Open main menu

Martin John Ferguson, AM (born 12 December 1953), Australian politician, was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from March 1996 until August 2013 representing the Division of Batman, Victoria. He is a son of Jack Ferguson who was Deputy Premier of New South Wales from 1976 to 1984. His brother is Laurie Ferguson, also a long-serving federal MP.

Martin Ferguson

Martin Ferguson - World Economic Forum on East Asia 2012 crop.jpg
Ferguson at the World Economic Forum in East Asia in 2012
Minister for Resources and Energy
In office
3 December 2007 – 22 March 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byIan Macfarlane
Succeeded byGary Gray
Minister for Tourism
In office
3 December 2007 – 22 March 2013
Prime MinisterKevin Rudd
Julia Gillard
Preceded byFran Bailey
Succeeded byGary Gray
Member of the Australian Parliament for Batman
In office
2 March 1996 – 5 August 2013
Preceded byBrian Howe
Succeeded byDavid Feeney
Personal details
Martin John Ferguson

(1953-12-12) 12 December 1953 (age 65)
Sydney, New South Wales
Political partyLabor

Ferguson retired from parliament at the 2013 Australian federal election.[1]


Life and careerEdit

Born in Sydney to Mary Ellen and Jack Ferguson, he was educated at St Patrick's College, Strathfield and the University of Sydney. He was successively research officer, Assistant General Secretary and General Secretary of the Miscellaneous Workers' Union, a member of the executive of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)(ACU) 1984–90. He was Vice-President of the ACTU 1985–90 and President of the ACTU 1990–96. A member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization 1990–96, he was admitted to the Order of Australia in 1996.

Ferguson won preselection for the seat of Batman (traditionally a solid ALP electorate) in 1995, after a deal had been negotiated between the right-wing Labor Unity faction in Victoria and the ALP National Executive. At the local level, the majority Greek party membership, largely resulting from heavy branch stacking,[2] was likely to support a candidate other than Ferguson; but no local candidate was likely to receive support from the 50 per cent vote in the preselection panel which had been elected by the Victorian ALP State Conference. The other candidates, Jenny Mikakos and Theo Theophanous, then members of competing Left factions, were forced to withdraw from a local preselection plebiscite in favour of Ferguson, as a result of these negotiations.[3]

Elected to the Opposition Shadow Ministry in March 1996, Ferguson served as Shadow Minister for Regional and Urban Development and Shadow Minister for Transport and Infrastructure 2001–04. He was then Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Resources and Tourism from October 2004, being moved back to Shadow Minister for Transport, Roads and Tourism from December 2006.

On 29 November 2007, after Labor, led by Kevin Rudd, had won the federal election, Ferguson was appointed Minister for Resources and Energy and Minister for Tourism. He continued in these portfolios after Julia Gillard succeeded Rudd as prime minister in 2010.

Ferguson resigned his ministerial portfolio on 22 March 2013 after he supported an unsuccessful attempt to re-install Rudd as prime minister. He decided to leave parliament at the September 2013 election.

Uranium debateEdit

Ferguson is a supporter of uranium mining in Australia and in 2005, Ferguson addressed an Australian Uranium Conference and said "We as a community have to be part of the ever-complex question of how we clean up the world's climate. And part of that debate is going to be nuclear power."

The anti-nuclear movement in Australia is stronger than in other developed countries. Friends of the Earth have strongly opposed Ferguson's advocacy for expanding the export of uranium beyond the existing three-mine policy which Ferguson sought to overturn at the ALP's national conference in April 2007.[4] The lobby group Northern Anti Nuclear Alliance has distributed 60,000 leaflets critical of his policy in his electorate of Batman. He also supported – in scientific terms – the proposal of former Prime Minister Bob Hawke for Australia to become the world's storage facility for nuclear waste although he said that it was politically not possible.[5]

He told ABC Radio that it was wrong to ban uranium exports to the People's Republic of China: "The Labor Party adopts the view that we're open for investment. It's about economic growth and jobs in Australia. Is China to be treated any different to South Korea, Japan, France, United States? I don't think so. We don't have one rule for China in terms of overseas investment and economic growth and jobs and another rule for Japan."

Relationship with the Labor PartyEdit

On 19 May 2014, the Australian Labor Party's WA Executive endorsed a motion to expel Martin Ferguson from the Party. However he has refused to resign and continues to be a member.[6]

Coal Seam GasEdit

In the lead up to the 2015 NSW Election, Ferguson criticised NSW Labor leader Luke Foley over his proposal to ban coal seam gas extraction.[7][8]

A range of Labor figures have doubled down on efforts to oust Ferguson from the party.[9][10][11]


Ferguson come out in support for the Liberal government plan to sell 49% of the government's electricity distributors. Ferguson even went further, saying he was "ashamed of the Party" and accusing Foley and the unions of "deliberately misleading the public, creating unnecessary fear and trying to scare people."[12]

Career after politicsEdit

Since leaving parliament in 2013, Ferguson has continued to advocate for Australia's energy and resources sector. As of 2015, Ferguson is the chairman of the Advisory Board of APPEA and UCL Australia, and has commercial interests in the sector as a non-executive director of Seven Group Holdings and BG Group.[13][14] Since June 2015, Ferguson has been Chair of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA).[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Martin Ferguson announces he will retire from parliament at next election". ABC News.
  2. ^ Ernest Healy (1995), 'Ethnic ALP Branches – The Balkanisation of Labor Revisited,' People and Place, Vol.3, No.3, p.48-54
  3. ^ Lyle Allan (1995), '"Sam Benson for Batman and Australia"-Labor Preselection Problems, The Ethnic Vote and the Ghost of Benson,' People and Place, Vol.3, No.3, pp.54–56
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 10 March 2006. Retrieved 17 March 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 February 2008. Retrieved 17 March 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Labor ex-minister Martin Ferguson labels WA party's call for his ALP expulsion a 'put-up job'". ABC News.
  7. ^ "NSW State Election 2015: Martin Ferguson steps up attack on Luke Foley over CSG". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ "NSW election: Laurie Ferguson rounds on brother Martin Ferguson's privatisation stance". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 March 2015.
  10. ^ "Martin Ferguson allegations 'very serious', could face expulsion if found to have cooperated with NSW Coalition, Bill Shorten says". ABC News. 31 March 2015.
  11. ^ "Labor party members 'white hot anger' against Martin Ferguson". The Australian. 30 March 2015.
  12. ^ Business (12 March 2015). "Martin Ferguson slams NSW union 'misinformation' campaign on poles and wires". Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  13. ^ "Martin Ferguson's revolving door puts energy industry in a spin –". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  14. ^ "Facebook". Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  15. ^ "Martin Ferguson AM appointed Chair of TAA". Australian Hotels Association. Retrieved 18 April 2016.

External linksEdit

Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Brian Howe
Member for Batman
Succeeded by
David Feeney
Political offices
Preceded by
Ian Macfarlane
Minister for Resources and Energy
Succeeded by
Gary Gray
Preceded by
Fran Bailey
Minister for Tourism
Succeeded by
Gary Gray
Trade union offices
Preceded by
Ray Gietzelt
General Secretary of the Federated Miscellaneous Workers' Union
Succeeded by
Jeff Lawrence
Preceded by
Simon Crean
President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions
Succeeded by
Jennie George