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Bernard Finnigan

published  First Published: 25/04/2011
Article written by: Nigel Brookson


History of Bernard Finnigan: Adelaide Minister, South Australian MP

Bernard Finnigan was born in Mount Gambier in 1972 and grew up on the family dairy farm at Eight Mile Creek with eleven other brothers and sisters.

Bernard attended Allendale East Area School and Tenison College in Mount Gambier and in 1993 received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Adelaide.

In 1992 at the age of 20, Bernard Finnigan joined the Australian Labor Party, and began work as a union official in 1995 with the South Australian branch of the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association; Australia's largest trade union, and in 2000 was assistant secretary; a position he held until 2005.

Bernard Finnigan was appointed to the Legislative Council on 2 May 2006 as the Labor Party choice to fill the remainder of the term left vacant by the death of Terry Roberts. Bernard was still very passionate about the SDA union, telling parliament:

"I am an SDA (Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association) man through and through,"

Bernard Finnigan promoted himself as a strong Catholic, and in his first address to parliament said:

"I thank them (his parents) for passing that light of faith to me," ..."I would like to acknowledge that, despite my stumbles along the way and however imperfect my efforts, I am a servant of Christ and subject of His reign in history."

Finnigan is on the record for saying his other interests include:

"economic development, industrial relations, federal-state relations, family issues and building social capital"

At the 2010 South Australian election, Finnigan was third on Labor's upper house ticket, enough to be re-elected.

With a minority of other Labor members, Bernard Finnigan joined legislative members of the Liberal and Family First parties to vote down an amendment to give same sex couples legal access to gestational surrogacy (a procedure in which a fertilised egg is implanted in a surrogate) in a conscience vote during June of 2008.

In February 2011, in what was then described as renewal of Cabinet after Kevin Foley's decision to stand down as Treasurer, Bernard Finnigan was promoted to the Rann cabinet, and held the following positions:

  • Minister for Industrial Relations
  • Minister for State / Local Government Relations
  • Minister for Gambling
  • Leader of the government in the upper house
  • Member of the Executive Council

... until his resignation from cabinet 21 April 2011.

Despite his unproven electoral appeal, Bernard Finnigan had plenty of support within the Labor Party; and no doubt would have become even more prominent in a post Rann party; in fact at the time of his resignation Bernard Finnigan MP was acting Police Minister while Kevin Foley was overseas in America.

Adelaide Minister, South Australian MP, Bernard Finnigan MP was a Minister for less than three months; 72 days to be exact.

It remains to be seen what is in store for Bernard Finnigan next; as the reason for his resignation and sudden departure still remains unclear.



Related Article: Adelaide MP Bernard Finnigan Resigns


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Tags: Bernard Finnigan, Bernard Finnigan MP, Australian Labor Party, Union, South Australian MP, Adelaide Minister, Minister, SDA, Acting Police Minister, History of Bernard Finnigan



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