Lance Barnard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Lance Barnard

Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
In office
5 December 1972 – 12 June 1974
Prime MinisterGough Whitlam
Preceded byDoug Anthony
Succeeded byJim Cairns
Minister for Defence
In office
5 December 1972 – 6 June 1975
Prime MinisterGough Whitlam
Preceded byDavid Fairbairn
Succeeded byBill Morrison
Deputy Leader of the Labor Party
In office
9 February 1967 – 12 June 1974
LeaderGough Whitlam
Preceded byGough Whitlam
Succeeded byJim Cairns
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Bass
In office
29 May 1954 – 2 June 1975
Preceded byBruce Kekwick
Succeeded byKevin Newman
Personal details
Lance Herbert Barnard

(1919-05-01)1 May 1919
Launceston, Tasmania, Australia
Died6 August 1997(1997-08-06) (aged 78)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLabor
Doris Burston
m. 1943)

Jill Cant
m. 1962)
RelationsClaude Barnard (father)
Michael Barnard (nephew)
Eric Barnard (cousin)
Harry Cant (father-in-law)

Lance Herbert Barnard AO (1 May 1919 – 6 August 1997) was an Australian politician and diplomat. He was a member of the House of Representatives from 1954 to 1975, representing the Labor Party, and served as the party's deputy leader from 1967 to 1974. In the Whitlam Government, he was deputy prime minister from 1972 to 1974. After leaving politics he served as Ambassador to Norway, Finland, and Sweden from 1975 to 1978.

Early life[edit]

Barnard was born in Launceston, Tasmania, one of four children born to Herbert Claude Barnard and the former Martha Melva McKenzie. His father, a trade unionist and locomotive driver, was elected to parliament in 1934, and was a minister in the Chifley Government.[1]

Barnard left school during the Great Depression and worked in a timberyard for a few years. He began training as a schoolteacher by attending night school. In 1940, Barnard enlisted in the Australian Army. He fought with the 9th Division in the Middle East and Africa, including in the Battle of El Alamein. His military service left him with a permanent hearing impairment. After returning to Australia in 1945, Barnard qualified as a schoolteacher and subsequently taught mathematics in various Tasmanian schools.[2]

Political career[edit]

Barnard in the 1950s.

At the 1954 federal election, Barnard was elected to the Division of Bass for the Labor Party. He defeated the sitting Liberal member Bruce Kekwick, who had defeated Claude Barnard for the seat in 1949.

In 1967, Barnard became Deputy Leader of the Labor Party and when it won office under Whitlam in 1972 Barnard was Deputy Prime Minister. As Minister for Defence, Barnard personally ensured the recommendations of the Jess Committee and new Defense Force Retirements Benefits Scheme was implemented in 1972.[3]

For the first two weeks of Whitlam's government, before the full electoral result was known, Whitlam and Barnard formed a two-man ministry, known as a duumvirate, to govern until a full ministry could be announced. Barnard held 14 portfolios including Defence and Immigration. Following the announcement of a complete ministry, Barnard served as Minister for Defence.

Following the 1974 election, Barnard lost the Labor Deputy Leadership to Dr. Jim Cairns. He remained Defence Minister until resigning from parliament a year later.

Later years[edit]

Whitlam appointed Barnard Ambassador to Norway, Finland, and Sweden in 1975.[4] Bass was resoundingly lost to the Liberals at the ensuing by-election, in which Labor lost 17 per cent of its primary vote. This shock result was seen by many as the beginning of the end for the Whitlam government, which was dismissed five months later.

From 1981 to 1985, Barnard was director of the Office of Australian War Graves.

Personal life[edit]

Barnard married Doris Burston on 6 March 1943.[5] They had two daughters together, Patricia and Suzanne. He remarried on 11 September 1962 to Jill Cant, the daughter of Senator Harry Cant of Western Australia. They had a son together, Nicholas,[6] and also adopted two Vietnamese orphan girls, Amanda and Jacqueline; Amanda died as an infant.[7][8]


  1. ^ R. J. K. Chapman, 'Barnard, Herbert Claude (1890–1957)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 30 March 2018.
  2. ^ Obituary: Lance Barnard
  3. ^ "Unknown". Canberra Times. 1 November 1972.
  4. ^ Whitlam, Gough (23 June 1975). "Appointment of Ambassador to Sweden, Finland and Norway" (Press release). Archived from the original on 17 April 2015.
  5. ^ "An Afternoon Wedding". The Examiner. 8 March 1943.
  6. ^ "On being a politician's wife". The Canberra Times. 19 August 1969.
  7. ^ "War Waif Adopted". The Canberra Times. 11 February 1971.
  8. ^ "A Hug for Jacqueline". The Canberra Times. 31 May 1972.
Political offices
Preceded by
Doug Anthony
Deputy Prime Minister of Australia
Succeeded by
Jim Cairns
Preceded by
David Fairbairn
Minister for Defence
Succeeded by
Bill Morrison
Preceded by
Tom Drake-Brockman
Minister for Air
Preceded by
Bob Katter
Minister for the Army
Preceded by
Malcolm Mackay
Minister for the Navy
Preceded by
Victor Garland
Minister for Supply
Succeeded by
Kep Enderby
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Bruce Kekwick
Member for Bass
Succeeded by
Kevin Newman
Party political offices
Preceded by
Gough Whitlam
Deputy Leader of the Australian Labor Party
Succeeded by
Jim Cairns
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Petherbridge
Australian Ambassador to Sweden
Australian Ambassador to Norway
Australian Ambassador to Finland

Succeeded by
Brian Hill