Bill Morrison (politician)

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The Honourable
Bill Morrison
AO
Minister of Defence
In office
6 June 1975 – 11 November 1975
Preceded by Lance Barnard
Succeeded by James Killen
Minister for Science and Consumer Affairs
In office
12 June 1974 – 6 June 1975
Preceded by Lionel Murphy
Succeeded by Clyde Cameron
Minister for Science
In office
19 December 1972 – 12 June 1974
Preceded by Gough Whitlam
Succeeded by Himself
Minister for External Territories
In office
19 December 1972 – 30 November 1973
Preceded by Gough Whitlam
Succeeded by None
Member of the Australian Parliament for St George
In office
25 October 1969 – 13 December 1975
Preceded by Leonard Bosman
Succeeded by Maurice Neil
In office
18 October 1980 – 26 October 1984
Preceded by Maurice Neil
Succeeded by Stephen Dubois
Personal details
Born (1928-11-03)3 November 1928
Lithgow, New South Wales
Died 15 February 2013(2013-02-15) (aged 84)[1]
Bardwell Valley, New South Wales
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Marty Hessell
Children Tanya, Melanie (daughters), Kim (son)
Occupation Diplomat

William Lawrence "Bill" Morrison AO (3 November 1928 – 15 February 2013) was an Australian politician who was a member of the Australian House of Representatives and a Cabinet minister in the Whitlam government.[1]

Morrison was born in Lithgow, New South Wales and graduated with an honours degree in economics from the University of Sydney in 1949. He was a diplomat in the Department of Foreign Affairs from 1950 to 1969, with postings to London, Moscow, Washington, D.C., Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur. His posting to Moscow was terminated by the expulsion of the entire mission in 1954 as a result of the Petrov Affair.[2] In 1958, he married Marty Hessell, an American citizen, in Bangkok.[3]

Political career[edit]

In 1969 Morrison resigned from the diplomatic service to successfully contest the seat of St George in the 1969 election for the Australian Labor Party. In 1969 he was elected deputy chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and chairman of the Sub-committee on Australia's Relations with Indonesia of that committee. He also became a member of the Select Committee on Aircraft Noise, a matter of relevance to his electorate, which was close to Sydney Airport. Following the election of the Whitlam government in 1972 Morrison was appointed Minister for External Territories and Minister for Science in the Second Whitlam Ministry. With the granting of self-government to Australia's main external territory, Papua New Guinea, on 1 December 1973, the position of Minister for External Territories was abolished and he became Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to Papua New Guinea. From 6 June 1975, he was Minister for Defence, Minister assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to the Islands of the Pacific and Minister for Science and Consumer Affairs. He was Minister for Defence during Indonesia's invasion of East Timor. He lost his seat in the 1975 election.[3]

Morrison was a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University in 1976 and a Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales from 1979 to 1980. In the 1980 election, he was re-elected to Parliament as the member for St George. He became a member of the Joint Parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee and Deputy Chairman of its Defence Sub-committee. In 1983, he was elected as chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee. He did not stand for re-election in 1984 and in 1985, he was appointed Ambassador to Indonesia. In 1988, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the Commonwealth Parliament and to international relations.[4] He retired in 1989.[3]

Morrison was a councillor of Rockdale Council in the early 1990s. In 2005, he tried to restore the reputation of Mamdouh Habib.[5] In May 2007, he was a witness to an inquest into the death of one of the Balibo Five, Brian Peters.[6]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Bill Morrison". Smh.com.au. 1928-11-03. Retrieved 2013-02-22. 
  2. ^ Ramsey, Alan (7 April 2004). "A blue moon in the Petrov affair". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  3. ^ a b c "Papers of William (Bill) L. Morrison (Part B) (1928– )". National Library of Australia. 10 September 2003. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  4. ^ MORRISON, William Lawrence, It's an Honour.
  5. ^ "Whitlam minister's sanctuary for Habib" (PDF). The Daily Telegraph/Parliament of Australia. 3 February 2005. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
  6. ^ "Whitlam appears at Balibo Inquiry". PM (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 8 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-24. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for External Territories
1972–1973
Abolished
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Minister for Science
1972–1974
Succeeded by
Himself
As Minister for Science and Consumer Affairs
New title Minister Assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to Papua New Guinea
1973–1975
Abolished
Preceded by
Lionel Murphy (as Attorney-General)
Minister for Science and Consumer Affairs
1974–1975
Succeeded by
Clyde Cameron
New title Minister Assisting the Minister for Foreign Affairs in matters relating to the Islands of the Pacific
1975
Abolished
Preceded by
Lance Barnard
Minister for Defence
1975
Succeeded by
James Killen
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Leonard Bosman
Member for St George
1969–1975
Succeeded by
Maurice Neil
Preceded by
Maurice Neil
Member for St George
1980–1984
Succeeded by
Stephen Dubois
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Rawdon Dalrymple
Australian Ambassador to Indonesia
1985–1989
Succeeded by
Philip Flood