Doug Lowe (Australian politician)

Last updated


Doug Lowe

AM
Doug Lowe premier.jpg
35th Premier of Tasmania
In office
1 December 1977 11 November 1981
Deputy Neil Batt
Preceded by Bill Neilson
Succeeded by Harry Holgate
Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly
for Franklin
In office
10 May 1969 8 February 1986
Member of the Tasmanian Legislative Council for Buckingham
In office
24 May 1986 2 May 1992
Preceded by Ken Lowrie
Succeeded by David Crean
Personal details
Born (1942-05-15) 15 May 1942 (age 77)
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
NationalityAustralian
Political party Labor (1969–1981)
Independent (1981–1992)
Spouse(s)Pamela June Grant

Douglas Ackley Lowe AM (born 15 May 1942) was the 35th Premier of Tasmania, from 1 December 1977 to 11 November 1981. His time as Premier coincided with controversy over a proposal to build a dam on Tasmania's Gordon River, which would have flooded parts of the Franklin River. The ensuing crisis saw Lowe overthrown as Premier and resign from the Labor Party, acting as an independent for the remainder of his political career.

Contents

Born in Hobart, he was a former electrician by trade. He is married to Pamela June Grant and has four children, two sons and two daughters.

Early political career

Lowe was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly representing the electorate of Franklin for the Labor Party on 10 May 1969, at the 1969 state election. He was made a minister in the government of Eric Reece on 3 May 1972, when he became Minister for Housing. In 1975 he became Minister for the Environment and Planning, and was also appointed Deputy Premier. In 1976, he took on the Industrial Relations and Health portfolios. When the then-Premier Bill Neilson resigned as Premier on 1 December 1977, Lowe became Tasmania's 35th Premier. [1]

Premier of Tasmania

At the age of 35, Lowe was the youngest person ever to become Premier of Tasmania. The first year of his premiership was fairly uneventful, and he retained his seat of Franklin in the 1979 election with the highest ever personal vote in the House of Assembly: 24,971 or 51.2% of the vote (although this was before the Robson Rotation method of printing several variations of ballot papers, so Lowe's vote may have been boosted by his position on the ballot paper). [2]

Franklin Dam dispute

In 1978, the Hydro-Electric Commission, Tasmania's electricity generator, announced its intention to build a second dam (the Gordon-below-Franklin) on the Gordon River, which given its location would have flooded parts of the environmentally-sensitive Franklin River valley which was joined to the Gordon upstream of the proposed dam site. Noting community concerns over the environmental impact of the proposed dam, Lowe instituted a moratorium on new dam proposals in 1979, and set up the Energy Advisory Council to advise the Cabinet of alternative proposals. The Department of the Environment was instructed to advise the HEC to undertake an environmental impact assessment and report, which when tabled to Parliament recommended proceeding to flood the Franklin. Several alternative proposals were raised: the establishment of a national park on the same site, and a large number of submissions questioning the project and recommending no dam be built at all. [3]

By mid-1980, Tasmania's high levels of unemployment—the highest in the country—were starting to bite economically, and the HEC and elements of the government were adamant that the dam project would alleviate Tasmania's employment and financial problems, although there was considerable public opposition to the dam. Lowe suggested a compromise: the construction of a dam on the Upper Gordon, upstream from the Franklin above the Olga River (Gordon-above-Olga). He also proposed to declare the controversial Lower Gordon area a national park, as suggested by the Department of Parks and Wildlife. [3]

The compromise proposal pleased neither the Hydro-Electric Commission nor the Tasmanian Wilderness Society which was campaigning against the dam. It also caused a deadlock in the Tasmanian Parliament: the House of Assembly rejected the HEC's Lower Gordon (Gordon-below-Franklin) dam, and the Legislative Council rejected the lower house's legislation, and voted against the Upper Gordon (Gordon-above-Olga) dam, insisting they proceed with the original proposal. Lowe, now personally opposed to damming in the region, was successful in the expansion of the existing Frenchmans Cap National Park to include the Franklin, Gordon and Olga Rivers in the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park. [3]

Referendum and no-confidence motion

In an attempt to break the deadlock, the Tasmanian government called a referendum, the Tasmanian power referendum for 12 December 1981. When Lowe announced this to the media, he was asked to clarify if the referendum would include a 'No dams' option, and he indicated it would. The President of the Labor Party in Tasmania, however, wrote to members of parliament and instructed them to withdraw the 'No dams' option, forcing Lowe into a humiliating backdown, and restricting the options to a choice between the two dam proposals. [4]

On 11 November 1981, members of the Labor Party moved a motion of no confidence against Lowe's leadership, petitioning him to resign as Premier and leader of the party, which he did. Harry Holgate was installed as Premier in his place. Instead of joining the backbenches, Lowe resigned from the ALP and joined the cross-benches as an Independent. [5]

Legislative Council

Lowe continued to serve in the House of Assembly as an Independent, until he retired on 8 February 1986. Shortly afterwards, however, he successfully ran for the Legislative Council representing the electoral district of Buckingham from 24 May 1986 to 2 May 1992 when he retired from politics.

After politics

After leaving politics, Doug Lowe became executive director of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Medical Association. [6] In 2005, he was temporarily contracted by the state government to secure more specialist staff for the Royal Hobart Hospital. [7]

Honours

Lowe was made a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2000, for service to the community of Tasmania, particularly in the area of social welfare, to the development of health policy, and to the Tasmanian Parliament. [8] He was also awarded a Centenary Medal in 2001. [9]

Related Research Articles

Robin Trevor Gray is a former Australian politician who was Premier of Tasmania from 1982 to 1989. A Liberal, he was elected Liberal state leader in 1981 and in 1982 defeated the Labor government of Harry Holgate on a policy of "state development," particularly the building of the Franklin Dam, a hydroelectric dam on the Franklin River. He was only the second non-Labor premier to hold the post in 48 years, and the first in 51 years to govern in majority.

Lake Pedder lake in Tasmania, Australia

Lake Pedder, once a glacial outwash lake, is a man-made impoundment and diversion lake located in the southwest of Tasmania, Australia. In addition to its natural catchment from the Frankland Range, the lake is formed by the 1972 damming of the Serpentine and Huon rivers by the Hydro Electric Commission of Tasmania for the purposes of hydroelectric power generation.

Tasmanian Greens state branch of the Australian Greens political party

The Tasmanian Greens are a political party in Australia which developed from numerous environmental campaigns in Tasmania, including the flooding of Lake Pedder and the Franklin Dam campaign. They form a part of the Australian Greens.

Tasmanian House of Assembly lower house of the Parliament of Tasmania

The House of Assembly, or Lower House, is one of the two chambers of the Parliament of Tasmania in Australia. The other is the Legislative Council or Upper House. It sits in Parliament House in the state capital, Hobart.

Franklin Dam controversy Proposed dam in Tasmania, Australia

The Franklin Dam or Gordon-below-Franklin Dam project was a proposed dam on the Gordon River in Tasmania, Australia, that was never constructed. The movement that eventually led to the project's cancellation became one of the most significant environmental campaigns in Australian history.

Hydro Tasmania hydro electricity developer, and electricity provider in Tasmania, Australia

Hydro Tasmania, known for most of its history as the Hydro-Electric Commission or The Hydro, is the trading name of the Hydro-Electric Corporation, a Tasmanian Government business enterprise which is the predominant electricity generator in the state of Tasmania, Australia. The Hydro was originally oriented towards hydro-electricity, due to Tasmania's dramatic topography and relatively high rainfall in the central and western parts of the state. Today Hydro Tasmania operates thirty hydro-electric and one gas power station, and is a joint owner in three wind farms.

John Earle (Australian politician) Australian politician

John Earle was an Australian politician who served as Premier of Tasmania from 1914 to 1916 and also for one week in October 1909. He later served as a Senator for Tasmania from 1917 to 1923. Prior to entering politics, he worked as a miner and prospector. He began his career in the Australian Labor Party (ALP), helping to establish a local branch of the party, and was Tasmania's first ALP premier. However, he was expelled from the party during the 1916 split and joined the Nationalists, whom he represented in the Senate.

<i>Commonwealth v Tasmania</i>

Commonwealth v Tasmania was a significant Australian court case, decided in the High Court of Australia on 1 July 1983. The case was a landmark decision in Australian constitutional law, and was a significant moment in the history of conservation in Australia. The case centred on the proposed construction of a hydro-electric dam on the Gordon River in Tasmania, which was supported by the Tasmanian government, but opposed by the Australian federal government and environmental groups.

Harold Norman Holgate AO was a Labor Party politician and Premier of Tasmania from 11 November 1981 to 26 May 1982.

Bill Neilson Australian politician; Premier of Tasmania

William Arthur Neilson AC was Premier of Tasmania from 1975 to 1977.

Eric Reece Australian politician

Eric Elliott Reece, AC was Premier of Tasmania on two occasions: from 26 August 1958 to 26 May 1969, and from 3 May 1972 to 31 March 1975. His 13 years as premier remains the second longest in Tasmania's history, Only Robert Cosgrove has served for a longer period as premier. He was the first Premier of Tasmania to have been born in the 20th century.

Angus Bethune (politician) Australian politician

Sir Walter Angus Bethune was an Australian politician and member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. He was Premier of Tasmania from 26 May 1969 to 3 May 1972.

Will Hodgman Australian politician, 45th Premier of Tasmania

William Edward Felix Hodgman is an Australian politician who is the 45th and current Premier of Tasmania. He has been a member for the Division of Franklin in the Tasmanian House of Assembly since the 2002 state election. He became premier following the 2014 state election, having been Leader of the Opposition since 2006. He was re-elected to a second term in government following victory in the 2018 state election. In March 2018, he succeeded Angus Bethune as the longest-serving leader in the history of the Tasmanian Liberals. Hodgman is from Hobart and was educated at the University of Tasmania. Hodgman's father, uncle, and grandfather also served in the Parliament of Tasmania.

1986 Tasmanian state election

The Tasmanian state election, 1986 was held on 8 February 1986 in the Australian state of Tasmania to elect 35 members of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The election used the Hare-Clark proportional representation system — seven members were elected from each of five electorates. The quota required for election was 12.5% in each division.

The Tasmanian state election, 1982 was held on 15 May 1982 in the Australian state of Tasmania to elect 35 members of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The election used the Hare-Clark proportional representation system — seven members were elected from each of five electorates. The quota required for election was 12.5% in each division.

1972 Tasmanian state election

The Tasmanian state election, 1972 was held on 22 April 1972 in the Australian state of Tasmania to elect 35 members of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The election used the Hare-Clark proportional representation system — seven members were elected from each of five electorates.

The Tasmanian state election, 1979 was held on 18 July 1979 in the Australian state of Tasmania to elect 35 members of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. The election used the Hare-Clark proportional representation system — seven members were elected from each of five electorates. The quota required for election was 12.5% in each division.

The Tasmanian power referendum was a one-question referendum held on 12 December 1981, and intended to determine the location of a proposed hydroelectricity dam to be built on the Gordon River in Tasmania, Australia.

Neil Leonard Charles Batt AO, Australian politician, is a former Tasmanian government minister, Deputy Premier and Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly. A member of the Labor Party, he was leader of the party in Tasmania, and Leader of the Opposition from 1986 to 1988.

The Australian Labor Party , commonly known as Tasmanian Labor is the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Labor Party.

References

  1. Ministers – House of Assembly – 1950 to 1989, 24 January 2006.
  2. Highest Individual Vote Winners Since 1959, Tasmanian House of Assembly, 23 July 2002.
  3. 1 2 3 How do governments and political parties respond to new issues? Archived 24 March 2019 at the Wayback Machine , Discovering Democracy Units Curriculum.
  4. Kellow, Aynsley (1996). Transforming Power: The Politics of Electricity Planning. UK: Cambridge University Press. ISBN   0-521-47122-2.
  5. Thompson, Peter (1984). Bob Brown of the Franklin River. Sydney: Allen & Unwin. ISBN   0-86861-673-7.
  6. Hearing continues into cardiologist's contract, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 17 September 2003.
  7. Union says hospital trouble-shooter appointment 'strange', Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 17 September 2003.
  8. LOWE, Douglas Ackley, It's an Honour (Government of Australia), 12 December 2006.
  9. LOWE, Douglas Ackley, It's an Honour (Government of Australia), 12 December 2006.
Political offices
Preceded by
Bill Neilson
Premier of Tasmania
1977–1981
Succeeded by
Harry Holgate
Party political offices
Preceded by
Bill Neilson
Leader of the Labor Party in Tasmania
1977–1981
Succeeded by
Harry Holgate
Tasmanian Legislative Council
Preceded by
Ken Lowrie
Member for Buckingham
1986–1992
Succeeded by
David Crean