Gordon Scholes

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The Honourable
Gordon Scholes
Gordon Scholes HD-SC-98-07512.jpg
Scholes in 1983
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Corio
In office
22 July 1967 – 8 February 1993
Preceded by Hubert Opperman
Succeeded by Gavan O'Connor
16th Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
In office
27 February 1975 – 16 February 1976
Preceded by Jim Cope
Succeeded by Sir Billy Snedden
Personal details
Born (1931-06-07) 7 June 1931 (age 86)
Melbourne, Victoria
Nationality Australian
Political party Australian Labor Party
Spouse(s) Della K Robinson
Occupation Councillor

Gordon Glen Denton Scholes AO (born 7 June 1931) is a former Australian politician and Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives.

Scholes was born in Melbourne, the son of Thomas Glen Denton Scholes and his wife Mary Louisa O'Brien. He was the Victorian Amateur Heavyweight Boxing Champion in 1949. He joined the Australian Labor Party in 1955 and was President of the Geelong ALP Branch from 1962 to 1964. He was President of the Geelong Trades Hall Council from 1965 to 1966, and a councillor of the Geelong City Council from 1965 to 1967.

Scholes was the Labor Party candidate in the Division of Corio, centred on Geelong, in the 1966 election, and was defeated by incumbent Liberal Sir Hubert Opperman. However, Opperman resigned a few months after the election to become Australia's first High Commissioner to Malta. Scholes won the seat at the ensuing by-election on a swing of 11 percent. He won the seat in his own right at the 1969 election.

Scholes served as Speaker from 27 February 1975 until 16 February 1976, a period taken up almost entirely by the 1975 Australian constitutional crisis. On 11 November 1975, following the dismissal of the Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam and the appointment of the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Fraser, as caretaker Prime Minister, the House of Representatives passed a motion expressing lack of confidence in Fraser’s government. As Speaker, Scholes was charged with conveying that information to the Governor-General Sir John Kerr and to request Kerr to dismiss Fraser and re-appoint Whitlam. Scholes made an appointment to meet Kerr at 4:45 pm. However, by the time he arrived, Kerr had already dissolved the Parliament on Fraser’s advice, which was something Fraser had undertaken to do once he had secured passage of the Supply bills through the Senate. Scholes later accused Kerr of bad faith for making an appointment to receive the Speaker, and then not waiting to hear from him before dissolving Parliament.

Scholes was Minister for Defence in the first Hawke Ministry from March 1983 to December 1984 and then Minister for Territories until July 1987. He retired before the 1993 election.

He is an honorary member of the Geelong Philatelic Society .[1]


  1. ^ "Biography for Scholes, the Hon. Gordon Glen Denton, AO". ParlInfo Web. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 3 August 2008. Retrieved 24 August 2007. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Ian Sinclair
Australian Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Kim Beazley
Preceded by
Tom Uren
Australian Minister for Territories
Succeeded by
John Brown
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Hubert Opperman
Member for Corio
Succeeded by
Gavan O'Connor
Preceded by
Jim Cope
Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives
Succeeded by
Billy Snedden