The Hon. Matthew John Buckley (b. August 24, 1941) is a Georgeland political figure who was the 21st Chief Minister of Capitalia from 1986 until 1997. He was also an unsuccessful candidate for Governor of Capitalia in 2005, a past Vice President of the Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands and the current President of the Capitalia Institute for Political Studies in New Kikipolis. He is a candidate for the 2008 Presidential election, announcing his candidacy for the Liberal Democratic nomination on September 10, 2007.
|Position||21st Chief Minister of Capitalia|
|Term in office||May 19, 1986 - July 24, 1997|
|Preceded by||Frank McLean|
|Succeeded by||Marina Armstrong|
|Total time in office||11y 3m 5d|
|Born||24 August 1941|
|Spouse|| Elizabeth Buckley (married 1972, divorced 1999)
Tania Buckley (married 2004)
Early life and education
Buckley was born in Gateshead, an outer suburb of New Kikipolis, in 1941. His father, James, was an officer in the Georgeland Navy who fought in the Second World War. After the war, Buckley's father became a teacher. Buckley was educated at King's College in New Kikipolis and then at the University of Capitalia, from which he graduated in 1964 with a liberal arts degree. His involvement in politics began at university, where he joined the Labour Party, inspired to liberal politics by the election of John F. Kennedy as U.S. President in 1960. Buckley has said he was personally 'devastated' by Kennedy's assassination.
Rise to power
After some time working in the private sector, as a political staffer and speechwriter and briefly as a journalist, Buckley was selected as the Labour Party's candidate for the state legislature seat of Wickham in 1970. He was elected with 53% of the vote. After entering the legislature, Buckley sat on a number of committees. He was briefly Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport in the government of Glenn Seacombe, but the Seacombe government was defeated only five weeks later.
In 1981, Buckley was made the Shadow Minister for Arts and Tourism. That same year, the Arts minister, Stephen Walker, was forced to resign after Buckley's allegations in Parliament that Walker had granted arts funding to his daughter's university without departmental approval. The success earned Buckley a promotion after the 1982 state election to Shadow Minister for Planning, Transport and Urban Services. When opposition leader Nathan Hegelby stood down in October 1983, Buckley was elected to replace him.
Buckley was popular as opposition leader, though he was aided by the fact that the first two Conservative Chief Ministers after the party's 1977 election win, Neil Shorrock and Alexander Brophy, had both resigned after financial irregularities. The party had made gains at the 1982 election, and by 1985, Buckley led incumbent Chief Minister Frank McLean by twelve percentage points. At the 1986 state election, Buckley was elected with a majority of seventeen in the state legislature.
Buckley Government (1986-1997)
Upon his election, Buckley emarked on am ambitious reform program to "modernise" the state's infrustructure and government. In his first 100 days of office, Buckley passed 74 bills, a record which still stands in Capitalia. Among these laws were economic reforms to deregulate many of the state's industries, media ownership reforms, changes to land rights for farmers, and significant social reforms. Among these was Georgeland's first legislation granting domestic partnership rights, such as insurance rights and power of attorney, to same-sex couples. Buckley was also an advocate of abortion rights and formally legalised abortion in Capitalia in 1987.
In 1990, Buckley won a second term as Chief Minister, with a larger majority and share of the vote. Buckley signed a number of deals with the federal government for increased state funding for healthcare and education, on condition he meet certain outcomes in those areas. He also introduced laws to deregulate and privatise the country's power generation industry. These laws, contraversial at the time, were later cited as precedent for Robin Sales' attempt to do the same thing in East Mainland in 2003.
In 1993, speculation increased that Buckley, after six years as Chief Minister, would not contest the next state election and would instead seek federal office as one of Labour's most successful modern leaders. Instead, Buckley called a snap election for August 20, which his party won but with a reduced majority. This did not entirely end speculation about Buckley's future. In 1995-96, Buckley supported the Rhodes federal government's attempts to gain federal control over abortion laws, and Buckley came to be seen as a firm Rhodes ally. Also during Buckley's third term, the government began a Farmers Aid program in drought-affected areas, which was met with popularity in the rural community but dissatisfaction and resentment in the cities. Buckley was defeated at the 1997 state election by a resurgent Conservative Party led by Marina Armstrong, who became the state's first woman Chief Minister. Buckley immediately resigned as Labour leader and from his state legislature seat.
Buckley retired from politics and took up a position as a visiting Lecturer at the University of Mainland and authored two books on his time in power: A Labour Revolution (1998) and The Buckley Files (2000). In addition, he followed Campbell Rhodes and his supporters into the formation of the United Islands Liberal Party in 1999. Buckley was courted by the Liberals to run for a Senate seat in 2001, and in his autobiography Political Animal, Rhodes said that he offered Buckley "a free six-year job" by offering to lean on the state party machine to select Buckley as a Senator to replace David Fortune, who had died. In the book, Rhodes said Buckley was "all set" to accept the Senate position but "at the eleventh hour" turned it down. Rhodes expressed bewilderment at this decision.
In 2004, Buckley joined the Liberal Democratic Party of the United Islands upon its formation and was elected its first Senior Vice President. He did not seek another term in 2005. In mid-2004, Buckley accepted a position as President of the Capitalia Institute for Political Studies.
In March 2005, Buckley announced he would seek to become the state's next Governor. In Capitalia, political parties are not permitted to run or endorse Gubernatorial candidates, and Buckley resigned his Liberal Democratic membership in order to run. Buckley was initially the front-runner, but over the course of the campaign was overtaken in the polls by his former party colleague in the legislature, Emma Hewitt, who went on to win the election with 43% of the vote - Buckley scored just 19%. After the election, speculation was rife as to why Buckley had lost, with one common conclusion being that he was too strongly identified with a particular party, while Hewitt, though she had once been Labour, was now a genuine Independent.
After the election, Buckley rejoined the LDP.
On September 10, 2007, Buckley announced he would seek to become the Liberal Democratic candidate in the Presidential election due in May 2008. Candidates will be chosen on January 28 at a special LDP convention. Buckley entered the race as the second LDP candidate, with front-runner Andrea Perkins still enjoying significant party support. However, notably, Buckley's strong identification with the party's Right wing has the potential to swing votes in his favour, as party heavyweights may choose to support him over Perkins. The party's current federal leader, Robin Sales, did not directly endorse Buckley but said he would be "a good candidate". Buckley was endorsed, however, by Shannon DeVere, the Chief Minister of Bradmarch and a powerful party figure.
|Chief Minister of Capitalia|
May 19, 1986 - July 24, 1997
|Leader of the Capitalia Opposition|
October 1, 1983 - May 19, 1986