Bacon in 2000
|41st Premier of Tasmania|
Elections: 1998, 2002
14 September 1998 – 21 March 2004
|Preceded by||Tony Rundle|
|Succeeded by||Paul Lennon|
|Leader of the Opposition|
14 April 1997 – 14 September 1998
|Preceded by||Michael Field|
|Succeeded by||Tony Rundle|
|Member of the Tasmanian House of Assembly for Denison|
24 February 1996 – 21 March 2004
|Preceded by||Julian Amos|
|Succeeded by||David Bartlett|
|Born||15 May 1950|
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
|Died||20 June 2004 (aged 54)|
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
|Political party||Labor (1996–2004)|
|Communist Party of Australia (–1991)|
Bacon was born on 15 May 1950 in Melbourne; his father Frank, a doctor, died when Jim was twelve, leaving him to be raised by his mother Joan. He was educated at Scotch College and later studied politics at Monash University, but did not graduate. At Monash Bacon was a Maoist student leader. Bacon moved to Western Australia and, after going back on the job as a labourer, became an official of the Builders Labourers Federation, which then sent him to Tasmania as an organiser. He later became leader of the trade union movement as Secretary of the Tasmanian Trades & Labor Council.
Having left the Communist Party of Australia after the party was dissolved in 1991, Bacon joined the Tasmanian branch of the Labor Party, and was subsequently elected to the House of Assembly in 1996, representing the Hobart-based seat of Denison. He became leader of the Tasmanian Labor Party in 1997 and narrowly won the state election in 1998, defeating the Liberal Party government under Tony Rundle. It was the first Labor majority since 1982. His government was re-elected in 2002 in a landslide victory for his party.
Bacon's time in office was said to have been hugely successful, for the state economy as a whole, for his popularity with the people of the state, and also for tourism with the introduction of two more Bass Strait ferries, and beginning a ferry run between Devonport and Sydney. (However, the Sydney service has since proven unsuccessful and was discontinued in 2006 due to the majority of New South Wales people not wanting to drive into the heart of Sydney.) He controversially appointed Richard Butler to the office Governor of Tasmania in 2003. One of the Bacon Government's most notable achievements was to wipe out a $1.6 billion state net debt in only six years. Other achievements included huge increases in tourist numbers, leading social policies, partnerships between state and local governments, turning Tasmanian Government entities, such as Hydro Tasmania, into profit-generating businesses (one of the election-winning strategies was to propose this as opposed to selling them), bringing two Australian Football League (AFL) clubs to play regular home and away matches in Tasmania (Hawthorn Football Club and St Kilda Football Club) and improving the general feeling of confidence in individuals and businesses within the state of Tasmania.
Illness and death
On Friday 13 February 2004, Bacon received the diagnosis that he was suffering from inoperable lung cancer. On 23 February 2004, he subsequently announced that he would take a four-week leave of absence from his role of Premier so that he could explore treatment options. After news that he had little time left, Bacon stood aside as Premier in March 2004, to spend whatever time was left to him with his family and friends. Paul Lennon, who had been Deputy Premier, succeeded Bacon to become Tasmania's 42nd Premier.
Bacon, a 35-year smoker, died as a result of his cancer on 20 June 2004, at Calvary Hospital in Hobart. A state funeral was held on 24 June; many state and federal politicians (from both major parties) attended, including Liberal Prime Minister John Howard, all the state Premiers, Opposition Leader Mark Latham, former Opposition Leader Simon Crean, and former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.
Honours and legacy
In 2001, Bacon was awarded an honorary citizenship of China by current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Xi Jinping, who was at the time governor of Fujian Province. Bacon had first visited China while at university and had made frequent visits thereafter.
His appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia was announced in June 2005 but made effective from 13 May 2004. The Order of Australia is not awarded posthumously, but Bacon had been nominated before his death.
The Jim Bacon Foundation was established in his honour to "provide practical support and financial assistance to cancer patients and their families by making funds available to organisations that offer cancer treatment and palliative care services". The Foundation was absorbed into the Ricky Ponting Foundation in May 2013. The State Government will continue to fund the $30,000 Jim Bacon Memorial Scholarship at the University of Tasmania.
Jim Bacon had four sisters: Jenny, Wendy, Janet and Mary.
Bacon had a twenty-year partnership with Lynnette Francis, and they had two sons, Mark and Scott. Scott Bacon was elected to the Tasmanian House of Assembly at the 2010 state election.
Later Bacon married Honey Hogan, who had been a croupier and the public face of Australia's first casino: Wrest Point Hotel Casino when it opened in 1973. That marriage gave him a stepson, Shane.
- "BACON, James Alexander". The Parliament of Tasmania from 1856. Tasmanian parliament-parliament.tas.gov.au. 24 November 2005. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
- "Jim Bacon addresses student protesters, with Albert Langer". Monpix. Monash University.
- "Welcome, Mr President". The Mercury. 18 November 2014.
- It's an Honour
- "Jim Bacon cancer fund winding up". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 May 2013. Retrieved 8 April 2019.
- Jim Bacon's maiden speech to parliament at the Wayback Machine (archived 8 May 2004)
- Ludeke, M. (2006) Ten Events Shaping Tasmania's History. Hobart: Ludeke Publishing.
- Death of the Honourable James Alexander Bacon, former Premier of Tasmania Hansard, 22 June 2004, parliament.nsw.gov.au
- Associates pay tribute to Jim Bacon
- The selling-out of Tasmania
- The Jim Bacon Foundation
| Opposition Leader of Tasmania
| Premier of Tasmania
|Party political offices|
| Leader of the Labor Party in Tasmania