Paul Keating was born in Sydney on 18 January 1944. He was educated at De La Salle College in Bankstown where he obtained the Intermediate Certificate in 1958. Mr Keating left school at 15, joined the Australian Labor Party at this time and in 1966 became President of the NSW Youth Council, the predecessor to Young Labor.
In 1969 Mr Keating was elected to the House of Representatives as the Member for Blaxland, centred around the suburb of Bankstown where he had lived all his life. In 1975 he became the youngest ever federal Minister and held the portfolio of Minister for Northern Australia in the Whitlam Cabinet.
Between 1976 and 1983 Mr Keating served in the Opposition Shadow Ministry and was spokesperson for a number of portfolios including agriculture, minerals and energy. During this period Mr Keating was also President of the NSW Branch of the ALP.
When the ALP was returned to Government in March 1983, Mr Keating became Treasurer, a position he held until 1991.
This role saw Mr Keating implement far-reaching economic reforms, including the progressive deregulation of the financial sector, the float of the Australian dollar, extensive tax reform and the dismantling of many protectionist barriers. These reforms assisted the expansion of the Australian economy. He was responsible for deregulating the airline and telecommunications industries and for establishing a national framework for power.
Mr Keating became Prime Minister in December 1991 and led the ALP to an historic fifth term of Government in March 1993. As Prime Minister he continued his progressive reform program which included the establishment of a National Training Authority, a national superannuation scheme to redress low national savings and labour market and training reforms which addressed Australia's long-term unemployment problems.
Other key achievements of the Keating Government included the review of the Sex Discrimination Act, the historic Mabo legislation which recognised the land rights of Australia's indigenous people and the introduction of legislation ensuring protection of endangered species.
Mr Keating raised proposals for constitutional reform to make Australia a Republic. Mr Keating focussed Australian external policy towards the Asian region. He took an active role in the establishment of APEC, the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, and initiated its annual leaders' meeting with its commitment to a regional free trade agenda. He also developed strong bilateral links with Australia's neighbours, especially Indonesia.
Following the defeat of the ALP in March 1996, Mr Keating resigned from Parliament.
He continues to take a close interest in the national issues with which he was associated in public life. Mr Keating is Visiting Professor of Public Policy at the University of New South Wales and has been awarded Honorary Doctorates in Laws from both Keio University in Tokyo and the National University of Singapore.
On 15 April 2003 Mr Keating was awarded a Doctorate of Laws LLD Honoris Causa from the UNSW in recognition of the economic and legislative reforms overseen by him as Treasurer and Prime Minister and for his work fostering better relations in the Asia-Pacific.
Mr Keating's book, Engagement: Australia Faces the Asia-Pacific, examines Australia's foreign policy objectives and achievements during his term as Prime Minister and was published in March 2000. Mr Keating married in 1975. He has four children, Patrick, Caroline, Katherine and Alexandra.