(born 2 June 1942) is a former Queensland National Party politician who was Premier of Queensland from December 1987 to September 1989.After a long career in the government of Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, Ahern became his successor amidst the controversy caused by the Fitzgerald Inquiry into official corruption.
In common with most National Party politicians, Ahern had a rural background.His father Jack Ahern was active in the Country Party (the former name for the National Party), in Landsborough and was campaign manager for Premier Sir Frank Nicklin.From 1964 to 1967 Jack Ahern was President of the Country Party.Michael Ahern was born in Maleny, Queensland and was educated at Conondale State School and Downlands College, Toowoomba.He then studied Agricultural science at the University of Queensland, afterwards became active in the Young Country Party.He was state president of the Young Country Party in 1967 and national president in 1968, as well as junior vice-president of the Country Party. When Nicklin retired in 1968, Ahern nominated to succeed him in his Landsborough electorate, located in the Sunshine Coast.
He handily won election to the Legislative Assembly of Queensland in the ensuing by-election, being the youngest Country member of Parliament by nearly twenty years.
When Jack Pizzey, Nicklin's successor, died, Ahern's prospects suffered a setback when the wily conservative Joh Bjelke-Petersen was elected as the Country Party's new leader.
Bjelke-Petersen viewed Ahern with unconcealed mistrust. This was founded partly on Ahern's closeness to Nicklin, whom Bjelke-Petersen had resented; partly on Ahern's youth and intellect; and partly on Ahern's Roman Catholicism, unpalatable to Bjelke-Petersen as the son of a Lutheran preacher.
Bjelke-Petersen was determined to stymie Ahern's ambitions to be in Cabinet.
For these reasons, Ahern had a long wait for ministerial preferment.
Despite this, Ahern was chosen as National Party whip in 1972.