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Kim Edward Beazley: Wikis


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The Honourable 
Kim Beazley

Taken in 1949

In office
19 December 1972 – 11 November 1975
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam
Preceded by Gough Whitlam
Succeeded by Margaret Guilfoyle
Constituency Fremantle

Born 30 September 1917(1917-09-30)
Northam, Western Australia, Australia
Died 12 October 2007 (aged 90)
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Nationality Australia Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Betty Judge
Children Kim Beazley, Merrilyn, David

Kim Edward Beazley, AO (30 September 1917 – 12 October 2007), known as Kim Beazley during his career, Australian politician, was Minister for Education in the government of Gough Whitlam and a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives for 32 years, from 1945 to 1977.

Beazley was educated at Perth Modern School 1933-35, the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University. He worked as a school teacher, trade union official and university tutor organiser before entering politics[1][2]:p.36 et seq He married a fellow teacher and union official, Betty Judge, on 7 February 1947.[3]

In 1945, aged 27, he succeeded John Curtin in Federal Parliament as Member for Fremantle. He was the youngest member of the House of Representatives when he was elected, and was known as "the student prince".[4] He became the Father of the House in 1975, and held his seat until he retired in 1977.

A committed Christian[2]:p.24 and member of Moral Rearmament, Beazley was prominent on the right-wing of the Labor Party during the ideological battles of the 1950s and 1960s. He claimed a central role in the events leading to the Labor Party's fateful 1954 split and harboured lifelong regret that he failed to help avert the split when he felt it had been in his power to do so.[2]:p.102 During the leadership of Arthur Calwell (from 1960 to 1967) he was considered a possible future leader of the party, but his right-wing views, particularly his support for the U.S. Alliance, cost him support, and Gough Whitlam emerged as Calwell's successor.

Beazley was the education minister in the Whitlam Government from 1972 to 1975. He carried out important reforms in the education field, such as abolishing university fees and introducing needs-based funding for all schools through the Schools Commission.[5]

After the defeat of the Whitlam Government in 1975, Beazley was elected to the Labor front bench, but resigned when it was revealed that Gough Whitlam and Bill Hartley, with the ALP national secretary, David Combe, had been seeking money from the Iraqi Ba'ath Party to pay for the party's election campaign.[6] He retired from politics in 1977.[1] At the time of his death he was the last surviving member from the period of the Chifley Labor Government (1945-49) and the earliest surviving member of the Commonwealth Parliament. He died in Perth on 12 October 2007, and was accorded a state funeral on 20 October.[5] His memoirs were published posthumously in February 1992.[2] with a foreword by his son Kim Beazley Jr who himself had a distinguished career as a Labor politician and party leader.


  1. ^ a b Kim Beazley Senior remembered fondly, The West Australian, 13 October 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d He was brought up and baptised in the Church of Christ. In Beazley K E Father of the House: The memoirs of Kim E Beazley Fremantle Press, January 2009
  3. ^ Kim Edward Beazley at Curtin University website
  4. ^ Farquharson, John: Beazley Snr, a politician of extraordinary principle, The Age, 15 October 2007.
  5. ^ a b State funeral planned for Beazley Sr, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 14 October 2007.
  6. ^ Parkinson, Tony Shame, Whitlam Shame The Age, 15 Nov 2005

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for Education
Succeeded by
Margaret Guilfoyle
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
John Curtin
Member for Fremantle
Succeeded by
John Dawkins
Preceded by
Fred Daly
Longest serving member of the
Australian House of Representatives

Succeeded by
Clyde Cameron/
Sir William McMahon


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