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|The Honourable Doctor
|Member for Fisher|
25 November 1989
|Preceded by||Philip Tyler|
22 June 1944 |
Hawthorndene, South Australia
|Political party||Liberal Party 1989-2000,
|Alma mater||Flinders University|
Doctor Robert Bruce "Bob" Such (born 2 June 1944), Australian politician, is the member for the seat of Fisher in the South Australian House of Assembly. He has held the seat as an independent since 2000, and prior to that held the seat as a member of the Liberal Party from the 1989 election to 2000.
Such grew up in Hawthorndene, South Australia and attended Coromandel Valley Primary School and Goodwood Boys Technical High School. 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. His first job at the age of 14 was working on a farm at Alford on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula. Before and during the early stages of his role in Parliament, Such was also a councillor for the City of Mitcham.
During his time with the Liberal Party, Such 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.
In 2000, Such began to voice discontent with the Liberal Government, notably the contrast between its 'obsession with money' and spending on dubious projects. Meanwhile, Such allowed membership of his local party branch to wane leaving his preselection for Fisher susceptible to a takeover bid. When former Federal MP Susan Jeanes announced her intention to challenge for preselection, Such quit the Liberal Party disgruntled at the lack of support from his parliamentary colleagues.
Bob Such retained the seat as an independent in the 2002 election on a primary vote of 33.5 percent, with a final two party margin of 12.1 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. As Peter Lewis had backed Labor, the electorate responded with a preference for a Rann government on the grounds of stability. The Kerin government ended when Parliament resumed in March 2002, when Peter Lewis chose to support a Labor government.
After becoming an independent, Such was elected to the position of Deputy Speaker and Chairman of Committees between February 2002 and April 2005 and the Speaker of the House of Assembly from April 2005 to April 2006.
While not voting to put the Rann Government in office, during 2002-2006 the Labor Government cultivated his support. Such was often described as a "small-l" liberal independent, who served as Deputy Speaker before taking on the Speaker's role for the remainder of the term following Peter Lewis' departure from the position.
The collapse of the Liberal vote at the 2006 state election saw Such face a Labor rather than Liberal candidate on the two party preferred vote. Such received a primary vote of 45.2 percent, an increase of 11.7 percent. His primary vote was 18.8 percent more than Labor's, and 26.7 percent more than the Liberals. He holds the seat with a margin of 16.7 percent. His margin was practically unchanged at the 2010 election, on 16.6 percent.
Such has been a member of many parliamentary committees, including the Environment, Resources and Development Committee, Social Development Committee, and the Economic and Finance Committee. He is a member of numerous community and school groups, including several focused on the environment, e.g. the Nature Conservation Society of SA Inc., the Nature Foundation SA Inc., and the Parklands Preservation Society.
Such gained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Economics and Politics and a PhD from Flinders University in Environmental Politics, a Diploma of Teaching from what is now the University of South Australia and a Diploma of Education from the University of Adelaide. He has completed part of a law degree.