Morris Iemma

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Morris Iemma (/ˈjɛmə/; born 21 July 1961), is a former Australian politician and 40th Premier of New South Wales, succeeding Bob Carr. Iemma led the Australian Labor Party to victory in the 2007 election before resigning as Premier on 5 September 2008, and as a Member of Parliament on 19 September 2008.[1]

Parliamentary career

In 1991 Iemma was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the seat of Hurstville,[2] defeating a sitting Liberal member, with the slogan "A local who listens". When the seat of Hurstville was abolished in 1999, he won a tough pre-selection battle for the safe seat of Lakemba, which included part of the old seat of Hurstville. Iemma held Lakemba until his resignation in 2008.[2]

Iemma was Minister for Public Works and Services and Minister Assisting the Premier on Citizenship (1999-2003), and as Minister for Sport and Recreation (2001-2003), and was Minister for Health (2003-2005).[3] His tenure as Health Minister was generally free of major controversy, although he has said of the Health portfolio: "it is one of the biggest and most difficult jobs in government".[3]

First ministry

When Bob Carr announced his intention to retire as New South Wales Premier on 3 August 2005, Iemma immediately announced his candidacy to succeed him as leader of the NSW Labor Party and thus as Premier. Police Minister Carl Scully was also a candidate, but on 29 July he withdrew. Iemma was the only candidate when the Labor Caucus met on 2 August to elect a new leader. He was formally appointed by Professor Marie Bashir, the Governor of New South Wales, on 3 August.[4]

Second ministry

On 15 July 2007, after several failures on the NSW rail system, Iemma claimed that the government was at war with rail unions.[5] In November 2007 the Iemma government lifted the ban on genetically modified canola production and started the process of privatising the state's electricity system. On 3 May 2008 the New South Wales ALP's State Conference rejected, by 702 to 107 votes, the Iemma government's plans to privatise the state's electricity system.[6]


On 5 September 2008, Iemma announced his resignation as Premier after losing the support of his caucus faction over the details of a proposed cabinet reshuffle sparked by the resignation of Deputy Premier John Watkins. Iemma had proposed that five other Ministers also depart, including Treasurer Michael Costa and Health Minister Reba Meagher. Iemma's faction, Centre Unity, supported the sacking of the Treasurer but not the other four Ministers. Faced with this rejection, Iemma resigned.[7] The caucus unanimously selected Nathan Rees as his Premier in his stead.[8]

Iemma resigned from parliament on 19 September 2008, ending his 17-year political career, and forcing a by-election in the seat of Lakemba.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Salusinszky, Imre (19 September 2008). "Morris Iemma quits, forcing fourth by-election". The Australian.,25197,24370116-601,00.html. Retrieved 19 September 2008.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Lakemba - 2008 New South Wales By-elections". ABC News (Australia). 2008-10-30. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Benson, Simon; Hildebrand, Joe (2008-09-05). "Morris Iemma quits politics to be husband and father". The Daily Telegraph (Australia). Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  4. Davies, Anne; Pearlman, Johnathan (2005-07-30). "Introducing your new premier". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2011-04-22.
  5. Benson, Simon (18 July 2007). "Rail unions under pressure". The Daily Telegraph (Australia).,22049,22091533-5001021,00.html.
  6. "NSW electricity privatisation bid rejected". ABC News (Australia). 3 May 2008.
  7. Smith, Alexandra; Robins, Brian (5 September 2008). "NSW Premier Morris Iemma resigns". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2008.
  8. Smith, Alexandra; Robins, Brian (5 September 2008). "Nathan Rees confirmed as new NSW Premier". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 5 September 2008.