Graham Richardson

Former ALP minister and political powerbroker

Graham ‘Richo’ Richardson has a reputation as one of Australia’s foremost political operators and right-wing powerbrokers, despite having retired from politics in 1994.

Graham Richardson joined the Australian Labor Party in 1966 when he was seventeen and soon apprenticed himself to the powerbrokers in the NSW Right, some of the toughest men in the Labor Party.

So began a successful and colourful political career that took him from Labor Party branch organiser to General Secretary of the Australian Labor Party (NSW Branch), Senator for New South Wales for the ALP and a senior minister in the Hawke and Keating governments, making him one of the Labor Party’s key figures until his retirement. In his 11 years in federal politics, Graham held the ministerial portfolios of Environment, Arts, Sport, Tourism, Territories, Social Security, Transport, Communications and Health.

Richo came to personify political ruthlessness and established the NSW Right of the Labor Party as a formidable political force on the national scene. He became famous for the line “whatever it takes” in reference to Labor doing “whatever it takes” to retain power. This also became the title of his best-selling account of career politics, published in 1994.

Known as a king-maker, Graham Richardson had a significant influence on a great many political careers. He was instrumental in replacing Bill Hayden as federal leader with Bob Hawke in 1983 then Hawke with Paul Keating in 1991.

After leaving politics in 1994, Richo spent eight years working for various parts of the Packer empire. As ‘Special Commentator’ for the Nine Network his role included political commentary for election coverage (State and Federal) as well as reports for Sunday and A Current Affair and a regular spot on the Saturday morning Today program.

In 1996 Graham joined the board of the Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee (SOCOG) and was also the Mayor of the Olympic Village.

He is currently a political commentator for Channel Seven. He also talks politics, business and the latest news on Sky News and 2GB, is a guest panellist on ABC-TV’s Q&A and a guest commentator in The Australian, to name but a few.

As a speaker, Richo brings politics to life with much drama and humour, providing insights into Australian politics and the behind-the-scenes machinations. As Peter Meakin, Channel Seven’s head of news and current affairs has said, “It is pretty hard to separate Graham Richardson from Australian politics.”

With his unblinking eye for human frailty, Graham Richardson has an extraordinary ability to tell uncomfortable political home truths. He is also an excellent commentator on the many and varied issues facing Australians today.

Graham Richardson talks about:

  • Issues facing Australians today
  • Law and Politics
  • Media

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