Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Nicholas Frank Hugo Greiner (born April 27 1947) was the parliamentary leader of the Liberal Party in New South Wales, Australia and also Premier of that state from 1988 to 1992. Greiner is married to Kathryn Greiner , a former candidate for Lord Mayor of Sydney. He has one son and one daughter.
Greiner was born in Budapest, Hungary and his parents parents subsequently moved to Vienna before moving to Australia in the early 1950s. Greiner received his childhood education in Australia before successfully completing an Bachelor of Economics with honors degree at the University of Sydney. Greiner subsequently attended Harvard Business School in the United States. After briefly working for an Idaho timber company, he returned to Australia where he joined the timber company that his family owned.
Early political career
A member of the Liberal Party of Australia, Greiner unsuccesfully sought to enter the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the seat of Willoughby in 1978. Although defeated in his first bid to enter Parliament. Greiner achieved his goal of entering Parliament by successfully contesting a 1980 by-election for the electorate of Ku-ring-gai
In 1981 Greiner unsuccessfully ran for the Liberal leadership but was narrowly defeated by John Dowd. Greiner subsequently succeeded Dowd as Opposition Leader in 1983 and went on to lead the Liberal Party into the 1984 New South Wales State Election. Highlighting allegations of corruption against the Australian Labor Party government of Premier Neville Wran during the 1984 election campaign, Greiner managed to significantly reduce the Wran government's previously overwhelming majority in the Legislative Assembly and place his party within striking distance of winning the next state election Greiner remained as Liberal Party Leader and at the 1988 New South Wales state election, his Liberal Party-National Party Coalition to a landslide election victory. Greiner subsequently became Premier of New South Wales
As Premier, Greiner established the Independent Commission Against Corruption of New South Wales (ICAC) to investigate allegations of corruption and graft against the government and within the state. Although this proved a popular measure - and the ICAC is widely considered to have served New South Wales well over the past seventeen years - some critics alleged that this was a political stunt and that Greiner trying to embarras the Labor Party by establishing a commission to investigate allegations of branch stacking and corruption while they were in government. Greiner's decision to establish the ICAC would later return to haunt him.
The Greiner government pursued a number of social and economic reforms, most notably a series of reforms to the education system that provoked much controversy and brought his government into conflict with teachers. A series of strikes on the part of teachers and the growing unpopularity of Education Minister Terry Metherell caused problems for the Greiner government during the latter stages of its first term. Metherell resigned from his position in 1990 but the disputes with teachers continued.
Although regarded as a fiscal conservative, Greiner was considered much more moderate in terms of social policy. Greiner criticized then Opposition Leader John Howard's controversial comments on immigration policy during the late 1980s and was widely respected within the ethnic community.
In 1991, buoyed by his government's strong performance in the polls, Greiner called a snap election for May 25 1991. Despite widespread predictions by political and media commentators that Greiner would be easily re-elected to a second term, the outcome produced a hung Parliament with Greiner being forced to form a minority government with the support of four Independent MPs. Greiner's parliamentary majority was further eroded with the decision of Terry Metherell to become an Independent Member of the Legislative Assembly in late 1991 and the loss of The Entrance in a 1992 by-election.
ICAC investigation and resignation
Perhaps it was with the loss of Metherell that Greiner and Environment Minister Tim Moore decided to offer Terry Metherell's position in the public service. Metherell's decision to accept the position would create the need for him to resign his parliamentary seat, which the Liberal Party was confident of winning in a by-election. Although Metherell initially agreed to the position, it sparked widespread controversy and led to an investigation by the ICAC. In 1992 the ICAC ruled against Greiner and found that the job offer had been an act of corruption. Although Greiner was inclined to contest the rulings, the four Independent MPs whom he relied upon to form a government made it clear that they would no longer support the government if he continued in office. Greiner resigned and was succeeded by John Fahey.
Charges of corruption against Greiner were later dismissed in court. He has since gone on to become an executive board member of a tobacco company.
- Gleeson, Michael; Allan, Toni, Wilkins, Michael (1992) An Act of Corruption?: Nick Greiner's Years In Power and His Unorthodox Demise (Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation] ISBN 0-7333-0263-7
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