Paul Keating was elected to the Australian Federal Parliament in 1969. He was appointed Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Australia upon the election of the Hawke Labor Government in 1983. During the eight-and-a-half years of his Treasurership, he presided over the dismantling of the protectionist economic framework that had existed for a century. Opting for an open, competitive economic model, his reforms have since underpinned twenty consecutive years of low inflationary economic growth in Australia.
He became Prime Minister in December 1991, and led the Australian Labor Party to an historic fifth term of government in March 1993. As Prime Minister until 1996, he championed a clutch of seminal changes. These included the reorientation of Australia's strategic and trade relationships with Asia, laying down a framework for Australia's shift to a republic and the development of a major legal structure to return lands - for the first time - to Australia's indigenous people.