Senator the Hon. Michael Ronaldson is the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and the Special Minister of State.
Senator Ronaldson was born in Ballarat in regional Victoria. He attended Ballarat College before studying law at the University of Melbourne. Admitted to the Bar, Senator Ronaldson practised as a Barrister and Solicitor in Ballarat.
In 1981, Senator Ronaldson was elected to the City of Ballarat, where he served two terms as a councillor. In 1990 he was elected the Federal Member for Ballarat. He was re-elected in 1993, 1996 and 1998 and retired from the House of Representatives at the 2001 election. During his time in the House of Representatives, Senator Ronaldson served as the Shadow Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Schools, Vocational Education and Training. Following the election of the Howard government in 1996, Senator Ronaldson was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Development and after the 1998 election was appointed the Chief Government Whip.
Following his retirement from the House of Representatives, Senator Ronaldson was a consultant and member of a number of boards including Snowy Hydro Limited. He was Co-chair of the Australian Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial project in his home city of Ballarat where he assisted with fundraising. He served on the Administrative Committee of the Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) from 2001 to 2004. Senator Ronaldson has been a member of the Liberal Party for more than 30 years.
At the 2004 Federal election Senator Ronaldson was elected to the Senate representing the State of Victoria, with his term beginning on 1 July 2005. After the defeat of the Howard government at the 2007 general election, Senator Ronaldson was named Shadow Special Minister of State. He served as Shadow Cabinet Secretary in September 2008 until December 2009. After the 2010 general election, where he was re-elected, Senator Ronaldson was appointed Shadow Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader of the Opposition on the Centenary of ANZAC. During his time as shadow minister, Senator Ronaldson travelled extensively across Australia to meet with veterans and their families to discuss areas of concern and to identify the key issues affecting veterans and their families. Senator Ronaldson's current Senate term expires on 30 June 2017 and he will be seeking re-election.
Senator Ronaldson and his wife, Cate, still live in Ballarat and are active in their local community. They have three adult children and Senator and Mrs Ronaldson have recently become grandparents. A keen but average golfer and a long-suffering supporter of the Melbourne Football Club, Senator Ronaldson is a passionate advocate for the needs of rural and regional Australia. He has pledged to use his time as the Minister for Veterans' Affairs to ensure that Australia does not repeat the mistakes of the past with current and future generations of veterans. He believes that the forthcoming Centenary of Anzac gives Australia an opportunity to ensure current and future generations understand the obligations a nation has to those who have served their nation, to veterans and their families now and into the future.