Richard Alston (politician)

Richard Kenneth Robert Alston AO (born 19 December 1941) is a former member of the Australian Senate from 1986 to 2004, representing the state of Victoria for the Liberal Party. He served as the Federal President of the Liberal Party of Australia from 2014 to 2017.[1]

Richard Alston

Richard Alston.jpg
President of the Liberal Party of Australia
In office
25 June 2014 – 24 June 2017
LeaderTony Abbott
Malcolm Turnbull
Preceded byAlan Stockdale
Succeeded byNick Greiner
Senator for Victoria
In office
7 May 1986 – 10 February 2004
Preceded byAlan Missen
Succeeded byMitch Fifield
Personal details
Richard Kenneth Robert Alston

(1941-12-19) 19 December 1941 (age 78)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Political partyLiberal Party
Alma materUniversity of Melbourne;
Monash University


Alston was educated at Xavier College (Kew), the University of Melbourne and Monash University, graduating with bachelor's degrees in law, arts and commerce from Melbourne University and master's degrees in Law and Business Administration from Monash University. He was a barrister before entering politics.

On 7 May 1986 Alston was appointed by the Parliament of Victoria under section 15 of the Australian Constitution to fill the vacancy in the Australian Senate caused by the death of Senator Alan Missen. He was re-elected in 1987, 1990, 1996 and 2001.[2]

Alston was a member of the Opposition Shadow Ministry from 1989 to 1996, and was Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate 1993–96. Shadow Minister for Social Security, Child Care and Superannuation, as well as Communications and the Arts, were among the positions he held in the shadow ministry. He was Minister for Communications and the Arts 1996–97, Minister for Communications, the Information Economy and the Arts 1997–98 and Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts 1998–2003. He was also Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate 1996–2003.

Alston resigned from the Senate on 10 February 2004,[2] and he was replaced by Mitch Fifield. From February 2005 to February 2008, Alston served as Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. Since 2004 he has been an Adjunct Professor of Information Technology at Bond University.[3]

Since leaving Parliament, Alston has served as Chairman of three listed Australian companies and as a director of a number of listed public companies in both Australia and the United Kingdom

These have been in fields as diverse as information technology, broadcasting services, sandalwood, public relations, advertising and ironsands.

Alston served as a member of the international board of CQS LLP,[4][5] a United Kingdom-based hedge fund for seven years and remains a director of its Australian subsidiary. Alston also served for six years as director of United Kingdom-based public company, Chime PLC.[6]

Alston is currently Chairman of Amex Ltd,[7] and the Waratah Group of companies,[8] and Chairman of the advisory board of Australian long short fund of Qato Capital[9] and agricultural producer Sunny Ridge Pty Ltd.

He is also a director of China Telecom Australia, Balmoral Gardens Pty Ltd,[10] and a member of the national board of CPA Australia.[11]

His brother is noted academic Philip Alston.

At the 2015 Australia Day Honours, Alston was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, to international relations through diplomatic roles, to business development in diverse sectors, and to the community.[12] Alston was also awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service as Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts.[13]


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b "Biography for ALSTON, the Hon. Richard Kenneth Robert". Parliament of Australia Parliamentary Library. Retrieved 30 November 2007.
  3. ^ "The Honourable Richard Alston". Alumni. Monash University. Archived from the original on 1 April 2012. Retrieved 13 February 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Chime unveils board changes". Interactive Investor. Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "QATO | Our Team". Retrieved 30 August 2016.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the General Division" (PDF). Official Secretary to the Governor-General of Australia. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
  13. ^ "Richard Kenneth Alston". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 1 January 2001. Retrieved 26 January 2015.
Political offices
Preceded by
Michael Lee
Minister for Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts

Succeeded by
Daryl Williams
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Alan Missen
Senator for Victoria
Succeeded by
Mitch Fifield
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Michael L'Estrange
Australian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
Succeeded by
John Dauth