Bachelor in Economics, Monash University, 1969. Bachelor of Laws, Monash University, 1971.
Research assistant Federated Packers Union, 1970, assistant general secretary, 1976-1979, general secretary, 1979-1985. Elected Member of Parliament for Hotham, 1990. Minister for science and technical Australian Government, 1990-1991, minister assisting the prime minister on science, 1990-1991, minister assisting the treasurer, 1990-1991, minister for primary industries and energy, 1991—1993, minister employment, education and training, 1993—1996, shadow minister industry and regional development, manager opposition business, 1996—1998, deputy opposition leader, shadow treasurer, 1998—2001, opposition leader, 2001—2003, shadow treasurer, deputy manager opposition business, 2003—2004, minister trade, 2007—2010, minister education, employment, workplace relations and social inclusion, 2010, minister regional Australia, regional development & local government, since 2010, minister for arts, since 2010.
Vice president Australian Council Trade Unions, president, 1985-1990.
Married Carole Crean, 1973. 2 children.