Jeff Kennett

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Jeffrey Gibb Kennett AC (born 2 March 1948), a former Australian politician, was the Premier of Victoria between 1992 and 1999. He is currently the President of Hawthorn Football Club. He was the founding Chairman, and now a Director, of beyondblue, a national depression initiative.


Early life

Kennett was born in Melbourne on 2 March 1948, and educated at Scotch College.[1] Kennett was an unexceptional student academically, but did well in Scotch's Cadet Corps Unit. His failure to rise above the middle band academically almost led him to quit school in Fourth Form (Year 10 – 1963), but he was persuaded to stay on. His Fifth and Sixth Forms were an improvement, but he was still described in school reports as "[a] confident and at times helpful boy. Sometimes irritates. Sometimes works hard" (1964), and "[a] keen, pleasant, though sometimes erratic boy" (1965).[2]

After leaving school, Kennett was persuaded by his father Ken to attend the Australian National University in Canberra, but lost interest and dropped out after one year of an economics degree. He returned to Melbourne and found work in the advertising department of the retail giant Myer – kindling an interest for advertising that would one day earn him his living.[3]

Kennett's life in the regular workforce was cut short when, in 1968, he was conscripted into the Australian Army.[4] Kennett was singled out as 'officer material' early in his career, and graduated third in his class from the gruelling Officer Training Unit (OTU) Scheyville, near Windsor, New South Wales, outside Sydney. He was posted to Malaysia and Singapore as Second Lieutenant, commander of 1st Platoon, A Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1RAR).[5] This military career (and his earlier experience in the Scotch College Cadet Corps) has been noted by many biographers as an essential formative influence on the adult Kennett's character. His sense and regard for hierarchical loyalty, punctuality, and general intolerance of dissent or disobedience may be traced to this period.[6]

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