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Gary Johns
Portrait of Gary Johns, 1994
Johns in Second Keating Ministry, 1994
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Petrie
In office
11 July 1987 – 2 March 1996
Preceded byJohn Hodges
Succeeded byTeresa Gambaro
Personal details
Gary Thomas Johns

(1952-08-29) 29 August 1952 (age 68)
Melbourne, Victoria
Political partyALP
Alma materMonash University

Gary Thomas Johns (born 29 August 1952) is an Australian writer and former politician. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1987 to 1996, holding the Queensland seat of Petrie for the Australian Labor Party (ALP). He served as a minister in the Keating Government.

Political career

Johns was born in Melbourne, Victoria and received a Bachelor of Economics and a M.A. from Monash University. He was elected as the member for Petrie in 1987, and held it for the Australian Labor Party until his defeat in 1996. He served as Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations from December 1993 and Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council from March 1994 until the defeat of the Keating government in 1996, in which he lost his seat to Liberal candidate Teresa Gambaro.[1]

Later career

Since his defeat, Johns has drifted from the ALP and has been critical of his old party. Johns told Brett Evans that he might still be a member of the ALP but Evans says that in Johns' heart he has moved on from the ALP.[2]

From 1997 to 2006, he was a senior fellow at the neo-liberal/conservative think tank the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA). Within the IPA, he was head of the Non-Government Organisations unit. From 2006-2009 Johns worked with a consultancy firm, ACIL Tasman. In 2009 he was appointed Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Australian Catholic University's Public Policy Institute. In 2012 he was appointed visiting fellow at QUT Business School. He was president of the Bennelong Society, an organisation that advocated the provision of welfare for Indigenous Australians under the same rules as for all other Australians. From 2002-2004 he was appointed Associate Commissioner of the Commonwealth Productivity Commission, an Australian government policy research and advisory body,[3] with the responsibility for an inquiry into the national workers’ compensation and occupational health and safety framework.[4]

He was awarded a PhD in political science in 2001 from the University of Queensland, in 2002 the Fulbright Professional Award in Australian-United States Alliance Studies, Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and in 2003 the Centenary Medal for ‘service to Australian society through the advancement of economic, social and political issues’.

He is a columnist for The Australian newspaper, the author of numerous papers and books: Waking up to Dreamtime. Media Masters (2001), Aboriginal Self-determination. Connor Court (2011), No Contraception, No Dole. Connor Court (2016),[5] The Charity Ball. Connor Court (2014), Right Social Justice. Connor Court (2012), Really Dangerous Ideas. Connor Court (2013), and Recognise What? Connor Court (2014).

In 2017 Johns was appointed by the Turnbull Government as the commissioner of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. His appointment was publicly criticised by David Crosbie, the CEO of the Communities Council for Australia, who said he had made "numerous public statements that clearly indicate he is opposed to many charities and their work".[6][7]

Lobby for the tobacco-industry

As a director of the conservative 'think-tank' the Australian Institute for Progress,[8] Johns was an advocate for the tobacco industry.[9][10] Around 2016, he also worked for the International Tax and Investment Center (ITIC), a policy institute that received funding from the tobacco-industry. As a consultant for the ITIC Johns was scathing of the anti-smoking Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, calling it "an instrument of the World Health Organisation".[11][9]



  • Johns, Gary (2001). Waking up to Dreamtime : the illusion of Aboriginal self-determination. Singapore: Media Masters.
  • Aboriginal Self-determination. Connor Court (2011)
  • Right Social Justice. Connor Court (2012)
  • Really Dangerous Ideas. Connor Court (2013)
  • Recognise What? Connor Court (2014)
  • The Charity Ball. Connor Court (2014)
  • No Contraception, No Dole. Connor Court (2016)
  • Throw open the doors (2016)[12]

Essays and reporting


  1. ^ "Biography for Johns, the Hon. Gary Thomas". Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2007.
  2. ^ Evans, Brett (2001). The Life and Soul of the Party: A Portrait of Modern Labor. ISBN 9780868407388.
  3. ^ "Gary Johns". ACIL Tasman. Archived from the original on 2006-08-21. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  4. ^ Productivity Commission Annual Report 2003-04, Annual Report Series (PDF) (Report). Productivity Commission, Canberra. 2004. p. 51. Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 October 2007. Retrieved 18 June 2008.
  5. ^ "Search Results | author:"Johns, Gary Thomas, 1952-"". National Library of Australia. 2 May 2021. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021.
  6. ^ Hunter, Fergus (7 December 2017). "Charities express alarm as long-time 'foe' Gary Johns is appointed as their regulator". Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021.
  7. ^ Williams, Wendy (9 February 2018). "Government Accused of Undermining Australia's Charities". Pro Bono Australia. Archived from the original on 2 May 2021. Retrieved 6 November 2018.
  8. ^ Readfearn, Graham (22 November 2017). "The climate science denial promoters behind Queensland's energy scare election headlines". RenewEconomy. Archived from the original on 25 June 2020.
  9. ^ a b Glenza, Jessica; Kelly, Sharon; Adolphe, Juweek (23 January 2020). "Free-market groups and the tobacco industry". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 21 June 2020.
  10. ^ Australian Institute for Progress (22 September 2016). ""World Health Organization Uses Exclusion to Silence Debate" Says Former Australian Minister". Archived from the original on 21 June 2020.
  11. ^ Johns, Gary (20 April 2016). "Letter to Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 August 2018.
  12. ^ Young, Graham (21 September 2019). "Throw open the doors - book review". Australian Institute for Progress. Archived from the original on 26 March 2020.
Political offices
Preceded by
Frank Walker
Special Minister of State
Succeeded by
Nick Minchin
Vice-President of the Executive Council
Succeeded by
John Moore
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Hodges
Member for Petrie
Succeeded by
Teresa Gambaro
This page was last edited on 24 July 2021, at 01:56
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