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Michael Field

Michael Field in 1975 (Parliament of Tasmania)

Michael Walter Field AC (b 1948), politician, from Railton, was a schoolteacher before entering the House of Assembly for Braddon in 1976. As Labor Premier and Treasurer 1989–92, he steered Tasmania away from the threat of bankruptcy by restraining spiralling public debt in difficult political circumstances, and established a template for fiscal management. With the Labor Party unable to govern in its own right, Field formed an accord with the Tasmanian Greens which eventually broke down in acrimonious conflict eighteen months later. He led a minority government until the 1992 election, which saw Labor punished with its lowest vote since 1910. Field left parliament as Leader of the Opposition in 1997. In recognition of his achievements, in 2003 he was awarded Companion in the general division of the Order of Australia.

Further reading: Who's who in Australia, 2004; Tasmanian Parliamentary Library, Biographical information file.

Wendy Rimon