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KERR, the Hon. Duncan James Colquhoun, SCBiography for KERR, the Hon. Duncan James Colquhoun, SC

Member for Denison (Tas) 1987-2010

Australian Labor Party

Parliamentary Service

Elected to the House of Representatives for Denison, Tasmania, 1987, 1990, 1993, 1996, 1998, 2001, 2004 and 2007. Retired prior to general elections 2010.

Parliamentary Positions

Member, Speaker's Panel from 1.6.06 to 17.10.07.

Ministerial Appointments

Minister for Justice from 24.3.93 to 11.3.96.

Attorney-General from 1.4.93 to 27.4.93.

Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs from 3.12.07 to 14.12.09.

Committee Service

House of Representatives Standing: Privileges from 8.10.87 to 19.2.90 and from 19.10.99 to 24.11.99; Legal and Constitutional Affairs from 8.10.87 to 8.2.93, from 30.5.96 to 3.8.04 and from 2.12.04 to 17.10.07; Selection from 15.5.90 to 8.2.93; Aboriginal Affairs from 16.5.90 (Chair from 16.5.90) to 4.5.92; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs from 4.5.92 (Chair from 4.5.92) to 8.2.93; Family and Community Affairs from 29.5.96 to 17.11.97; Environment, Recreation and the Arts from 17.11.97 to 31.8.98; Environment and Heritage from 20.3.02 to 17.10.07; Industry, Science and Innovation from 30.11.09 to 19.7.10; Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government from 30.11.09 to 19.7.10.

Joint Statutory: Public Accounts from 16.5.90 to 8.2.93; Corporations and Securities from 7.3.91 to 8.2.93; National Crime Authority from 8.12.98 to 1.1.03; Australian Crime Commission from 1.1.03 to 17.10.07; ASIO, ASIS and DSD from 9.12.04 to 2.12.05; Intelligence and Security from 2.12.05 to 17.10.07.

Joint Standing: Migration from 18.6.96 to 17.11.97; Treaties from 30.11.09 to 19.7.10.

Joint Select: Corporations Legislation from 2.11.88 to 13.4.89.

Conferences, Delegations and Visits

Member, Joint Parliamentary Legal and Constitutional Committee Meeting, New Zealand, July 1990.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to USSR, Mongolia and Japan, September-October 1990.

Official visits to the Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong, July 1993; Papua New Guinea, December 1993; Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France and UK, November-December 1994; Egypt, April-May 1995; Singapore, June 1995.

Attended United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto, Japan, December 1997.

Study tour, USA, January 1999.

Bilateral visits to Greece, Cyprus and Turkey, July 1999.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, April-May 2000.

Study tour, Greece, December 2000; Vanuatu, April 2001; Greece, June 2002; Papua New Guinea, January 2003; Austria, Netherlands, France, Spain and Portugal, April 2003.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to Ukraine and Bulgaria, June-July 2004.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to Fiji, April-May 2006.

Parliamentary Adviser, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), New York, September-December 2006.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to Brazil and Uruguay, June-July 2007.

Official visits to Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati, February 2008; Solomon Islands, February 2008; Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, March 2008; New Zealand, March 2008; Vanuatu, March-April 2008; Papua New Guinea, April 2008; Samoa and New Zealand, June 2008' Solomon Islands, July 2008; Samoa, July 2008; China, September 2008; New Caledonia, November 2008; Palau and the Philippines, January 2009; Papua New Guinea, March 2009; Solomon Islands, New Zealand, Niue and Tonga, May 2009; Palau, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and New Caledonia, July 2009; New Caledonia, July-August 2009; Papua New Guinea, September-October 2009.

Member, Parliamentary Delegation to Indonesia, Brunei and Laos, April 2010.

Parliamentary Party Positions

Member, Opposition Shadow Ministry from 19.3.96 to 22.11.01. Shadow Minister for Immigration from 20.3.96 to 27.3.97; Shadow Minister for Population and Immigration from 27.3.97 to 26.8.97; Assistant to the Leader of the Opposition on Multicultural Affairs from 20.3.96 to 26.8.97; Shadow Minister for the Environment from 22.4.97 to 20.10.98; Shadow Minister for the Arts from 20.10.98 to 5.9.00; Shadow Minister for Justice and Customs from 20.10.98 to 22.11.01; Shadow Minister Assisting the Shadow Minister for Population from 5.9.00 to 22.11.01.

Party Positions

Member, ALP Administrative Committee (Tas) 1976-80, 1993-96 and 1998-2002; Treasurer 1980-82.

Vice-President, ALP (Tas) 1996-97.

Delegate, ALP National Conference from 1998.

Member, ALP National Executive 1998-2004.

Other Positions

Chair, Joint Commonwealth and State Governments Taskforce on Tasmanian Employment (TASPACT) 1989-92.

Chair, National Crime Authority Inter-Governmental Committee from 24.3.93 to 11.3.96.

Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology from 2007.


Born 26.2.1952, Hobart, Tas.


Qualifications and Occupation before entering Federal Parliament

LLB (Tas), BA(SocW) (TCAE).

Barrister and social worker.

Crown Counsel, Solicitor-General's Department, Tasmania.

Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Papua New Guinea.

Principal Solicitor, Aboriginal Legal Service Ltd, New South Wales.

Legal Officer, Hobart Community Legal Service.

Appointed Senior Counsel, June 2004.


Annotated Constitution of Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby: UPNG Press, 1985.

Essays on the Constitution, Port Moresby: PNG 10th Independence Committee, 1985.

Reinventing Socialism (editor), Leichhardt, NSW: Pluto Press, 1992.

Elect the ambassador! Building democracy in a globalised world, Leichhardt, NSW: Pluto Press, 2001.


Description: inner metropolitan.

Location: it includes the city of Hobart, and the centres of Austins Ferry, Claremont, Collinsvale, Glenorchy, Glenlusk, Mt Nelson, New Town, Sandy Bay and Taroona.

Area: 221 sq km (approx.).

Electors enrolled: 68 881 (at 24.11.07).

Industries: banking and retail, tertiary education, tourism, information technology, chocolate and confectionery, catamaran construction, beers, fruit juices, zinc, steel mesh and rods, hand tools, food and timber processing, heavy transport, wholesale trade, engineering works and port facilities at Hobart.

State electorates: Denison is co-extensive with the Tasmanian House of Assembly electorate of the same name.