THE HON. CHRIS SCHACHT – CHAIRMAN
Chris is a member of the China Cluster Executive and works closely with the SA Department of Economic Trade and Development (DTED) in his capacity as the Chair of the Sports Industry Group. The China Cluster is a private South Australian group led by industry representatives focused on providing strategic direction on South Australian trade relations with China. Subsequently, Chris’s experience and interests in China has seen him take up a greater role by becoming a member of the China Cluster’s Executive Leadership Team.
Chris has been President of the Australian Volleyball Federation since 1997 during a period of unprecedented growth for the sport internationally – volleyball being one of the top 3 sports in China. He has made numerous visits to China with representing the DTED Sports China Cluster and a number of South Australian companies.
In 2007 Chris briefed and hosted the Adelaide United Soccer Team and official delegation in Jinan, Shandong Province. In 2005 Chris and Conan were able to bring 2 sports industry related trade-missions to Shandong: Deputy Premier and Minister for Industry and Trade, the Hon. Kevin Foley Sailing Industry Group Delegation and the Minister for Recreation, Sports and Racing, the Hon. Michael Wright. These visits provided successful outcomes for the DTED China Cluster Sports Industry Group by the sale of four 49er class boats by AUSDAO to Qingdao China Olympic Sailing School. As a direct result of these DTED China Cluster trade-missions, Doyle’s Sail makers have established a high profile sail making loft in the Qingdao and provided elite level sails and services to the Beijing Olympics 2008.
During Chris’s career as a Senior Labor Party official, Senator, Federal Government Minister and now business advisor he has visited China and observed the remarkable transformation of the Chinese economy. He has been fortunate to meet a number of senior Chinese leaders such as Former Premier Zhu Ronhgi and since 1986 has made regular visits to China on an annual basis.
Chris has visited China as:
- a guest of the Communist Party of China,
- a guest of the Government of China,
- as Chairman of the Australia China Development Company
- leader of Australian Parliamentary Delegations,
- Ministerial visits,
- leading The Australia China Development Company Trade Delegations,
- privately as a Member of Parliament,
- member of South Australian State Government China Cluster Trade Delegations
- as a private businessman
- representing the Australian Volleyball Federation
During all of these visits he has met the full range of senior government, party officials, business leaders and cultural identities. For example he has met two Premiers, Ministers of various government departments, and the most senior officials of the Communist Party of China and members of the Chinese Supreme Court. In addition he has met elite Chinese sports people, senior Chinese administrators involved in organizing the Beijing Olympic Games, prominent business people involved in property development, manufacturing, retail distribution, film making, mining, energy production, agriculture and transportation.
His regular visits have enabled him to build cohesive networks and contacts with pivotal people in business and government. He has a thorough appreciation and understanding of how diplomatic and government trade arrangements operate between Australia and China.
Though not a speaker of Mandarin he has over many years studied privately the culture and history of China and has a sound understanding of how Chinese business operates and the fundamental differences from how it operates in Australia and the West.
Chris Schacht was elected to the Senate in 1987. From 1993-1996 he held various ministerial portfolios and responsibilities including Small Business, Customs, Science, Construction, the Patent Office, the Space Program and Metrology and Standards.
From March 1996 to October 1998 he was Shadow Minister for Communications and from Oct 1998 to Nov 2001 he was Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs.
Chris Schacht’s background is diverse. He grew up on a dairy farm in Gippsland. He began teaching in 1967 before moving on to become a press secretary and senior ministerial adviser for the Dunstan and Whitlam governments.
Before entering Parliament, he was a State Organiser (1975-79) and State Secretary (1979-87) of the Australian Labor Party in South Australia.
As an active backbencher, Chris Schacht chaired a number of select committees on telecommunications, pay TV, political advertising and media ownership. He was also Chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade leading a number of delegations overseas, including two human rights delegations to China. He was the founding Chairman of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.
Chris Schacht has invested in a vineyard in the Clare Valley and has become very active in representing wine grape growers in South Australia. He was a member (2005 – 2008) of the State Government’s Wine Industry Council. In 2006 the South Australian Farmers Federation appointed him as an independent chair for their rural taskforce investigating the future of sustainable agriculture in South Australia.
In 2003 he was invited to join the Board of the South Australian Craft Association and now chairs their subsidiary company, Applied Ideas, with a goal of improving the financial incomes of craft practitioners by connecting them to manufacturers and retailers.
In 2005 he joined the China Cluster; a business group with the aim of improving business between South Australia and China. He chairs the sports sub-committee of the China Cluster which has proved successful in using high-level sporting contacts in China to open up business opportunities for South Australian firms.
During his time in parliament he made a visit to China about once every 18 months. Since May 2005 he has made nearly 20 trips to China developing business opportunities. With another Australian and a Chinese partner he has established the Australia China Development Company which he chairs.
On several occasions Chris Schacht has been invited to address business groups who wish to learn more about China, its society, its culture, its politics and how to do business in this rapidly expanding economy.
Chris Schacht has been President of the Australian Volleyball Federation since 1997. He has represented Australian Volleyball at various international sporting conferences. Volleyball is one of the world’s biggest sports and in many countries the people who run volleyball are very senior members of the government and/or business. As a result Chris Schacht has found that volleyball is a good informal introduction for business contacts around the world. As president of the AVF he has attended the Sydney and Athens Olympics.
In May 2006 he was invited to address an Economic Conference in Beijing explaining the economic importance of sport in the world’s economy.
MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES – AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT
March 1993-94 Minister for Science and Small Business
Minister responsible for Customs
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Science
March 1994-96 Minister for Small Business, Customs and Construction
March 1996-Oct 98 Shadow Minister for Communications
Oct 98-Nov 01 Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
During the period 1993-96 as a Minister in the Keating Government, he was a Minister in the broad Industry portfolio. This means he had a broad range of responsibilities. Either during the whole period or at various times during the 3-year period he was a Minister, he was responsible for:
- The Industrial Property Office (Patents Office)
- Australian Civil Shipbuilding (particular emphasis on Australia’s world-leading fast ferries)
- Australian Space Program
- Industrial Standards
- Weights and Measures
- The Co-operative Research Centres
- The Franchising Industry
- The Trade Practices Act as it effects Small Business
- The delivery of various assistance programs to Small Business both domestic and export
- Development of better work practices in the civil construction industry
- Oil Code for the Petroleum Industry
- The collection of excise to the value of $15 billion per annum
- The Administration of Tariffs
- The Administration of Anti-dumping Laws
- The Administration of Tariff Policy By-laws
- The Administration of Coast Watch
- The Administration of the Customs Barrier at all ports and airports
- In cooperation with other government agencies administering the anti illicit drug program
- The Administration of the Diesel Fuel Rebate Scheme
- The Administration of the Car Industry Plan
- The Administration of the Textile, Clothing and Footwear Plan
As a Minister in the Senate, he represented in Question Time and in Senate Estimates at various times the Minister for the Environment, the Minister for Industry and the Minister for Education, Schools and TAFE.
COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY SERVICE
- Elected to the Senate in 1987, ALP Senator for South Australia
- Shadow Minister for Veterans’ Affairs (Oct 1998 to Nov 2001)
- Shadow Minister for Communications (March 1996 to Oct 1998)
- Minister for Small Business, Customs and Construction (March 1994 to March 1996)
- Minister for Science and Small Business
- Minister responsible for Customs and
- Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Science (March 1993 to March 1994)
- Completed term in Senate 30/6/02
COMMITTEE SERVICE (PARLIAMENTARY) AT THE END OF SENATE TERM JUNE 2002
- Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade
- Joint Standing Committee on Treaties
- Joint Select Committee on the Republic Referendum
- Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (Legislation) Committee
- Senate Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing
- Caucus Infrastructure, Regional and Rural Development
- Caucus Social Policy and Community Development
- Commonwealth of Australia Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association
- Australian National Group of the Inter-Parliamentary Union
- All Party Parliamentary Group on Population and Development
- Parliamentary “Aussie Rules” Group
- Amnesty International
- Co-Convenor ALP Caucus Humanist Group
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE MEMBERSHIPS
- Chair, Joint Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (1990 to 1993, Member from 1987 to 1998)
- Chair, Senate Select Committee on the Political Broadcasts & Political Disclosures Bill (August 1991 to November 1991)
- Chair, Senate Select Committee on Subscription Television Broadcasting Services (June 1992 to September 1992)
- Senate Environment, Recreation, Communications and the Arts Committees. (Deputy
- Chair of the Legislation Committee. Member of References Committee) (1996 to 1998)
- Senate Economics (Legislation & References) Committees (1996 to 1998)
- Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee (1996 to 1998)
- Senate Rural and Regional Affairs, & Transport Legislation Committee (1996 to 1998)
- Caucus Living Standards, Employment & Economic Development (1996 to 1998)
- Caucus Infrastructure, Regional and Rural Development (1996 to 1998)
- Caucus Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Committee (1987 to 1993)
- Caucus Transport and Communications Committee (1987 to 1993)
- Caucus Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories Committee (1987 to 1993)
- Prime Minister’s Country Task Force (1987 to 1993)
- Senate Standing Committee on Transport, Communications and Infrastructure (1987 to 1993)
- Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (1987 to 1998)
- Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs (1987 to 1993)
- Senate Committee on Community Standards Relevant to the Supply of Services Utilising Telecommunications Technologies (1991 to 1992)
- Senate Select Committee on Certain Aspects of the Airline Pilots Dispute (1989 to 1990)
- Joint Statutory Committee on Public Accounts (May 1990 to August 1990)
- Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (Oct 1987 to Feb 1990)
- Joint Select Committee on Retailing Sector
PATRON AND HAS BEEN PATRON OF THE FOLLOWING
- Australian Asian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
- Chinese Chamber of Commerce of South Australia
- The Burma American Fund
- Australian Defence Association
- Governers Leadership Program
During his public life Chris Schacht has been involved both informally and formally in sports administration.
1996-97 Board member Australia Volleyball Federation
1997-present President Australian Volleyball Federation
As president of AVF he is:
- a delegate to the Federation of International Volleyball,
- a Board member of the Asian Volleyball Confederation,
- a Board member of the Oceania Volleyball Zone and
- a delegate to the Australian Olympic Committee.
Since becoming involved with the administration of Australian Volleyball Chris Schacht has developed a real insight into sports administration at the club, State, National and International level.
He has attended international volleyball conferences and meetings in Asia, Europe and Latin America. He has gained a detailed knowledge of sports management issues relating to:
- increasing participation in the community
- developing elite athletes
- national teams representing Australia
- selection process
- drugs policy
- media presentation
- sale of television rights
Other Sporting Organisations
- Has been a vice-president of the Norwood Football Club
- Member of SA Crickiters Association
- A member of the Adelaide Football Club since its inception
- A member of Football Park since its inception
Parliamentary and Government involvement in sport
During his time in the Senate he was a regular attendee at Senate Estimates Committee asking questions and seeking information about the government funding and administration of sport in Australia. As a result he has a good understanding of the role of the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Institute of Sport, the various State Sports Institutes and State Sports Departments. For example, at Senate Estimate Hearings for the ASC in 2001 he called for an independent government review of soccer in Australia.
As President of Australian Volleyball Chris Schacht was involved in many discussions with the AOC, SOCOG and the FIVB leading up to the holding of the Sydney Olympic Games as it related to volleyball. During the Olympic Games he dealt with volleyball representatives from many different countries at the successful Indoor and Beach volleyball competitions.
As President of Australian Volleyball Chris Schacht was heavily involved in the preparation of the Australian volleyball teams which qualified to compete in Athens. He attended the Athens Games. He was an accredited IOC guest to the Games. He had many informal discussions with IOC members, international volleyball officials, international media and a variety of government representatives from around the world.
Chris Schacht played a prominent role in Brisbane in April 2005 in establishing a new organisation – The Olympic Sports Federations of Oceania at the meeting of the Oceania National Olympic Committees.
In early 2005 Chris Schacht was invited to Chair the SA Sports Industry Group as part of the China Cluster organisation. The China Cluster is a group of SA businesses which aim to improve business activity with China. It is endorsed by the SA Government.
- Chairman of Craft Association
- President, Australian Volleyball Federation
- Board member Craft Association of SA since 2004
- Chair of Sports Industry Group, SA China Cluster since 2005
- Director of Marathon Resources, (MTN, listed on ASX), and chairs the companies Audit Committee
- Foundation Member, Australian Republican Movement
- Member, Australian Rationalist Society
- Member, Australian Skeptics Association
- Australian Humanist Association
QUALIFICATIONS AND OCCUPATION BEFORE ENTERING FEDERAL PARLIAMENT
- State Secretary, S.A. Australian Labor Party (1979-87)
- State Organiser, S.A. Australian Labor Party (1975-79)
- Principal Private Secretary to the Postmaster General (1973-74)
- Principal Private Secretary to the Minister for Repatriation (1974-75)
- Press Secretary, S.A. Minister for Agriculture (1970-73)
- Organiser, S.A. Australian Labor Party (1969-70)
- Teacher (1967-69)
- Adelaide University (part time) (1966-68)
- DipT (Prim) Adelaide & Wattle Park Teachers College (1965-66)
- Born 1946, Melbourne, Victoria
- Married with two children and 2 grandchildren
- Interests include skiing, history, volleyball and Australian Rules football supporting Norwood and the Adelaide Crows
Chris Schacht during most of his public life, including before he became a member of the senate in 1987, has dealt with governments and non-government organisations including corporations, in various parts of the world. As early as 1975 when he was senior private secretary to Senator Bishop, Post Master General in the Whitlam government, he travelled with the minister to Sweden, Germany and Great Britain to study Post and Telecommunications organisations and he was heavily involved in the drafting of legislation that established Australia Post and Telecom Australia as independent statutory authorities.
On becoming a senator in1987 he was immediately elected a member of the Parliament’s prestigious Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, a position he held for all the years he was in parliament except when he was a minister in 1993-6, and from 1990-93 he chaired the committee. As a member and chairman of this committee he was involved in drafting reports which were subsequently tabled in parliament with most of their recommendations being adopted by government. (A list of these reports is available from Chris Schacht)
In 1992 as chairman, Chris Schacht persuaded the government and the parliament to establish a permanent Human Rights Sub-committee of the overall Joint Committee. He served as the first Chair of the Sub-committee. The committee has developed an international reputation for promoting and defending Human Rights around the world.
Chris Schacht, because of his interest in Foreign Affairs, Trade and Human Rights visited many countries representing the Australian Parliament and Government but many more privately. He gave particular emphasis on visiting countries in Asia, the South Pacific and Africa.
During these official and private visits Chris Schacht met a range of political leaders, including presidents, prime minsters, foreign ministers, cabinet ministers, parliamentary representatives, business representatives and many distinguished citizens who had contributed to the social, cultural, economic and political development of their country and the world. (Chris Schacht would be pleased to give further details of the individuals he has met).
During these visits and meetings Chris Schacht discussed Trade issues, both unilateral and multilateral, Defence arrangements, diplomatic arrangements, and Human Rights issues. At various times he lead industry delegations to countries in Asia, Human Rights delegations to China, visited refugee camps in Cambodia, Thailand, Sudan, Eritrea and Macedonia. He saw first hand Australian companies working in various parts of the world. He met many Australians working both in the private sector and for international agencies in some of the remotest parts of the world.
He developed a very good understanding of the complex issues of Aid programs both multilateral and unilateral in the Third World. He has had meetings with representatives of the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. He has met and had discussions with representatives of all of the United Nations Agencies as well as major non-government agencies such as Care Australia, World Vision, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Asia Watch, The Australian Overseas Aid Bureau and APHEDA.
Primary Industry Involvement
During his 30 years’ involvement in politics Chris Schacht always maintained a strong interest in issues relating to agriculture and regional development in Australia, and as a member of the Trade Committee of the Australian Parliament he had strong interest in supporting the export of Australian agricultural products to world markets.
His interest in agriculture reflected the fact that he grew up on a dairy farm in Victoria in the 1950′s and 1960′s.
In the early 70′s he was a ministerial adviser to the State Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forests in the South Australian Government.
In 1999 he invested in a vineyard in the Clare area of South Australia. He joined the South Australian Farmers Federation Wine Grape Growers Section.
After leaving the Federal Parliament in June 2002 he became more active within the South Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF). As a result in November 2006 he was appointed by the SAFF to be a member of the executive committee of SA Wine Grape Growers section (2006-2007).
At the same time SAFF appointed him to represent wine grape growers on the State Government’s Ministerial Wine Industry Council SAMWIC (2005-2008). The SAMWIC is made up of a broad cross section of wine industry representatives and meets several times a year to discuss issues on how to further develop the wine industry in South Australia.
In May of 2006 the executive of the SAFF invited Chris Schacht to become the independent chair of a special rural taskforce investigating the future of sustainable agriculture in South Australia.
As a result of these activities on behalf of the agricultural community of South Australia Chris Schacht is now regularly interviewed in the media on agricultural issues.
In 2003 Chris Schacht was invited to join the board of the South Australian Craft Association. This organisation consists of several hundred craft practitioners mainly in South Australia. From 2009 he as been appointed Chairman of the Association.
After joining the board he was appointed by the Craft Association to chair its subsidiary company, Applied Ideas, which has been established to improve the connections between craft people, manufacturers and retailers. In 2006 Applied Ideas was successful in winning a competitive grant from the Federal Government of nearly $200,000 to establish a structure using the internet on how designers can come together with manufacturers and retailers.
Through his work with the China Cluster in South Australia Chris Schacht has supported proposals to develop cultural industry links between Australia and China. He has been particularly involved in developing a joint film project between Australia and China.
As a result of his arts industry interest he has in recent years provided informal advice to arts bodies in South Australia on how they can become involved with like-minded bodies in China.