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Christopher John Hurford AO (born 30 July 1931) was a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives seat of Adelaide from 1969 to 1987. He played a key role in the development of Australia's skills-oriented immigration policy, and founded the ALP Labor Unity faction in SA.
Opening of the Chris Hurford exhibition at the Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library in 2011.
|Member of the Australian Parliament|
25 October 1969 – 31 December 1987
|Preceded by||Andrew Jones|
|Succeeded by||Mike Pratt|
Christopher John Hurford-Jones
30 July 1931
Mhow, Indore Residency, British India
|Political party||Australian Labor Party|
Hurford was born in Mhow, India, to an English father and Australian mother. In 1940, his mother took the children to Perth, Western Australia where Hurford attended school, before returning to India, then to England. In 1949, his whole family migrated to Western Australia as 'ten-pound poms', despite their Australian heritage. After studying at the London School of Economics, Chris Hurford worked in accountancy. He entered federal parliament in 1969, representing the Division of Adelaide, South Australia. The seat had fallen to Liberal Andrew Jones during the massive Coalition landslide of 1966. However, Jones' strong conservatism didn't play well in this ancestrally Labor seat, and Hurford retook the seat for Labor on a resounding 14.3 percent swing, turning it into a safe Labor seat in one stroke. Hurford actually won enough votes on the first count to take the seat without the need for preferences. He held Adelaide until his resignation in 1987.
Hurford was Minister for Housing and Construction, outside Cabinet in the first Hawke Ministry from March 1983 to December 1984. In the second Hawke Ministry, he was promoted to Cabinet as Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs until February 1987, when he replaced Don Grimes as Minister for Community Services.
As Immigration Minister, Hurford's major achievement was the introduction of the "points system" for skilled immigration—a system which provided transparency in decisions on skilled migration and brought a new focus to immigration's role in developing human capital. The system has since been adopted in other jurisdictions.
Hurford's period in Immigration was also notable for his attempt to have Sheikh Taj El-Din Hilaly deported, but was unsuccessful. He also made an early, unsuccessful attempt to reduce ministerial discretions in the granting of immigration visas.
In July 1987, Hurford,for personal reasons, withdrew from the third Hawke ministry. He retired from Parliament at the end of the year and became Australia's Consul-General in New York for four years.
Internal ALP roleEdit
Within the South Australian ALP, Hurford is arguably an important modernising figure. He led the creation of the Labor Unity faction, a group variously described as "right-wing", moderate or (after the ascension of the UK Blair Government) "Third Way". A Catholic, Hurford won support from the socially conservative leadership of the Shop Distributive and Allied Trades Union in forming the faction.
In the 1980s Hurford led the SA Labor Unity group in vigorously defending within the ALP the policy direction of the Hawke Government, a direction with which the larger Centre-Left and Left factions were uncomfortable. By the 1990s Labor Unity became a substantial counterweight to the other factions in SA.
- Don Dunstan Oral History Project, Flinders University.
- "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 17 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-18.
- "Former minister outlines reservations over sheik". Insiders. ABC. 29 June 2003. Archived from the original on 18 May 2006. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
- "Chris Hurford". Insiders. The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Library. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 18 November 2007.
| Minister for Housing and Construction
| Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs
| Minister for Community Services
|Parliament of Australia|
| Member for Adelaide
| Australian Consul General in New York