1947 – He was born on the 8th day of April this year in Melbourne, Victoria, and was educated at Monash University, Melbourne, where he graduated in arts and education.
1981 – He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Senate since July of this year.
1987 – He was Minister for Home Affairs in the Hawke Labor government.
1988 – He became Minister for Immigration, Local Government and Ethnic Affairs until 1990.
1990 – He became the Minister for Defense until 1996.
1996 – After the defeat of the Keating government in this year, he did not seek election to the Opposition Shadow Ministry, but remained a powerful figure in the Labor Party.
2003 – His influence diminished when Mark Latham became Leader in this year.
2007 – He is expected to retire at this year’s election, in which case his term would expire on 30 June 2008.