Neville Wran

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Neville Wran

AC , CNZM , QC
Neville Wran CNZM (cropped).jpg
Wran in 2010
35th Premier of New South Wales
Elections: 1976, 1978, 1981, 1984
In office
14 May 1976 4 July 1986
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor Sir Roden Cutler (1976–81)
Sir James Rowland (1981–86)
Deputy Jack Ferguson (1976–84)
Ron Mulock (1984–86)
Preceded by Sir Eric Willis
Succeeded by Barrie Unsworth
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Bass Hill
In office
17 November 1973 4 July 1986
Preceded by Clarrie Earl
Succeeded by Michael Owen
Personal details
Born
Neville Kenneth Wran

(1926-10-11)11 October 1926
Paddington, New South Wales, Australia
Died20 April 2014(2014-04-20) (aged 87)
Elizabeth Bay, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s)Marcia Oliver (m. 1946–76; divorced)
Jill Hickson (m. 1976–2014; his death)
Children4
OccupationLawyer
Nickname(s)Nifty [1]

Neville Kenneth Wran, AC , CNZM , QC (11 October 1926 – 20 April 2014) was an Australian politician who was the Premier of New South Wales from 1976 to 1986. He was the national president of the Australian Labor Party (ALP) from 1980 to 1986 and chairman of both the Lionel Murphy Foundation and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) from 1986 to 1991.

Queens Counsel Jurist appointed by letters patent in some Commonwealth realms

A Queen's Counsel, or King's Counsel during the reign of a king, is a lawyer who is appointed by the monarch to be one of "Her Majesty's Counsel learned in the law." The term is recognised as an honorific. The position exists in some Commonwealth jurisdictions around the world, but other Commonwealth countries have either abolished the position, or re-named it to eliminate monarchical connotations, such as "Senior Counsel" or "Senior Advocate". Queen's Counsel is an office, conferred by the Crown, that is recognised by courts. Members have the privilege of sitting within the bar of court.

Premier of New South Wales head of government for the state of New South Wales, Australia

The Premier of New South Wales is the head of government in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The Government of New South Wales follows the Westminster system, with a Parliament of New South Wales acting as the legislature. The Premier is appointed by the Governor of New South Wales, and by modern convention holds office by virtue of his or her ability to command the support of a majority of members of the lower house of Parliament, the Legislative Assembly.

Australian Labor Party Political party in Australia

The Australian Labor Party is a major centre-left political party in Australia. The party has been in opposition at the federal level since the 2013 election. The party is a federal party with branches in each state and territory. Labor is in government in the states of Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and in both the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory. The party competes against the Liberal/National Coalition for political office at the federal and state levels. It is the oldest political party in Australia.

Contents

Early years

Wran was born in the Sydney suburb of Paddington, the eighth and last child of Joseph Wran and his wife Lillian (née Langley). [2] He was educated at Nicholson Street Public School, Balmain, Fort Street Boys High and the University of Sydney, [3] where he was a member of the Liberal Club, [4] and from which he gained a Bachelor of Laws in 1948. He was admitted as a solicitor in 1951, called to the Bar in 1957, and became a Queen's Counsel in 1968.

Paddington, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Paddington is an inner-city eastern suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Located 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) east of the Sydney central business district, Paddington lies across two local government areas. The portion south of Oxford Street lies within the City of Sydney, while the portion north of Oxford Street lies within the Municipality of Woollahra. It is often colloquially referred to as "Paddo".

Balmain, New South Wales Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Balmain, New South Wales is a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Balmain is located 6 km west of the Sydney central business district, in the local government area of the Inner West Council. It sits on a small peninsula that juts out of Sydney Harbour, directly opposite Milsons Point.

Fort Street High School high school in Sydney, Australia

Fort Street High School (FSHS) is a government-funded co-educational academically selective secondary day school, located in Petersham, an inner western suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Established in 1849, it is the oldest government high school in Australia, notably the first school not founded by a religious organisation, and today, it remains a public school operated by the New South Wales Department of Education. As a prominent selective school, it draws students from across greater metropolitan Sydney.

Political career

Wran began his political career in 1970 when he became a member of the upper house of the Parliament of New South Wales, the Legislative Council. Three years afterwards, he moved to the lower house, the Legislative Assembly, in the seat of Bass Hill. Support for this move had been organised by the General Secretary of the FMWU, Ray Gietzelt. [5] He then challenged Pat Hills for the state leadership of the Labor Party (which Hills had held since 1968). In this challenge he had cross-faction support from right-wing powerbroker John Ducker and left-winger Jack Ferguson. There were two rounds to the leadership vote which resulted in a tie between Hills and Wran in the second ballot. However, under Labor Party rules of the time, in the event of a tie in the second ballot, the candidate who won the most votes in the first ballot would be the winner. Since Wran had won one vote more than Hills in the first ballot, Wran was therefore declared the new leader.

Parliament of New South Wales legislative body in the Australian state of New South Wales

The Parliament of New South Wales is a bicameral legislature in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW), consisting of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, and the New South Wales Legislative Council. Each house is directly elected by the people of New South Wales at elections held approximately every four years. The Parliament derives its authority from the Queen of Australia, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, represented by the Governor of New South Wales, who chairs the Executive Council of New South Wales. The parliament shares law making powers with the Australian Federal Parliament. The New South Wales Parliament follows the Westminster parliamentary traditions of dress, Green–Red chamber colours and protocol.

New South Wales Legislative Council Upper house of the Parliament of New South Wales

The New South Wales Legislative Council, often referred to as the upper house, is one of the two chambers of the parliament of the Australian state of New South Wales. The other is the Legislative Assembly. Both sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. It is normal for legislation to be first deliberated on and passed by the Legislative Assembly before being considered by the Legislative Council, which acts in the main as a house of review.

New South Wales Legislative Assembly one of the two chambers of the Parliament of New South Wales

The New South Wales Legislative Assembly is the lower of the two houses of the Parliament of New South Wales, an Australian state. The upper house is the New South Wales Legislative Council. Both the Assembly and Council sit at Parliament House in the state capital, Sydney. The Assembly is presided over by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.

In May 1976, six months after Gough Whitlam's federal Labor government's dismissal, Wran led Labor to victory, narrowly defeating the Liberal Party premier, Sir Eric Willis. Wran's win was not assured until it became clear that Gosford and Hurstville had fallen to Labor by only 74 and 44 votes respectively, giving Wran a one-seat majority. In 1978, campaigning with the slogan "Wran's our Man", his government won a 13-seat swing, popularly known as the "Wranslide." This came on the back of 57.7 percent of the primary vote, the largest primary vote for any party in a century. The Opposition Leader on that occasion, Peter Coleman, lost his seat.

Gough Whitlam Australian politician, 21st Prime Minister of Australia

Edward Gough Whitlam was the 21st Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1972 to 1975. The Leader of the Labor Party from 1967 to 1977, Whitlam led his party to power for the first time in 23 years at the 1972 election. He won the 1974 election before being controversially dismissed by the Governor-General of Australia, Sir John Kerr, at the climax of the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. Whitlam remains the only Australian prime minister to have his commission terminated in that manner.

The Liberal Party of Australia , commonly known as the New South Wales Liberals, is the state division of the Liberal Party of Australia in New South Wales. The party currently governs in New South Wales in coalition with the National Party of Australia (NSW). The party is part of the federal Liberal Party which governs nationally in Coalition with the National Party of Australia.

Eric Willis New South Wales politician and Premier

Sir Eric Archibald Willis was an Australian politician, Cabinet Minister and the 34th Premier of New South Wales, serving from 23 January 1976 to 14 May 1976. Born in Murwillumbah in 1922, Willis was educated at Murwillumbah High School and the University of Sydney, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts with double honours. Enlisting during the Second World War, Willis served on the homefront and later served in New Guinea and the Philippines. He continued to serve the Citizen Military Forces until 1958.

In 1981, Wran won a second "Wranslide", picking up a six-seat swing for what is still NSW Labor's largest proportion of seats in Parliament (69 out of 99 seats, 69.7 percent of the chamber). The Opposition Leader, Bruce McDonald, failed to be elected to the seat that he contested, marking the second time in a row that an Opposition Leader had failed to be elected to Parliament. Labor also reduced the Liberals to 14 seats, the same as its nominal junior partner, the National Country Party. He won a fourth term in 1984; although he suffered an 11-seat swing, he still won a larger majority than any of the victories won by the Liberals' Sir Robert Askin in the 1960s and 1970s.

Bruce John McDonald, AM was a New South Wales politician, Leader of the Opposition and Leader for the Liberal Party of New South Wales. McDonald was Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales, Australia from 1 June 1981 to 12 October 1981, when he lost the election to Labor Premier, Neville Wran. McDonald lost the parliamentary seat he contested at the same election.

National Party of Australia – NSW New South Wales division of the National Party of Australia

The National Party of Australia – N.S.W., commonly known as the NSW Nationals, is a political party in New South Wales which forms the state branch of the federal Nationals. Traditionally representing graziers, farmers and rural voters generally, it began as the Progressive Party, from the 1922 split until 1925. It then used the name the Country Party until 1977, when it became the National Country Party. The party's name was changed to the National Party of Australia in 1982.

Robert Askin Australian politician and Premier of New South Wales

Sir Robert William Askin, GCMG, was an Australian politician and the 32nd Premier of New South Wales from 1965 to 1975, the first representing the Liberal Party. He was born in 1907 as Robin William Askin, but always disliked his first name and changed it by deed poll in 1971. Before being knighted in 1972, however, he was generally known as Bob Askin. Born in Sydney in 1907, Askin was educated at Sydney Technical High School. After serving as a bank officer and as a Sergeant in the Second World War, Askin joined the Liberal Party and was elected to the seat of Collaroy at the 1950 election.

In 1977, Wran supported Al Grassby, former Federal Immigration Minister, in allowing Domenico Barbaro, a Mafia figure in the Griffith region of New South Wales, back into Australia after having been earlier deported because of his criminal record. [6] However, as journalist David Hickie explains, Wran attempted to undermine the influence of organised crime, particularly in the area of illegal casinos. [7]

Albert Jaime Grassby, AM was an Australian politician who served as Minister for Immigration in the Labor Whitlam Government. He completed reforms in immigration and human rights, and is often known as the father of Australian "multiculturalism".

Wran was also very popular, at one stage rating over 80 per cent approval in opinion polls. He was often talked about as a national political leader and rated highly in national polls as an alternative Labor Leader to Bill Hayden. He featured in Hayden's 1980 federal election campaign, along with Bob Hawke.

Wran's childhood home in the Sydney suburb of Balmain (1)Neville Wrans childhood home.jpg
Wran's childhood home in the Sydney suburb of Balmain

Wran's first half of his tenure as a Labor premier came at a time when most Australian governments were held by conservative coalitions, a trend subsequently reversed in the early 1980s following the elections of Labor governments to both federal and state parliaments. During his 10 years as Premier of New South Wales, the government embarked on a program of reform and change. Priorities were public transport (with the exception of the Warringah Transport Corridor which was cancelled despite a recommendation by Justice Michael Kirby that it be built), the environment, consumer protection and job creation. He also achieved significant electoral institutional reform such as a democratic Legislative Council, four-year terms, public funding and disclosure laws and a pecuniary interests register for members of parliament. He called on Edwin Lusher, firstly while a QC and then as a Judge of the Supreme Court of New South Wales, to chair commissions of inquiry into police administration and gambling. [8] He also undertook the state's largest capital works program and refurbished many iconic places in Sydney. His government also built the modern-day Darling Harbour precinct.

In 1983, Wran faced the Street Royal Commission over claims by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) current affairs show Four Corners that he had tried to influence the magistracy over the 1977 committal of Kevin Humphreys, who had been charged with misappropriation of funds. [9] His Corrective Services Minister, Rex Jackson, was jailed in 1987 for accepting bribes for the early release of prisoners.

In 1984, Neville Wran introduced a private members bill to decriminalise adult gay male sex, and the bill passed the NSW Parliament. This was the first time in recorded history a conscience vote was both introduced and passed by the NSW Parliament. [10]

Wran resigned both the premiership and his seat in Parliament on 4 July 1986, after continuously holding office longer than any other premier in the history of New South Wales until that time. Bob Carr has since broken that record. (Henry Parkes served longer than either Wran or Carr in total, serving five terms between 1872 and 1891.) The by-election for Wran's seat of Bass Hill was narrowly won by Michael Owen for the Liberal Party–a harbinger of his party's heavy defeat at the state election two years later.

Wran is remembered by the phrase "Balmain boys don't cry".

Personal life

Wran's first marriage was in 1946 at the age of 20, to Marcia Oliver, a showgirl at the New Tivoli Theatre. [1] Oliver had a young son, whom Wran adopted, and they had one other child, a daughter. In 1976, a month after his divorce was finalised and three months after becoming Premier of New South Wales, Wran married Jill Hickson, [11] and they had two children together. Wran and Hickson separated several times, first briefly in 2006, then in August 2011 after Hickson said she had been "frozen out" of her husband's personal affairs by his daughter Kim and his friend and business partner Albert Wong. [12] They had reconciled by December 2011.

A severe throat infection in 1980 required injections of teflon to strengthen his damaged vocal cords, resulting in his characteristic croaky voice. [13]

Death

In his later years, Wran had dementia and from July 2012 had been under special care at the Lulworth House aged care facility in Elizabeth Bay. [14] He died there on 20 April 2014 at the age of 87. He was survived by his wife Jill and four children. [15]

A state funeral was held at the Sydney Town Hall on 1 May 2014.

Honours

Named in Panama Papers

On 12 May 2016, the name of Neville Wran was found in the Panama Papers (which also named the 29th Australian Prime Minister since September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull), due to his former directorship of the Mossack Fonseca-incorporated company Star Technology Systems Limited. Wran resigned from that position in 1995. A report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation notes that "There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by either Mr Turnbull or Mr Wran." [19]

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References

  1. 1 2 Lawson, Valerie (28 December 1991). "Forever Nifty". The Sydney Morning Herald.
  2. "Neville Wran, former NSW premier and Labor hero, dies at 90". The Australian . Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  3. "The Hon. Neville Kenneth Wran (1926–2014)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales . Retrieved 10 May 2019.
  4. "History". Sydney University Liberal Club. Archived from the original on 4 May 2007. Retrieved 6 May 2007.
  5. Lawrence, Jeff (20 December 2012). "Vale Ray Gietzelt". The Sydney Morning Herald. United Voice. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  6. Bottom, Bob (198). Shadow of Shame: How the mafia got away with the murder of Donald Mackay. South Melbourne: Sun Books. pp. 13–14.
  7. Hickie, David (1985). The Prince and the Premier: The story of Perce Galea, Bob Askin and the others who gave organised crime its start in Australia. NSW, Australia: Angus & Robertson Publishers.
  8. State Library of New South Wales Catalogue
  9. Holmes, Jonathan (24 April 2014). "Neville Wran's lowest ebb was a high water mark for Four Corners". The Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  10. "NEVILLE WRAN'S WEDDING". The Australian Women's Weekly . National Library of Australia. 1 September 1976. p. 4. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  11. "Ailing Wran and his wife bury hatchet". The Daily Telegraph. 8 December 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  12. Thomsen, Simon (20 April 2014). "Former NSW Premier Neville Wran Has Died, Aged 87". Business Insider. Retrieved 21 April 2014.
  13. Browne, Rachel (22 July 2012). "Wran to spend twilight years with Whitlam". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  14. "Neville Wran dead aged 87". The Sydney Morning Herald. 20 April 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  15. 1 2 3 "Neville Kenneth Wran AC QC". Sydney University Senate. University of Sydney . Retrieved 8 February 2010.
  16. "WRAN, Neville Kenneth: AC". It's an Honour. Australian Government . Retrieved 23 February 2009.
  17. "New Year honours list 2010". Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 31 December 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  18. "Malcolm Turnbull denies any wrongdoing after being listed in Panama Papers". ABC News (Australia) . Retrieved 12 May 2016.
Biographies
New South Wales Legislative Assembly
Preceded by
Clarrie Earl
Member for Bass Hill
1973–1986
Succeeded by
Michael Owen
Political offices
Preceded by
Reg Downing
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
in the Legislative Council

1972–1973
Succeeded by
Leroy Serisier
Preceded by
Pat Hills
Leader of the Opposition of New South Wales
1973–1976
Succeeded by
Sir Eric Willis
Preceded by
Sir Eric Willis
Premier of New South Wales
1976–1986
Succeeded by
Barrie Unsworth
Preceded by
Jack Renshaw
Treasurer of New South Wales
1980–1981
Succeeded by
Ken Booth
Preceded by
Ron Mulock
Minister for Mineral Resources
1981–1983
Succeeded by
Donald Day
Vacant
Title last held by
David Arblaster
as Minister for Culture, Sport and Recreation
Minister for the Arts
1984–1986
Succeeded by
Frank Walker
Preceded by
Paul Landa
Attorney General of New South Wales
1984
Succeeded by
Terry Sheahan
New title Minister for Ethnic Affairs
1985–1986
Succeeded by
Barrie Unsworth
Preceded by
George Paciullo
Minister for Industry and Decentralisation
1986
Succeeded by
Eric Bedford
Minister for Small Business and Technology
1986
Party political offices
Preceded by
Pat Hills
Leader of the Australian Labor Party in New South Wales
1973–1986
Succeeded by
Barrie Unsworth