Bob Such

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The Honourable Doctor
Bob Such
Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly
In office
4 April 2005 – 26 March 2006
Preceded by Peter Lewis
Succeeded by Jack Snelling
Member of the House of Assembly for Fisher
In office
25 November 1989 – 11 October 2014
Preceded by Philip Tyler
Succeeded by Nat Cook
Personal details
Born (1944-06-22)22 June 1944
Hawthorndene, South Australia
Died 11 October 2014(2014-10-11) (aged 70)
Daw Park, South Australia
Political party Liberal Party (1989–2000)
Independent (2000–2014)
Alma mater Flinders University
Occupation Teacher

Robert Bruce "Bob" Such, PhD (2 June 1944 – 11 October 2014) was a South Australian politician. He was the member for the seat of Fisher in the South Australian House of Assembly from 1989 until his death in 2014. He defeated Labor MP Philip Tyler at the 1989 election and was a member of the Liberals until 2000 when he became an independent. Such was Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education, and Minister for Youth Affairs, in the Brown Liberal government from 1993 to 1996. He served as Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly in the Rann Labor government from 2005 to 2006. Such was joint Father of the House with Michael Atkinson from 2012.

Early life[edit]

Such grew up in Hawthorndene, South Australia and attended Coromandel Valley Primary School and Goodwood Boys Technical High School. His first job at the age of 14 was working on a farm at Alford on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula. He gained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economics and Politics and a PhD in Environmental Politics from Flinders University. He also gained a Diploma of Teaching from what is now the University of South Australia and a Diploma of Education from the University of Adelaide. He also completed part of a law degree.[1]

Before entering politics, Such was a teacher/lecturer and researcher in the fields of politics, economics and the environment, at what is now the University of South Australia. Before and during the early stages of his role in Parliament, Such was also a councillor for the City of Mitcham.[2]

Political career[edit]

Liberal Party (1989–2000)[edit]

Such was first elected as the representative for the seat of Fisher at the 1989 election, defeating Labor MP Philip Tyler. During his time with the Liberal Party, he took on several high profile portfolios. He was the Shadow Minister for Further Education, Employment and Youth Affairs (May 1992 – December 1993) and when the Liberal Party won the election in 1993, he became the Minister for Employment, Training and Further Education and the Minister for Youth Affairs (December 1993 – December 1996). In 1996, the Premier of South Australia Dean Brown was deposed by John Olsen in a coup, and Such was moved to the back bench.[3][4]

In 2000, Such began to voice discontent with the Liberal Government, notably the contrast between its 'obsession with money' and spending on dubious projects. He allowed his involvement in his local party branch to wane, making it likely that a rival Liberal would challenge him for preselection for the next election. When former Liberal federal MP Susan Jeanes announced her intention to contest the preselection, Such quit the Liberal Party, saying he was disgruntled about the lack of support from his parliamentary colleagues.[3][4][5]

Independent (2000–2014)[edit]

Such retained his seat as an independent in the 2002 election with a primary vote of 33.5 percent and a final two-candidate-preferred vote of 62.1 percent over Jeanes after receiving Labor preferences. The Liberals had placed Such in fifth place on the ticket, behind the Labor candidate. After the election, Labor was one short of a majority with three elected independent MPs holding the balance of power. The Kerin government ended when Parliament resumed in March 2002, with Peter Lewis choosing to support a Labor government.


Such was elected to the position of Deputy Speaker and Chair of Committees in February 2002. Although he had not voted to put the Rann government in office, during 2002–06 the Labor government cultivated his support. He was often described as a "small-l" liberal independent. Peter Lewis resigned as Speaker in April 2005 and Such became Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly for the remainder of the term, until April 2006.[6]


Such was a member of many parliamentary committees, including the Environment, Resources and Development Committee, Social Development Committee, and the Economic and Finance Committee. He was a member of numerous community and school groups, several of which focused on the environment, including the Nature Conservation Society of SA Inc., the Nature Foundation SA Inc., and the Parklands Preservation Society.

2006 and 2010 elections[edit]

The collapse of the Liberal vote at the 2006 election saw Such face a Labor rather than Liberal candidate on the two-candidate-preferred vote. Such received a primary vote of 45.2 percent, an increase of 11.7 points. His primary vote was 18.8 points more than Labor's, and 26.7 points more than the Liberals, holding the seat with a margin of 16.7 points. His margin remained virtually unchanged at the 2010 election, on 16.6 points.

2014 election[edit]

The 2014 election resulted in a hung parliament with 23 Labor seats, 22 Liberal seats, and two independents. These two independents, Such and Geoff Brock held the balance of power.[7] Such had not indicated whom he would support in a minority government when he was hospitalised and took sick leave shortly after the election. With 24 seats required to govern, Brock backed Labor, who then formed government.[8]

Illness and death[edit]

Such was diagnosed with a brain tumour a week after the 2014 election.[9] Although he attended the opening day of parliament, he had been on medical leave since the diagnosis.[10][11] Such died at the Daw House Hospice on 11 October 2014.[12] A 2014 Fisher by-election was held on 6 December, with Labor's Nat Cook winning the seat.[13][14]


External links[edit]

South Australian House of Assembly
Preceded by
Philip Tyler
Member for Fisher
Succeeded by
Nat Cook