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Simon Crean

Simon Crean (born 1949) is an Australian politician, leader of the Australian Labor Party, which is currently in Opposition at the Federal level.

Crean was born in Melbourne, in the state of Victoria. Graduating from Monash University with degrees in economics and law, he joined the ACTU[?], eventually rising to the post of President in 1985.

Since 1990, he has been the member for the federal electorate[?] of Hotham[?], and since that date he has also held several ministerial portfolios. From 1996 to the election defeat in November 2001, he held the post of Deputy Leader and Shadow Treasurer, from which he led dogged parliamentary attacks on the government. Whilst somewhat effective, the "bad cop" role to Kim Beazley[?]'s "good cop" has probably contributed to his somewhat unappealing image with the electorate.

He was elected unopposed as the leader of the Australian Labor Party on November 22, 2001.

On February 4, 2003, Crean made a speech condemning the Prime Minister's stance on the proposed war with Iraq, saying that the Prime Minister "expects those of us left behind to defend ourselves with a fridge magnet".

Through most of 2003, consistently poor polling led to constant speculation of a leadership challenge by Beazley, though a reasonably successful Budget reply speech and the controversy over Peter Hollingworth gave Crean a small fillip. Nevertheless, to end the constant rumblings over a challenge, Crean called for a leadership spill. The resulting public contest almost resembled an American presidential primary, despite the fact that only the Labor members of federal parliament vote on their leader. Polls continued to suggest that the public much preferred Beazley to Crean; nevertheless, when the vote was taken on June 16, 2003, Crean won very comfortably with 58 votes to 34.

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