John Maddison

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The Honourable
John Maddison
John Maddison.jpg
41st Attorney General of New South Wales
In office
3 January 1975 – 14 May 1976
Premier Thomas Lewis
Sir Eric Willis
Preceded by Sir Kenneth McCaw
Succeeded by Frank Walker
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Ku-ring-gai
In office
17 November 1973 – 4 July 1980
Preceded by New district
Succeeded by Nick Greiner
Personal details
Born (1921-09-04)4 September 1921
Chatswood, New South Wales
Died 29 August 1982(1982-08-29) (aged 60)
Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Liberal Party
Spouse(s) Suzanne Barry-Smith
Military service
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australia Australian Army
Years of service 1942–1946
Rank Lieutenant
Unit 2nd Australian Imperial Force
53rd Anti-Aircraft Regiment

World War II

John Clarkson Maddison, (4 September 1921 – 29 August 1982) was a New South Wales politician, Attorney General, Minister for Justice and Deputy Leader for the Liberal Party of New South Wales in the cabinets of Robert Askin, Tom Lewis and Sir Eric Willis until the Liberal party lost the 1976 election. Maddison was first elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the Electoral district of Hornsby in 1962 until 1973 and thereon as member for Ku-ring-gai until his retirement in 1980.[1]

Early life[edit]

Maddison was born in Chatswood, New South Wales, Australia, in 1921, the son of George Edgar Maddison, a company director from New Zealand, and Frances Mary Maddison (née Patterson). After early education at Sydney Grammar School, Maddison began an arts degree at the University of Sydney but interrupted university studies to enlist upon the outbreak of the Second World War. He later gained his BA in 1942. Maddison was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force, 53rd Anti-Aircraft Regiment, on 2 August 1942, serving in Borneo and the Philippines.[2]

Being discharged on 22 January 1946, he resumed his studies and gained a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) in 1948. Maddison was admitted as a solicitor in 1948, with Ralph S.B Sillar and Maddison and became a public notary in 1965. He became the vice president of the Constitutional Association of Australia from 1959 until 1964. Maddison married Suzanne Barry-Smith on 14 October 1953 and together had 2 daughters and a son.[1]

Political career[edit]

Maddison joined the Liberal Party in 1954, becoming Secretary and president of Pymble branch and a member of the state executive from 1958 until 1962.[3]

Maddison stood for preselection for the Legislative Assembly seat of Hornsby and gained it over the sitting member, Sydney Storey, who later resigned from the party as stood as an Independent Liberal candidate.[4] Despite this, Maddison was elected at the 1962 election with 54.24% of the vote and went on to hold the seat at a further three elections.[5] Following the Liberal Party victory at the 1965 election under Robert Askin, Maddison was appointed a Minister of the Crown as Minister for Justice, a portfolio he held until the Liberals lost government in 1976.[3]

As Minister he was responsible for the establishment of the Privacy Committee of New South Wales Parliament, consumer protection laws, a law reform commission and the appointment of the first NSW Ombudsman. In 1970 Maddison was sent as leader of the Australian delegation to the United Nations conference on prevention of crime in Japan. Following electoral redistribution at the 1973 election, Maddison moved to the new seat of Ku-ring-gai, gaining 77.6% of the vote.[6] In 1971, Maddison was made a Councillor at Macquarie University, a position which he held until 1978.[1]

In 1975, following the retirement of Premier Sir Robert Askin and the election Tom Lewis as his successor. Eric Willis resigned as Deputy Leader and Maddison was elected in his place. Lewis the appointed Maddison as Attorney General on 3 January 1975 and he was admitted to the New South Wales Bar that same year. As Attorney General Maddison represented Australia as deputy leader of the Geneva conference in 1975 and delegate to Australian Constitutional Convention in Hobart in 1976. He remained as Attorney General until the Liberals lost the election to the ALP on 14 May 1976.[1] Maddison held Ku-ring-gai for a further two elections until his retirement in 1980, causing a by-election that was won by future Liberal Premier of New South Wales, Nick Greiner.[6]

In opposition, Sir Eric Willis appointed Maddison as Shadow Minister for Finance and Federal Affairs from 28 May 1976 to 16 December 1977. When Willis resigned as Leader, Maddison announced his intention to contest the vacant leadership against David Arblaster, Peter Coleman and Kevin Rozzoli, thereby resigning as Deputy Leader.[7] However, when Coleman emerged as leader he was made Shadow Minister for Justice, Shadow Minister for Federal Affairs, Shadow Minister for Cultural Activities from 20 December 1977 until 7 October 1978, when Coleman was lost his seat.[8] Maddison the contested the vacant leadership against Jim Cameron and acting Leader John Mason. When Mason emerged successful as the new Leader, Maddison expressed that he was "a little aghast" at the result.[9] Despite this, Mason appointed him as Shadow Attorney General and Shadow Minister for Justice on 2 November 1978. It was to be his last political appointment which he held until his retirement from Parliament on 4 July 1980.[1] On his retirement, he was permitted by Queen Elizabeth II, on the Governor's recommendation, to continue to use the title "The Honourable".[10]

After parliament[edit]

Following his retirement, Maddison continued to involve himself in a wide range of community affairs as a member of the Law Foundation of New South Wales, the Returned Services League of Australia, and as the Chairman of directors of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of New South Wales. He died on 29 August 1982.[3]

In June 1993, the New South Wales Government dedicated the new home of the Department of Attorney General and Justice and various courts as the "John Maddison Tower" in recognition of Maddison's contribution to law in New South Wales.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e "The Hon. John Clarkson MADDISON (1921 - 1982)". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2010. 
  2. ^ World War II Nominal Roll: MADDISON, JOHN CLARKSON
  3. ^ a b c Hansard (14 September 1982). "Death of The Honourable John Clarkson Maddison, B.A., LL.B., A former Minister of the Crown" (PDF). Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  4. ^ Green, Antony. "Elections for the District of Hornsby - 1963". New South Wales Elections Database. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Green, Antony. "Elections for the District of Hornsby". New South Wales Elections Database. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Green, Antony. "Elections for the District of Ku-ring-gai". New South Wales Elections Database. Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 23 October 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Kennedy, Peter, "Liberals in search for a leader". Sydney Morning Herald 14 December 1977 pg 4.
  8. ^ "Opposition Shadow Ministries from 1973". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 16 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-05. 
  9. ^ Kennedy, Peter, "New Liberal leader has first setback". Sydney Morning Herald 25 October 1978 pg 1.
  10. ^ "No. 46930". The London Gazette. 8 June 1976. p. 8115. 
  11. ^ Hansard (14 November 1996). "John Maddison Tower". Parliament of New South Wales. Archived from the original on 5 June 2011. Retrieved 29 October 2009. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Sydney Storey
Member for Hornsby
1962 – 1973
Succeeded by
Neil Pickard
New district Member for Ku-ring-gai
1973 – 1980
Succeeded by
Nick Greiner
Political offices
Preceded by
John Mannix
Minister for Justice
1965 – 1976
Succeeded by
Ron Mulock
Preceded by
Sir Kenneth McCaw
Attorney General of New South Wales
1975 – 1976
Succeeded by
Frank Walker
Party political offices
Preceded by
Eric Willis
Deputy Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party
1975 – 1977
Succeeded by
John Mason