Michael Wooldridge

Michael Richard Lewis Wooldridge (born 7 November 1956) is an Australian doctor, company director, and a former politician. He was a Member of the Australian House of Representatives for the Liberal Party representing the Division of Chisholm, Victoria, between 1987 and 1998, and representing the Division of Casey, Victoria, between 1998 and 2001. He was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party from March 1993 to May 1994.

Dr Michael Wooldridge
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Chisholm
In office
11 July 1987  3 October 1998
Preceded byHelen Mayer
Succeeded byAnna Burke
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Casey
In office
3 October 1998  8 October 2001
Preceded byBob Halverson
Succeeded byTony Smith
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
13 March 1993  23 May 1994
LeaderJohn Hewson
Preceded byPeter Reith
Succeeded byPeter Costello
Personal details
Born (1956-11-07) 7 November 1956
Political partyLiberal Party of Australia
RelationsMary Wooldridge (sister)
Alma materMonash University

Early years

Wooldridge attended Scotch College, Melbourne before attending Monash University's medical school, from where he graduated in 1981.

Federal political career

During his time in Opposition he was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party and therefore the Deputy Leader of the Opposition from March 1993 to May 1994. In May 1994, Liberal Leader John Hewson called a spill for both the leader's and deputy's positions. Hewson lost to Alexander Downer while Wooldridge withdrew at the last minute as it became clear he did not have the numbers to beat Downer's running mate Peter Costello.

Wooldridge's demise as deputy leader came as a result of an opinion poll that showed only 4% of voters preferred him as Liberal leader despite Wooldridge himself stating he had no desire to become leader. In response to this poll, Wooldridge argued on The 7.30 Report that 4% was a good result for a deputy leader as the deputy leader was not meant to be an alternative leader. Ironically, the man who would replace Wooldridge as deputy leader, Peter Costello, not only did not succeed in his ambitions to become leader but also became the party's longest-serving deputy leader.

In 1996, the Liberal and National Parties were elected to Government and Wooldridge served as Minister for Health and Family Services from 1996 to 1998 and Minister for Health and Aged Care from 1998 up to his retirement in 2001. During his last term, he transferred from his marginal seat of Chisholm to the somewhat friendlier seat of Casey.

During this time he instituted significant and widespread changes to general practice. By setting up and responding to the report: "General Practice, Responding to the Future With Partnerships",[1] he commenced a reform process that cemented the divisions of general practice as change agents, took responsibility for training GPs away from the RACGP and into the hands of an independent body (General Practice Education and Training), and instituted the Practice Incentives Program. He was forced to make a public apology to the President of the Australian Medical Association at the time, Kerryn Phelps in 2001[2] for publicly claiming she had no medical qualifications.[3] During Woolridge's term as Health Minister, he was criticised for having close links with multinational drug company, Pfizer[4] that impacted the independence of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee (PBAC). Wooldridge was also criticised for appointing Pat Clear, a former executive of Glaxo-Wellcome Australia who had recently retired as head of Medicines Australia (then known as the Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers' Association) to the committee of the PBAC, prompting the immediate resignation of the Chair of the committee, Don Bikkett, and leading to the refusal of five of the other committee members to be reappointed.[5]

Career after politics

In 2002, Wooldridge's contract with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners was terminated due to allegations from the Australian Medical Association and the Federal Opposition that his involvement in the allocation of the $5,000,000 represented a conflict of interest; in 2003 the parties settled and Wooldridge received a $382,500 payout.[6] In 2006, Wooldrige was appointed 'Lead Independent Director' of the ASX listed Australian Pharmaceuticals Industry Limited.[7] In September 2009, Wooldrige was invited to join a panel hosted by CSL Limited "a major manufacturer [of flu vaccine] in a US$2 billion influenza industry"[8] hosted by the company to dispel myths about swine flu vaccination[9]

Wooldridge has served or is currently serving on the Boards of Resonance Health Ltd, Dia-b Tech Limited (resigned in 2009, company since de-listed) and a Director of CogState Ltd. He is currently Chairman of Neurosciences Australia, Healthsource Australia (Ministerial Advisory Committee on AIDS, Sexual Health and Hepatitis), the CRC for Mental Health and the Oral Health Cooperative Research Centre. He is also Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne.[10]

In December 2013, Wooldridge and four other directors of Australian Property Custodian Holdings Ltd (APCHL) were found liable by the Federal Court for breaching their duties as officers of APCHL. APCHL was the responsible entity of the Prime Retirement and Aged Care Property Trust (Prime Trust), a managed investment scheme which owned retirement villages in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. APCHL collapsed in 2010 when administrators were appointed owing investors approximately $550 million.[11] On 2 December 2014 he was banned as a company director for more than two years over his role in Prime Trust. Other directors, including founder Bill Lewski, received bans up to 15 years.[12]

Wooldridge also serves on the board of the anti-wind energy activism organisation, the Waubra Foundation,[13] along with other prominent anti-wind energy activists, including Sarah Laurie,[14][15] Peter Mitchell.[16] and Kathy Russell.[17][18][19][20][21] The Waubra Foundation promotes the view that wind turbines cause ill health.[22] Wooldridge and family are objectors to the Bald Hills wind farm in Gippsland Victoria.[23][24]

Michael Wooldridge is the brother of Mary Wooldridge, Mental Health Minister in the Victorian State Government 2010-14.


  1. General Practice, Changing the Future Through Partnerships: Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra, 1998
  2. "Wooldridge and Phelps bury the hatchet". ABC Radio PM. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 July 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2001.
  3. "transcript of ABC radio". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 2001. Archived from the original on 16 September 2010. Retrieved 24 May 2001.
  4. "Paying the Price". ABC TV Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2 February 2001.
  5. Loff, Bebe; Cordner, Stephen (10 February 2001). "Australian government loosens its grip on the pharmaceutical industry". The Lancet. 357 (9254): 453. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(05)71269-1. PMID 11273078.
  6. "The Age Newspaper". Melbourne: The Age Newspaper. 31 July 2003. Retrieved 31 July 2003.
  7. "API Board of Directors". Australian Pharmaceuticals Industry Limited. 2006. Retrieved 1 February 2006.
  8. "CSL Limited". CSL Limited. 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  9. "The Australian News". The Australian Newspaper. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 1 October 2009.
  10. "CogState Board of Directors". CogState Ltd. 2009. Archived from the original on 17 June 2010. Retrieved 27 June 2010.
  11. Australian Securities and Investment Commission http://www.asic.gov.au/asic/asic.nsf/byheadline/13-339MR+Prime+Trust+directors+found+to+have+breached+duties?openDocument
  12. Georgia Wilkins, Sydney Morning Herald, 2 December 2014. Former minister Michael Wooldridge cops ban over Prime Trust collapse. Retrieved 9 December 2014
  13. "The Weekly Times Newspaper". The Weekly Times Newspaper. 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
  14. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "Australia". The Spec. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  16. "Parliament of Australia: Senate: Committees: Community Affairs Committee: The Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms: Submissions Received". Aph.gov.au. Archived from the original on 25 October 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  17. Kathy Russell. "Quadrant Online – The Great Renewable Energy Rort". Quadrant.org.au. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  18. "Claims of wind farm illness – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Australia: ABC. 1 March 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  19. "Protecting the spa country – Tuki Retreat/Tuki Trout Farm Proponents". Spacountryguardians.org.au. 24 July 2008. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  20. "Surf Coast Shire – Home" (PDF). Surfcoast.vic.gov.au. Archived from the original (PDF) on 17 March 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  21. "Mt Pollock protesters feel ill wind after tower vandalism – Local News – Geelong, VIC, Australia". Geelongadvertiser.com.au. 15 May 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  22. "Objectives". Waubra Foundation. Archived from the original on 24 January 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2011.
  23. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  24. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 30 March 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)



Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Helen Mayer
Member for Chisholm
Succeeded by
Anna Burke
Preceded by
Bob Halverson
Member for Casey
Succeeded by
Tony Smith
Political offices
Preceded by
Carmen Lawrence
Minister for Health and Family Services
Succeeded by
Jocelyn Newman
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Succeeded by
Kay Patterson
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Reith
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
Succeeded by
Peter Costello
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