Peter Nixon

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The Honourable
Peter Nixon
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Gippsland
In office
9 December 1961 – 4 February 1983
Preceded by George Bowden
Succeeded by Peter McGauran
Personal details
Born (1928-03-22) 22 March 1928 (age 86)
Orbost, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party National Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Sally Dahlsen (d.2013)
Children Joanne, Mark & Christopher
Residence Orbost Vic
Alma mater Wesley College
Occupation Grazier, company director
Chairman Southern Cross Broadcasting 1984–2000, High Speed Train Committee 94-95,Weary Dunlop Statue Appeal 93-95, A.C.T.A 83–92, Director Linfox 88-2000

Peter James Nixon AO (born 22 March 1928) is a former Australian politician representing the National Party (and also under its former name, the Country Party).[1]

Born in Orbost, Victoria, Nixon was a grazier and company director. Prior to the 1961 election he gained Country Party pre-selection for the rural Division of Gippsland, following the sudden death of the original candidate. He was elected and was returned at every subsequent election he contested. Nixon quickly became a senior member of the Country Party and first entered the ministry as Minister for the Interior in October 1967 before moving to the Shipping and Transport portfolio in 1971 under John Gorton. He retained this portfolio under William McMahon. He is mentioned in the song Gurindji Blues, saying "Buy your land back, Gurindji" referring to his assessment of the Wattie Creek land rights strike.[2]

In opposition from 1972 to 1975, Nixon was a prominent figure in persuading his National Party colleagues to help pass Australian Labor Party legislation opposed by the Nationals' coalition partner, the Liberal Party. This helped prove to voters the National Party's independence from the Liberal Party[citation needed] and in cases such as when the Nationals supported Labor's policy on educational grants to public schools, helped to show the National Party's connection with core voter issues.[citation needed] Nixon was also a longtime critic of what he saw as bias by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation against the National Party.

Following the Coalition victory in 1975, Nixon served as Minister for Transport until 1979 and then Minister for Primary Industry, both in Malcolm Fraser's government.

On the floor of parliament, Nixon was known for trading insults with opposition members and particularly his verbal stoushes with Fred Daly.

Following his retirement from politics in 1983, Nixon returned to the business world, including spending seven years from 1984 as a commissioner of the Australian Football League (AFL). In 1996, he was chosen to chair a joint Commonwealth-State inquiry into the Tasmanian economy. The report became known as the Nixon Report: Tasmania into the 21st Century.Trustee of MCC 86–91. Freeman City of Jakarta, Athens.Chief Commissioner East Gippsland Shire 95–97


On 26 January 1993 Nixon was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for his service to the Australian parliament and to the community.[3]


Political offices
Preceded by
Doug Anthony
Minister for the Interior
Succeeded by
Ralph Hunt
Preceded by
Ian Sinclair
Minister for Shipping and Transport
Succeeded by
Gough Whitlam
Preceded by
Reg Bishop
Succeeded by
Victor Garland
Preceded by
Charles Jones
Minister for Transport
Succeeded by
Ralph Hunt
Preceded by
Ian Sinclair
Minister for Primary Industry
Succeeded by
John Kerin
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
George Bowden
Member for Gippsland
Succeeded by
Peter McGauran