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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2019 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 19 February 2019) . . Page.. 357 ..

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

MADAM SPEAKER (Ms J Burch) took the chair at 10 am, made a formal recognition that the Assembly was meeting on the lands of the traditional custodians, and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

The Hon Gordon Scholes AO

Motion of condolence

MR BARR (Kurrajong—Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Social Inclusion and Equality, Minister for Tourism and Special Events and Minister for Trade, Industry and Investment) (10.01): I move:

That this Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of the Honourable Gordon Scholes AO, former Member for the Victorian seat of Corio and Minister for Territories from 1984 to 1987, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family, friends and colleagues in their bereavement.

I rise this morning on behalf of my Labor colleagues to express our deep regret at the death of the Hon Gordon Scholes AO, former member for Corio in the state of Victoria. Importantly for the ACT, he was Minister for Territories from 1984 to 1987.

Although he was a Victorian by birth and spent more than 25 years representing the electorate of Corio, Gordon Scholes had a very significant impact on the Australian Capital Territory in his lifetime. He was the Minister for Territories in the Hawke government, from 1984 to 1987. During that period Mr Scholes was instrumental in the process that led to the passage of the territory’s constitution, the ACT self-government act, and indeed the very creation of this Assembly. Although he had retired from the ministry before the passage of the self-government act, his former senior private secretary, Michael Brown, wrote that it was Gordon “who all but made self-government a reality” during the term of the Hawke Labor government.

In an interview with the Old Parliament House political and parliamentary oral history project in 2010, Mr Scholes reflected on self-government for the ACT as being one of the significant aspects of his more than 25-year career as a member of federal parliament. This career included being Speaker on 11 November 1975, a very significant day in Australian political history—significant for many things, of course, as colleagues would be aware—but he was also in the chair when the House of Representatives passed the first, and still now only, successful censure motion against a Prime Minister, then Malcolm Fraser. I am not sure that our current federal parliament is quite at that point with the current Prime Minister, but that was a very significant moment in Australian political history.

Mr Scholes’s career included serving as Minister for Defence in the first Hawke ministry and as Minister for Territories until his retirement from the ministry in 1987. He retired from the federal parliament at the 1993 election, having served the people of Corio for 25 years, and having played an important role in the history of Australian Capital Territory self-governance.

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