Peter Costello was first elected a Member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Higgins in March 1990 and re-elected on six subsequent occasions. He was elected Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia in May 1994 and served in that post to November 2007. He was Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia from 11 March 1996 to 3 December 2007, the longest serving Treasurer in Australia’s history.
Peter Costello brought down twelve consecutive Federal Budgets, including ten surpluses. During this period, he eliminated the Commonwealth Government net debt of $96 billion. Peter Costello introduced the largest tax reform in Australian history called: A New Tax System, which introduced GST, abolished seven taxes and reduced income, capital gains and company taxes.
Amongst other things during his time as Treasurer he:
• re-designed financial supervision and established new prudential and consumer regulators.
• reformed and modernised Corporations law under the CLERP program.
• established the Takeovers Panel to hear disputes over mergers and acquisitions.
• introduced the largest reform of superannuation with the abolition of tax on superannuation payouts for those over 60.
• established the Future Fund currently holding around $70 billion in assets.
• established the Higher Education Endowment Fund as a perpetual fund for the Australian University sector with an initial contribution of $6 billion.
In December 2009 Peter Costello was appointed a Guardian to Australia’s Future Fund. He is a Member of the Independent Advisory Board to the World Bank in Washington. In January 2011 he was made a Companion (AC) in the Order of Australia.
He has written a best-selling memoir published in 2008 by Melbourne University Press. Peter holds degrees from Monash University where he was, for a time, a part-time teacher in law and economics/politics, as well as a member of the University Council.
Prior to entering Parliament, he was a barrister. He was counsel in some of Australia’s best-known industrial disputes.