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Michael Keenan (politician)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael Keenan
Michael Keenan 2017.jpg
Minister for Human Services
In office
20 December 2017 – 29 May 2019
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byAlan Tudge
Succeeded byStuart Robert
Minister for Digital Transformation
In office
20 December 2017 – 29 May 2019
Prime MinisterMalcolm Turnbull
Scott Morrison
Preceded byAngus Taylor (as assistant minister)
Succeeded byAbolished
Minister for Justice
In office
18 September 2013 – 20 December 2017 (2017-12-20)
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byJason Clare
Succeeded byAngus Taylor (as Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity)
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism
In office
28 May 2015 – 20 December 2017
Prime MinisterTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byNew ministerial post
Succeeded byAngus Taylor (as Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity)
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Stirling
In office
9 October 2004 – 11 April 2019
Preceded byJann McFarlane
Succeeded byVince Connelly
Personal details
Michael Fayat Keenan

(1972-03-19) 19 March 1972 (age 49)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLiberal
Other political
Spouse(s)Georgina Bower
EducationTrinity College, Perth
Alma materMurdoch University
Charles University, Prague
Australian National University
University of Cambridge

Michael Fayat Keenan (born 19 March 1972) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the House of Representatives representing the Division of Stirling for the Liberal Party from the 2004 federal election until his retirement in 2019. He was the Minister for Human Services and the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation in the Morrison Government from 2017 until his retirement. He previously served as Minister for Justice from 2013 to 2017.

Early life

Keenan was born in Perth. His father Peter was born in County Durham, England. During the parliamentary eligibility crisis of 2017, it came to public attention that Keenan had acquired British citizenship by descent at birth, which he renounced before the 2004 election. Some media outlets had incorrectly reported that he had never renounced his citizenship; in response, he wrote "I am an Australian citizen and I do not hold citizenship of any other country. Fairfax is aware of this, yet in a cheap grab for a headline they have ignored this".[1][2]


Keenan went to school at Trinity College, Perth. He later attended Murdoch University, the Australian National University, and Cambridge University, where he obtained a master's degree in philosophy. He was a property consultant with a real estate firm before entering politics. He had previously worked as an adviser to Senator Amanda Vanstone and was deputy director of the Liberal Party of Western Australia.[3]


Keenan was elected to parliament at the 2004 federal election, defeating the incumbent Labor member Jann McFarlane. He was promoted to the shadow ministry after the 2007 election, serving as Shadow Assistant Treasurer (2007–2008), Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations (2008–2009), and finally Shadow Minister for Justice, Customs and Border Protection (2009–13).[3] He was identified by the media as a supporter of Malcolm Turnbull in the 2009 leadership spill.[4]

Government minister

Following the 2013 federal election, Keenan was appointed Minister for Justice in the Abbott Government. He was also made Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism in May 2015.[5] In the 2015 leadership spill, Keenan was again identified as one of Turnbull's supporters.[6] He retained both his positions in the new ministry.[3]

During the 2016 federal election campaign, Keenan was accused of starting a smear campaign against the Muslim Labor candidate Anne Aly, in reference to her previous counter-terrorism work. Keenan appeared with Liberal MP Luke Simpkins, the incumbent in Cowan whose seat was challenged by Aly, to make accusations against her. However, prior to Aly becoming a Labor candidate, Simpkins had written to her in admiration of her counter-terrorism work.[7][8]

As justice minister, Keenan oversaw the first national firearms amnesty since the 1996 Port Arthur massacre. It ran from July to September 2017, allowing people to hand in unregistered or unwanted firearms.[9] The amnesty had been approved in March 2017 by the Firearms and Weapons Policy Working Group (FWPWG) to reduce the number of unregistered firearms in Australia that were being used in Islamic terrorist attacks.[10][11]

In a ministerial reshuffle in December 2017, Keenan was promoted to cabinet as Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation.[12][13] On 25 January 2019 he announced that he would not contest the 2019 election to spend more time with his family, after 15 years in parliament. He and his wife have four sons born while he was a member of parliament.[14]

On Wednesday 13 February 2019, one of Keenan's office staffers was implicated in conspiring with Michaelia Cash's office staff in making strategic media leaks about AFP raids on the offices of the AWU.


  1. ^ Justice Minister Michael Keenan denies he is a dual citizen of UK and Australia
  2. ^ Justice Minister Michael Keenan says he renounced British citizenship before entering Parliament
  3. ^ a b c Hon Michael Keenan MP
  4. ^ Shock result as Abbott wins Liberal leadership by one vote ... ETS dead
  5. ^ "Tony Abbott's cabinet and outer ministry". AAP. 16 September 2013. Retrieved 16 September 2013.
  6. ^ Liberal leadership spill: The faces of Tony Abbott’s executioners emerge
  7. ^ Hunter, Fergus (23 June 2016). "Election 2016: Liberal Michael Keenan attacks Labor's Anne Aly over government-funded anti-terror work". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  8. ^ Callaghan, Greg (18 November 2016). "Counter-terrorism expert Anne Aly: 'I dream of a future in which I'm no longer needed'". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  9. ^ Minister for Justice Michael Keenan (16 June 2017). "National Firearms Amnesty starts on July 1" (Press release). Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  10. ^ "National gun amnesty called amid 'deteriorating national security environment'". Sydney Morning Herald. AAP. 16 June 2017. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
  11. ^ "Terms of Reference for the 2017 National Firearms Amnesty in Victoria". Victoria Police. 19 July 2017. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  12. ^ Turnbull, Malcolm (20 December 2017). "Ministerial Arrangements" (Press release). Government of Australia. Archived from the original on 13 March 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018. Michael Keenan will join Cabinet as Minister for Human Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation - a central role in ensuring all Australians get the services they expect when dealing with the Government, particularly as more and more services shift online.
  13. ^ "Australian Government Ministry List as at 20 December 2017" (PDF). Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia. 20 December 2017. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 December 2017.
  14. ^ Doran, Matthew (26 January 2019). "Michael Keenan announces he is quitting politics at the federal election". ABC News. Retrieved 26 January 2019.

External links

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Jann McFarlane
Member for Stirling
Succeeded by
Vince Connelly
Political offices
Preceded by
Jason Clare
Minister for Justice
Succeeded by
Angus Taylor
as Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity
New ministerial post Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Counter-Terrorism
Preceded by
Alan Tudge
Minister for Human Services
Succeeded by
Stuart Robert
Preceded by
Angus Taylor
as Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister for Digital Transformation
Minister for Digital Transformation
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 9 February 2021, at 14:21
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