Ian Smith (Australian politician)

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Ian Winton Smith (born 25 November 1939) is a former Victoria, Australia Liberal Party of Australia politician. He represented the Electoral district of Warrnambool in the State of Victoria as a MLA from 1967 until 1983. He resigned to unsuccessfully contest Liberal Party pre-selection for the Federal Division of Wannon even though he would only been required to resign from State Parliament if he had been successful for that preselection for Federal Parliament. He later re-entered the Victorian Parliament as MLA for Electoral district of Polwarth from 1985 to 1999.

Smith was born at Terang, Victoria, Australia and educated at Terang Primary and Secondary Schools and Geelong Grammar School.[1] He has a farming background, living at a family farm "Gwinganna" near Terang until his first marriage in 1967 when he purchased and moved to another farm "Jingella", near Camperdown.[1] He sold that farm in 1988 and moved, living in both Lorne and Melbourne. He joined the Liberal Party in 1957 and remains a member. He has been married twice, first to Jennifer Louise Bartlam with whom he has two sons, Edward and James. His second marriage to Anne Michelle Renshaw produced two daughters, Victoria and Jacqueline. He later produced a son with Cheryl Harris.[1]

His political career includes, Minister of Water Supply, 1970; Minister for Social Welfare which he established and reformed child care 1970-1973; Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation which he established 1972-1973; Minister for Agriculture 1973- 1980 where he undertook many market reforms; Minister for Economic Development which he established, 1980–1981; Minister for State Development, Decentralization and Tourism 1980; Minister for Finance,1992-1995 where he undertook many reforms to privatize public sector assets, reduce the public sector workforce by 23% and reduce State debt and liabilities.

Always a controversial MP, Smith was once seen as a future leader of the Liberal Party.[2] He was sacked from the Hamer Cabinet, then reinstated three days later.[3] In June 1981 Smith played a major role in forcing Hamer to leave the premiership. When Jeff Kennett became premier in a 1992 landslide, Smith was appointed Minister for Finance, but eventually resigned from the Kennett cabinet because of legal action brought against him by Cheryl Harris whom he was having an extramarital affair with and was pregnant with his child. He later won that legal action but retired from politics in 1999.

Since politics, Smith has built a successful business career with company directorships and an agribusiness consultancy.

In 2009, Ian Smith was elected to the voluntary position of Chairman of the Corangamite Federal Electorate Council of the Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division).


  1. ^ a b c Smith, Ian Winton Smith, Parliament of Victoria.
  2. ^ Victorian Election 2006: Polwarth, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2006.
  3. ^ Strangio, Paul (2006). The Victorian premiers, 1856–2006. Federation Press. p. 310. ISBN 1-86287-601-0. 
Parliament of Victoria
Preceded by
New seat
Member for Warrnambool
Succeeded by
Adam Kempton
Preceded by
Cec Burgin
Member for Polwarth
Succeeded by
Terry Mulder