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Ian Murray McLachlan AO (born 2 October 1936) is a former Australian politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives from 1990 to 1998, representing the Liberal Party. He was Minister for Defence in the Howard Government from 1996 to 1998. Before entering politics, he served as president of the National Farmers Federation from 1984 to 1988. He played first-class cricket as a youth.

Ian McLachlan

Ian McLachlan.jpg
McLachlan in 1998
Minister for Defence
In office
11 March 1996 – 21 October 1998
Prime MinisterJohn Howard
Preceded byRobert Ray
Succeeded byJohn Moore
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Barker
In office
24 March 1990 – 31 August 1998
Preceded byJames Porter
Succeeded byPatrick Secker
Personal details
Born (1936-10-02) 2 October 1936 (age 82)
North Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Political partyLiberal


Early lifeEdit

Born in North Adelaide, McLachlan was educated at St. Peter's College, Adelaide, where he first displayed his cricketing prowess, and Jesus College at the University of Cambridge.[1]

He played 72 matches of first-class cricket for Cambridge University and South Australia between 1956 and 1964, scoring 3743 runs at an average of 31.72, with 9 centuries while completing his bachelor and masters in Law.[2]

Professional lifeEdit

His business career includes managing director of Nangwarry Pastoral Co. Pty. Ltd., deputy chairman of SA Brewing Pty. Ltd (1983–1990), director of Elders IXL Ltd. (1980–1990) and president of the National Farmers Federation (1984–1988). He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in January 1989 for "service to primary industry".[3] He was a long term president (till 2014) of the South Australian Cricket Association.

Ian McLachlan
Personal information
BowlingRight-arm leg-spin
RelationsBrother, Angus McLachlan
Nephew, Gillon McLachlan
Nephew, Hamish McLachlan
Domestic team information
1956 to 1958Cambridge University
1960-61 to 1963-64South Australia
Career statistics
Competition First-class
Matches 72
Runs scored 3743
Batting average 31.72
100s/50s 9/17
Top score 188*
Balls bowled 606
Wickets 6
Bowling average 63.66
5 wickets in innings
10 wickets in match
Best bowling 2/33
Catches/stumpings 40/–
Source: Cricket Archive, 16 November 2013

Political lifeEdit

McLachlan was the member for Barker from 1990 until 1998 when he retired. He was Federal Minister for Defence from 1996 to 1998.[4]

There was an earlier attempt to get McLachlan into Parliament in the lead-up to the 1987 election. According to John Howard, then Opposition Leader, stated in 2014 that Liberal MP Alexander Downer had offered to stand aside from his seat of Mayo in favour of McLachlan but the offer was declined.[5]

It was revealed in 2006 that McLachlan was present at a meeting between John Howard and Peter Costello, arranging a handover of power after one and a half terms if Howard was allowed to become opposition leader without challenge, and then won office from the Australian Labor Party (ALP). Howard later reneged on this deal, leading to controversy and public bickering between Prime Minister Howard and Treasurer Costello.[6][7] The revelation was made by McLachlan himself and Howard later said in The Howard Years documentary series that he had decided to handover the Prime Ministership to Costello in 2006 but changed his mind as a result of the revelation of the deal. McLachlan therefore cost Costello his final opportunity to become Prime Minister.


  1. ^ Wisden 1958, p. 291.
  2. ^ Ian McLachlan at CricketArchive
  3. ^ "McLachlan, Ian Murray". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
  4. ^ "Biography for McLachlan, the Hon. Ian Murray, AO". ParlInfo Web. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 24 February 2008.
  5. ^ A Country Road: The Nationals Episode 2
  6. ^ Howard, Costello rift deepens, Jim Middleton, Lateline, ABC TV (10 July 2006)
  7. ^ Costello bombshell on PM 'deal', AAP, SMH (10 July 2006)
Political offices
Preceded by
Robert Ray
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
John Moore
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
James Porter
Member for Barker
Succeeded by
Patrick Secker