Peter Lewis (politician)

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The Honourable
Peter Lewis
Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly
In office
5 March 2002 – 4 April 2005
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Hammond
In office
11 October 1997 – 17 March 2006
Preceded by New creation
Succeeded by Adrian Pederick
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Ridley
In office
11 December 1993 – 10 October 1997
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Murray-Mallee
In office
7 December 1985 – 10 December 1993
Member of the South Australian Parliament
for Mallee
In office
15 September 1979 – 6 December 1985
Personal details
Born (1942-01-01) 1 January 1942 (age 73)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal (1979-2000)
Independent (2000-2006)
Spouse(s) Kerry Lewis
Alma mater University of Adelaide
Occupation Management Consultant

Ivan Peter Lewis (born 1 January 1942) is an Australian politician. Lewis was a member of the South Australian House of Assembly between 1979 and 2006 in the electorates of Hammond, Ridley, Murray-Mallee and Mallee.[1] From 1979 he was in the House as a Liberal member, however he was expelled from the Liberals in 2000. He was re-elected as an independent, serving until 2006.[2] His decision to serve as Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly for a Labor government resulted in Mike Rann becoming Premier of South Australia from the 2002 election.[3]

Party affiliation[edit]

Lewis was first elected at the 1979 election as a Liberal candidate. He quickly gained a reputation as a maverick, defying the party authorities on many an occasion. In July 2000, he was expelled from the Liberal Party.[4]

At the 2002 election, Lewis contested his seat under the banner of the Community Leadership Independence Coalition (CLIC) and was re-elected. Three other CLIC candidates contested seats in the South Australian House of Assembly but failed.[5] During the campaign, Lewis said he would support any government that would commit to a program of parliamentary reform, including Labor. When pressed by The Advertiser, Lewis denied his statement meant he may help Labor form government, saying "You can quote me: That is bullshit. Clear, unequivocal, hot, green, sloppy, fresh bullshit. I'm not into forming government with Labor".[6]

Support for Labor[edit]

At the 2002 election, with 24 seats required for a parliamentary majority, Labor won 23 seats, the Liberals won 20 seats, the SA Nationals won one seat, with three seats including Lewis won by independents. Lewis negotiated with both parties, eventually agreeing to support a Rann Labor minority government on confidence and supply motions while retaining the right to vote on conscience. In return, Lewis became Speaker of the South Australian House of Assembly, Labor agreed to hold a Constitutional Convention, and Lewis gained concessions for his electorate including the phasing out of commercial fishing in the River Murray, prioritising the eradication of the branched broomrape weed, changing water rates for irrigation, fast-tracking a feasibility study for a weir and lock at Wellington, and improving rural roads.[7]

Kerin stated that since the Liberals had won the two-party vote on 50.9 percent, he would stay in office until Labor demonstrated it had support on the floor of the legislature. As a result, on Lewis' first day as speaker, he presided over the vote that saw Kerin defeated in the legislature and confirmed Rann as premier. The Liberals hinted at challenging the result in Lewis' seat, but this did not eventuate.[8]

However, the other two independents, Rory McEwen and Bob Such, and the SA Nationals member, Karlene Maywald, later also agreed to support the Rann government in return for cabinet or speaker positions.[3][9]


As speaker, he earned widespread attention for his colourful style of regulating parliamentary debate. The Rann government held a Constitutional Convention as promised in 2003, and as an outcome organised what ended up as failed attempts at bills for optional preferential voting, citizen initiated referendums and four-year Upper House terms.[10]

Terry Stephens[edit]

Lewis in 2002 faced media scrutiny over his links to businessman Terry Stephens (not to be confused with Liberal MP Terry Stephens) after claims were made in parliament, just prior to Lewis becoming speaker, by federal Liberal MP for Barker, Patrick Secker.[11][12][13] Lewis was exonerated of any wrongdoing despite submitting himself to extensive police investigations.[14] Stephens was later convicted of lying to smear Lewis.[15]

Standfield, Utting and Ratcliff[edit]

In 2004 Lewis and some of his staffers, including two child abuse activists and volunteer staffers named Malcolm Barry Standfield and Wendy Utting, were speaking to 8 informants about alleged pedophiles. One of the most vocal informants was named Craig Ratcliff and whilst he was providing plausible information that he had been a victim himself, he had also been found guilty as a perpetrator and is recorded as a convicted pedophile.[16] Ratcliff was one of the informants who accused the MP during a television interview in August 2004. Ratcliff later recanted his claims, saying he realised the politician was not the man known as "Terry" who frequented gay beats in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was subsequently convicted to a suspended prison sentence in 2008.[17]

Another of those informants named Robert Woodland was found bashed to death on 8 December 2004 in the South Parklands.[18] Then on 25 February 2005 another of the informants named Shaine Moore was found dead in suspicious circumstances.[19][20]

In early March 2005 the media and the Labor Government narrowed down the allegations of a pedophile politician to a male Labor Politician.[21] On 1 April 2005 Standfield and Utting faxed a press release, giving names of the alleged sitting MP and 2 policemen.

A police investigation of Standfield, Utting and Ratcliff started and all 3 were charged with criminal defamation.[22][23][24] In 2008 the two volunteer staffers working in Lewis' Office, Standfield and Utting, were found not guilty of defamation over the claims.[15][25][26] In December 2008 Ratcliff was sentenced for criminal defamation for the allegations.[27][28][29]


On 4 April 2005 Lewis faced a potential motion of no confidence, but before a vote could be taken he gave a speech in parliament then resigned as speaker.[30][31][32]

2006 election[edit]

For the 2006 election, Lewis did not stand for his seat of Hammond, but instead stood as an independent for election to the Legislative Council. However he was not elected, receiving 0.6 percent of the statewide vote.[33][34]

2009 mining interests[edit]

Lewis owns eight mining leases, as well as interests in Goldus Operations and Mintech Resources. It has been reported that Lewis had sold his iron ore project at Razorback Ridge, 80 km east of Yunta, to Western Australia's Royal Resources for $30 million.[35]


Lewis was a 2004 awardee of the World Peace Prize.[36][37]


  1. ^ "Profile: Hon Peter Lewis". Parliament of South Australia. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "Election Guide - Hammond (Key Seat)". ABC Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 2006. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Labor govt for SA". ABC Radio (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 14 February 2002. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  4. ^ "SA Government in minority". ABC Radio (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 6 July 2000. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  5. ^ Green, Antony. "Election Summary". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  6. ^ Wheatley, Kim (8 February 2002). "Lewis swings support back to Liberals.". The Advertiser. 
  7. ^ Bainger, Fleur. "Rural voters say they won't vote for Peter Lewis again", ABC SA Country Hour, 15 February 2002. Retrieved on 26 May 2015.
  8. ^ Reporter:Ann Barker (5 March 2002). "Premier crowned in Sth Australia". The 7.30 Report. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC TV. 
  9. ^ "Lewis elected Speaker in SA". ABC Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 3 March 2002. Retrieved 28 June 2009. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Multi-member Electorate Symposium – Towards a Fairer Voting System for SA". Quota Notes. Proportional Representation Society of Australia. September 2004. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "Libs link SA Independent to convicted bank robber". ABC News Online (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 22 February 2002. 
  12. ^ Gout, Hendrik (19 December 2008). "The Liddy files: Shamed and defamed". Independent Weekly. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  13. ^ "Lewis business deal exposed". Barossa Herald. 17 April 2002. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  14. ^ "The Liddy Plot". Today Tonight. 5 October 2009. 
  15. ^ a b Dowdell, Andrew (9 February 2009). "Conman Terry Stephens jailed over Peter Lewis 'smear campaign'". Adelaide Now. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 
  16. ^ "Paedophile wants separate charges". NineMSN. AAP. 2007. 
  17. ^ Dowdell, Andrew (19 December 2008). "Sex accuser 'enjoyed the attention'". The Advertiser. Ratcliff, 47, claimed the politician had sex with underage boys at Veale Gardens in the Adelaide parklands but later recanted his story as a case of mistaken identity. 
  18. ^ "Robert Woodland - REWARD $200,000". SA CrimeStoppers. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  19. ^ "Dead men had outed homosexual politician". The Age. 2 March 2005. 
  20. ^ "Police dismiss pedophile MP claim". 3 March 2005. Retrieved 23 June 2013. 
  21. ^ Henschke, Ian. "Peter Lewis defends MP paedophile claims". StateLine. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 11 March 2005. 
  22. ^ Nyland, Justice. "R v RATCLIFF, STANFIELD & UTTING". Supreme Court of SA. Retrieved 10 August 2007. 
  23. ^ "MP urged to stand down after making unfounded allegations". ABC Radio (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 10 May 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  24. ^ "Police raid homes of former SA Speaker's volunteers". ABC Radio. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 6 April 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  25. ^ Dowdell, Andrew (12 Dec 2008). "Child abuse activists Malcolm Standfield and Wendy Utting acquitted". The Advertiser. 
  26. ^ "Law still unclear after child abuse activists acquitted of defamation". The Australian. 15 December 2008. 
  27. ^ Nance Haxton (11 April 2005). "Informant retracts paedophilia allegations against SA Labor MP". The World Today (ABC Radio). 
  28. ^ Vanstone, Justice. "R v Craig Ratcliff - Sentencing Remarks, Criminal Defamation". Supreme Court. Retrieved 18 December 2008. 
  29. ^ Dowdell, Andrew (18 December 2008). "Craig Ratcliff gets suspended sentence for calling MP a pedophile". The Advertiser. 
  30. ^ Peter Lewis (4 April 2005). "Speaker's Remarks". Parliamentary Debates (Hansard). South Australia: House of Assembly. p. 2090–2092. 
  31. ^ "PM - SA Speaker resigns over sex row". ABC Radio (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 4 April 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  32. ^ "SA legislation could put an end to parliamentary privilege". 7.30 Report (Australian Broadcasting Corporation). 5 April 2005. Retrieved 28 June 2009. 
  33. ^ "Results For Legislative Council". State Election Office, South Australia. Archived from the original on 21 August 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  34. ^ "South Australian Election 2006". ABC News. 2006. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  35. ^ "Peter Lewis sells SA iron ore project to Royal Resources". Perth Now. 5 October 2009. 
  36. ^ "World Peace Prize Recipients Announced". Reuters. 3 February 2011. Archived from the original on 6 February 2011. 
  37. ^ Former Speaker Peter Lewis sued in iron deal: The Advertiser 26 April 2010
Parliament of South Australia
Preceded by
William Nankivell
Member for Mallee
New district Member for Murray-Mallee
District abolished
New district Member for Ridley
District abolished
New district Member for Hammond
Succeeded by
Adrian Pederick
Preceded by
John Oswald
Speaker of the
South Australian House of Assembly

Succeeded by
Bob Such