold Dean who had held the seat for the ALP since 1960. In 1982, fellow opposition frontbencher Keith Wright deposed ALP leader Ed Casey in a secret ballot, after a string of poor election results. Warburton was appointed deputy opposition leader in Wright's shadow cabinet, despite having served only five years in parliament.[2] Warburton became a member of the then dominant Trades and Labour Council faction, an affiliation he retained during his later career.[3]

Leader of the Opposition

In 1984, Wright resigned from the Legislative Assembly to stand for election to federal parliament. Warburton was elected by caucus as the new Labor leader in Queensland on 29 August 1984.[4] Warburton was often portrayed in the media as being an "old style" Labor leader; uncomplicated and honest. Peter Bowers, a columnist with the Sydney Morning Herald declared that Warburton was "...a straight up and down politician, no charisma, no nonsense".[5]

Labor approached the 1986 election being given little hope of taking power, given the continued existence of the Bjelkemander, despite continued disunity and infighting between the Liberal and National parties that formed government. Warburton's policies included the introduction of random breath testing in Queensland, and a ban on uranium mining in Queensland,[5] an idea that would become longstanding Labor party policy. Warburton also made overtures to the Liberals, offering to form a coalition government with them in order to break the National Party's grip on power.[6] However, on polling day, the National party won a resounding victory that enabled them to govern in their own right, and Labor lost two seats, despite polling more votes than the Nationals.[7] Warburton hung on as leader of the opposition after this defeat, but eventually handed over the party leadership to Wayne Goss in 1988.

Minister in the Goss Government

Warburton stayed on the opposition frontbench at the invitation of Goss, and when Labor won power for the first time in over thirty years at the 1989 election, he was appointed as Minister for Employment, Training and Industrial relations. In 1991, he switched portfolios and became Minister for Police and Emergency Services, a post he held until he retired from Parliament in 1992.[4]

Lawn bowler

In addition to his political career, Warburton was also an enthusiastic participant in the sport of lawn bowls.[8]


  1. "Queensland Parliament - Record of Members and Office Holders". Parliament of Queensland. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  2. Morley, Peter (20 October 2009). "Battle of Brisbane's ship industry". The Courier Mail. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  3. Bron Stevens, John Wanna. The Goss government: promise and performance of labor in Queensland. p. 53. ISBN 978-0-7329-2622-9.
  4. 1 2 "Queensland Parliament Members Register" (PDF). Queensland Parliament. p. 314. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
  5. 1 2 Bowers, Peter (20 October 1986). "Meet Nev, Joh's Rival". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  6. "It's us or them, Sir Joh tells voters". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 October 1986. Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  7. Australian Government and Politics Database. "Parliament of Queensland, Assembly election, 1 November 1986". Retrieved 6 February 2010.
  8. Loane, Sally (30 November 1989). "Queensland catches up at last". The Age. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Keith Wright
Leader of the Opposition
Succeeded by
Wayne Goss
Preceded by
Harold Dean
Member for Sandgate
Succeeded by
Gordon Nuttall
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