Les Bury

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The Honourable
Les Bury
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Wentworth
In office
8 December 1956 – 11 April 1974
Preceded by Eric Harrison
Succeeded by Robert Ellicott
Personal details
Born (1913-02-25)25 February 1913
London, England
Died 7 September 1986(1986-09-07) (aged 73)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Anne
Occupation Public servant

Leslie Harry Ernest Bury CMG (25 February 1913 – 7 September 1986) was an Australian politician.[1]


Bury was born in London and was educated at Queens' College, Cambridge. During World War II, he served in the Second Australian Imperial Force from 1943 to 1945, with heavy artillery fixed defences and with the 12th Australian Radar Detachment.[2] He worked in the Department of the Treasury in the 1940s and later worked as Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Australian representative on the International Monetary Fund from 1951 to 1956.[3]

Bury was elected as the Liberal Party of Australia Member for Wentworth in 1956 at a by-election following the resignation of Eric Harrison to become High Commissioner to the United Kingdom. According to Peter King, he "... would attend football matches with [Labor leader] Arthur Calwell in Melbourne and ... [shadow Treasurer] Frank Crean stayed at the Bury home in Sydney".[3] Bury was appointed Minister for Air and Minister assisting the Treasurer in Robert Menzies' ninth ministry in December 1961. On 27 July 1962 he was sacked for speaking in favour of the accession of the United Kingdom to the European Economic Community, saying that "European integration, of which the Common Market is an essential expression, is a keystone of the grand design for Western survival". This strongly conflicted with Deputy Prime Minister John McEwen's concerns over its impact on Australian exports to the United Kingdom.[4] In December 1963, he became Minister for Housing, when he introduced the First Home Owners Grant, which continues to be a feature of the Australian political landscape.[3]

In January 1966, Bury became Minister for Labour and National Service in Harold Holt's first ministry, during the Vietnam War, when he was responsible for implementing conscription. During John Gorton's first ministry in 1968 and 1969 when Phillip Lynch was Minister for the Army, conscription was regularly attacked with the slogan, "Lynch Bury and bury Lynch". In November 1969, Bury became Treasurer in the second Gorton Ministry. When William McMahon became Prime Minister in March 1971, he initially retained Bury as Treasurer, but 12 days later moved him to the Foreign Affairs portfolio, and sacked him in August 1971. Bury retired from parliament in 1974 due to ill health.[5]

In the Queen's Birthday Honours of June 1979, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George (CMG), in recognition of his service to the Parliament of Australia.[6]

Bury died in Sydney and was survived by his wife Anne and his four sons, Peter, Michael, John and Nicholas.[7]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Members of the House of Representatives since 1901". Parliamentary Handbook. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 21 September 2007. 
  2. ^ Hawke, Bob (16 September 1986). "Death of Hon. L.H.E.Bury, CMG". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  3. ^ a b c King, Peter (28 May 2003). "Bury, Mr Les" (PDF). Hansard. Parliament of Australia. pp. 15279–80. Retrieved 21 September 2007. 
  4. ^ Coleman, Peter (16 September 1986). "Death of Hon. L.H.E.Bury, CMG". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  5. ^ Dobie, Don (16 September 1986). "Death of Hon. L.H.E.Bury, CMG". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
  6. ^ "Bury, Leslie Harry Ernest". It's an Honour. Government of Australia. Retrieved 20 October 2007. 
  7. ^ Sinclair, Ian (16 September 1986). "Death of Hon. L.H.E.Bury, CMG". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 22 September 2007. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Harrie Wade
Minister for Air
Succeeded by
David Fairbairn
New title Minister for Housing
Succeeded by
Annabelle Rankin
Preceded by
William McMahon
Labour and National Service
Succeeded by
Billy Snedden
Preceded by
William McMahon
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Nigel Bowen
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Eric Harrison
Member for Wentworth
Succeeded by
Robert Ellicott