Sir Basil Arthur
|20th Speaker of the House of Representatives|
|Prime Minister||David Lange|
|Preceded by||Richard Harrison|
|Succeeded by||Gerard Wall|
|Member of the New Zealand Parliament
|Preceded by||Clyde Carr|
|Succeeded by||Maurice McTigue|
|Born||18 September 1928
Timaru, New Zealand
|Died||1 May 1985(aged 56)|
Sir Basil Malcolm Arthur, 5th Baronet (18 September 1928 – 1 May 1985) served as Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives from 1984 to 1985. He was a member of the Labour Party.
Basil (//) Arthur was born in Timaru, New Zealand. His father, a hotel proprietor, inherited the title of 4th Baronet in 1941, and Arthur in turn inherited it on his father's death in 1949. However, he showed a preference for labouring jobs, and made little of his title.
Member of Parliament
|New Zealand Parliament|
In 1962, he contested two by-elections for the Labour Party: first, unsuccessfully, in Waitaki; then, successfully, in Timaru. On entering Parliament at age 33 he was the country's youngest MP. He was reluctant to be called "Sir", but the Speaker at the time, Ronald Algie, said that refusing this honorific would be disrespectful to the Queen.
Arthur was Minister of Transport and Minister in Charge of the State Insurance Office from 1972 until 1975.
When Labour won the 1984 election, Arthur became Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives. He served in that capacity for one year, before dying in office after a short illness. The then Prime Minister, David Lange recalled in My Life (2005) that Arthur was gravely ill in Wellington Hospital, and if he resigned from the member's superannuation scheme before he died (but not otherwise) his estate would get a lump-sum payment. He had to answer a question in the house, then went to hospital with a letter of resignation "only to find that he had died hardly a minute before I got there". Labour lost the subsequent Timaru by-election, with a candidate that did not suit "the conservative character of the electorate."
It is interesting to note that Arthur was the second baronet to serve as Speaker, the first being Sir Charles Clifford, 1st Baronet (the first Speaker of the House of Representatives), although he was made a baronet some time after he had retired from politics.
- Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand parliamentary record, 1840–1984 (4 ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.
|Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives
Dr Gerard Wall
|New Zealand Parliament|
|Member of Parliament for Timaru
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
George Malcolm Arthur
(of Upper Canada)