MARK Dreyfus may lack the public profile and factional muscle of recent ALP appointees, but a stellar legal career and solid performance as parliamentary secretary for climate change made him an obvious successor to Nicola Roxon.
The new Attorney-General was a key player in the passing of the carbon tax legislation and helped restore credibility to the government’s embattled climate change agenda.
The 56-year-old Queen’s Counsel was a latecomer to federal politics when he won the Melbourne seat of Isaacs in 2007, but has since proven a steady hand in a government riven by instability. Unknown to many outside the legal fraternity, Dreyfus’ most memorable parliamentary exchange involved claims he branded Liberal frontbencher Sophie Mirabella a ”bitch” during a heated debate on the carbon tax. He denied the allegation, but later withdrew unspecified ”unparliamentary language”.
A former field officer with the Northern Land Council in Darwin, Mr Dreyfus has been a strong advocate of indigenous issues and was at the centre of several landmark legal cases, including the stolen generations litigation before the High Court. He also played a key role in drafting the apology speech delivered by Kevin Rudd.
His legal career delivered not only respect but financial reward. A BRW politicians’ rich list in 2011 placed him at No. 5 – Malcolm Turnbull and Kevin Rudd were one and two.
A former student of Scotch College and Melbourne University graduate, Mr Dreyfus supports equality in education, railing against the ”broken” federal schools funding system.
A gifted student, Mr Dreyfus was a regular contributor to Satura, the school newspaper at Scotch.
The newspaper’s editor, Mike Nicholson, presciently told Fairfax Media last October: ”Forty years on, he probably should have a frontbench position in the ALP government.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.