Richard Keane

For other people named Richard Keane, see Richard Keane (disambiguation).
The Honourable
Richard Keane
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bendigo
In office
12 October 1929  19 December 1931
Preceded by Geoffry Hurry
Succeeded by Eric Harrison
Senator for Victoria
In office
1 July 1938  26 April 1946
Succeeded by Alexander Fraser
Personal details
Born (1881-02-14)14 February 1881
Beechworth, Victoria
Died 26 April 1946(1946-04-26) (aged 65)
Washington, D.C., United States
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) 1) Ruby Thorne
2) Millicent Dunn
Occupation Railway clerk

Richard Valentine Keane (14 February 1881 – 26 April 1946) was an Australian politician.

Keane was born in Beechworth, Victoria and, after his police constable father was transferred to Melbourne, was educated at Christian Brothers College, St Kilda. When he was 16 he took a position as a clerk in the Victorian Railways. In 1909 he married Ruby Thorne and they subsequently had a son and two daughters. From 1918 he was an office holder in the Victorian Railways Union, which became part of the Australian Railways Union (ARU) in 1920. He was General Secretary of the ARU from 1925 to 1929. His wife died in 1923 and he married Millicent Dunn in 1940.[1]

Political career

Keane was vice-president of the executive of the Victorian branch of the Australian Labor Party in 1928 and its president in 1930 and from 1937 to 1938. In 1925, he stood unsuccessfully for the Australian Senate and the Victorian Legislative Council. In the October 1929 election, he was elected as the member for Bendigo in the Australian House of Representatives, but lost it at the October 1931 election. He was narrowly defeated for Bendigo at the 1934 election, but was elected to the Senate at the 1937 election. He became leader of the government in the Senate in 1943.[1]

In October 1941 Keane was appointed Minister for Trade and Customs and Vice-President of the Executive Council in the first Curtin Ministry and was responsible for administering wartime rationing and price controls. In 1946 he travelled to the United States to terminate Australia's Lend-Lease arrangements but died in Washington, D.C., survived by his wife, their daughter and the children of his first marriage.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 Rawson, Don (2002). "Keane, Richard Valentine (1881 - 1946)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Geoffry Hurry
Member for Bendigo
Succeeded by
Eric Harrison
Political offices
Preceded by
Eric Harrison
Minister for Trade and Customs
1941 – 1946
Succeeded by
John Dedman
Preceded by
George McLeay
Vice-President of the Executive Council
1941 – 1943
Succeeded by
Bill Ashley
Party political offices
Preceded by
Joe Collings
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in the Senate
Succeeded by
Bill Ashley
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