Phillip Lynch

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Sir Phillip Lynch

PhillipLynch1968.jpg
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
In office
20 December 1972 – 8 April 1982
LeaderBilly Snedden
Malcolm Fraser
Preceded byBilly Snedden
Succeeded byJohn Howard
Treasurer of Australia
In office
11 November 1975 – 19 November 1977
Prime MinisterMalcolm Fraser
Preceded byBill Hayden
Succeeded byJohn Howard
Minister for Industry and Commerce
In office
20 December 1977 – 11 October 1982
Prime MinisterMalcolm Fraser
Preceded byBob Cotton
Succeeded byAndrew Peacock
Minister for Finance
In office
7 December 1976 – 19 November 1977
Prime MinisterMalcolm Fraser
Preceded byPosition Established
Succeeded byEric Robinson
Minister for Labour and National Service
In office
22 March 1971 – 5 December 1972
Prime MinisterWilliam McMahon
Preceded byBilly Snedden
Succeeded byLance Barnard
Minister for Immigration
In office
12 November 1969 – 22 March 1971
Prime MinisterJohn Gorton
William McMahon
Preceded byBilly Snedden
Succeeded byJim Forbes
Minister for the Army
In office
28 February 1968 – 12 November 1969
Prime MinisterJohn Gorton
Preceded byMalcolm Fraser
Succeeded byAndrew Peacock
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Flinders
In office
26 November 1966 – 22 October 1982
Preceded byRobert Lindsay
Succeeded byPeter Reith
Personal details
Born(1933-07-27)27 July 1933
Carlton, Victoria, Australia
Died19 June 1984(1984-06-19) (aged 50)
Frankston, Victoria, Australia
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)
Leah O'Toole (m. 1958)

Sir Phillip Reginald Lynch KCMG (27 July 1933 – 19 June 1984) was an Australian politician who served in the House of Representatives from 1966 to 1982. He was deputy leader of the Liberal Party from 1972 to 1982, and served as a government minister under three prime ministers.

Lynch was born in Melbourne and worked as a schoolteacher and management consultant before entering politics. He was elected to parliament at the 1966 federal election. Lynch was appointed to cabinet at the age of 34, and served as Minister for the Army (1968–1969), Minister for Immigration (1969–1971), and Minister for Labour and National Service (1971–1972) under John Gorton and William McMahon. He was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party in 1972, serving first under Billy Snedden and later under Malcolm Fraser. Lynch became Treasurer when the Liberals returned to power in 1975, but had to resign after two years due to a perceived conflict of interest. He was then Minister for Industry and Commerce until his retirement due to ill health in 1982. He died of cancer a few years later, aged 50.

Early life[edit]

Lynch was born in Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria, the oldest child of Dorothy Louise (née Reilly) and Reginald Thomas Lynch. His father was a fitter. Lynch grew up in the suburb of Kew and attended Catholic schools, initially a Marist Brothers school in Hawthorn and then Xavier College. He went on to study at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1955 and a diploma in education in 1964. He was active in student politics, and campaigned against the White Australia policy. After graduating, Lynch worked as a schoolteacher for about a year, mostly at Collingwood Technical School. He then joined Manpower (Australia) Pty Ltd, a management consulting firm of which he eventually became managing director. He married Leah Brigid O'Toole in 1958, with whom he would have three sons.[1]

Early years in politics[edit]

As a university student, Lynch considered joining the Australian Labor Party, but was alienated by the party's left wing. His decision to join the Liberal Party was unusual for someone from a working-class Catholic background, and throughout his career he was one of the party's few Catholic MPs. Lynch first stood for parliament at the 1955 federal election, aged 22, running in the safe Labor seat of Scullin. He was state president of the Young Liberals from 1956 to 1958, and served on the party's state executive from 1956 to 1963. Lynch was eventually elected to the House of Representatives at the 1966 election. He won Liberal preselection for the Division of Flinders against a large field of other candidates.[1]

Government minister[edit]

Between 1968 and 1972, Lynch served variously as Minister for the Army, Minister for Immigration, and Minister for Labour and National Service, under Prime Ministers John Gorton and William McMahon. In opposition from 1972 to 1975, he was Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. He was also the Deputy Leader of the Opposition as then Liberal leader Billy Snedden had refused to give the title to the Country Party leader Doug Anthony. After his party won back government in 1975, Lynch continued as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party until his retirement in 1982.

Opposed to the “white Australia policy” and Australia's restrictive immigration regime, as Minister for Immigration in 1970 he toured Europe in a successful drive to recruit workers for Australia’s underpopulated workforce, meeting with the leaders of several nations and Pope Paul VI. A conciliating presence between opposing factions both within and outside his party, he was also partly responsible for exposing the Khemlani loans affair that, although Lynch was not actively involved, was to contribute to the dismissal of the Whitlam government and election of Malcolm Fraser as Prime Minister in 1975.

Malcolm Fraser appointed Lynch Treasurer in 1975. When the Treasury portfolio was split into Treasury and Finance in December 1976, Lynch held both portfolios. He is noted for using the expression "rubbery" to describe some of the estimates in his 1977 Budget Speech, leading to the use of the expression "rubbery figures" in Australian political debate.[2] He was forced to resign from the ministry on 19 November 1977 when it became known that he was using a family trust to minimise his tax obligations, which was perceived as a conflict of interest. He was replaced as Treasurer by John Howard and as Minister for Finance by Eric Robinson. An official inquiry found that he had done nothing illegal or improper, and he returned to the ministry in December, as Minister for Industry and Commerce.[3]

After the 1980 election, Fraser formed the Committee of Review of Government Functions, popularly known as the "Razor Gang", which Lynch chaired.[4]

Honours and family life[edit]

Lynch was named a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 1981 New Year Honours.[5] He was also made a Privy Councillor in 1977, allowing him to use the pre-nominal letters The Right Honourable. He resigned his parliamentary seat on the grounds of ill-health in 1982, and died of stomach cancer in 1984. Sir Phillip's wife, Leah O'Toole, had been a boarder at St Ann's Ladies College, Warrnambool, after which she worked as an occupational therapist.[1] Sir Phillip and Lady Leah Lynch had three sons. Lady Lynch, known for her charity work, died in 2007.[6][7][8]

Among the tributes recorded in Hansard on Sir Phillip Lynch's death the following observations appear -

Sir Phillip Lynch joined the Melbourne Jaycees - then the Junior Chamber of Commerce - in 1959. From that year he held leadership positions every year until he became President of the Melbourne Chapter in 1963. He was National Vice President of the Victorian Zone in 1964 and subsequently, in 1966, he served as National President of Australian Jaycees… During his lifetime Sir Phillip Lynch epitomised the charter and function of the Jaycees movement - self-development and leadership. He particularly recognised the need for young people to contribute to the field of public leadership and during his period of membership his efforts were aimed at tapping the potential of young Australians. He was, to my knowledge, the first person in Australia to campaign actively for the appointment of a public grievance investigator - an ombudsman - because of his very strong belief in the protection of the rights of the individual. – Peter Fisher

…in 1979-80 Phillip Lynch championed the export facilitation proposal for the motor industry, which led to the development of the world-scale General Motors-Holden's Ltd engine plant at Fishermans Bend. That in turn meant that engines built in Australia powered motor cars in England and on the Continent. – Dr Harry Edwards

All honourable members on this side of the House admired Phillip Lynch...There are few men who have the qualities that Phillip Lynch brought to this Parliament. He was an extraordinarily human person. He had none of the frailties and weaknesses that so many of us have. I fought Phil and opposed him on a number of occasions but I always admired him. The qualities that he had are rarely possessed by one person. He had a tolerance, a patience and a dedication but an unremitting friendliness to anyone even though that person may have argued or contested positions against him. – Andrew Peacock

He was also known for the strength of character and single-mindedness of purpose through which he sought to achieve his political ambitions. Although many members of this Parliament would have disagreed with him on a number of occasions, they would all, I believe, have respected the views that he expressed and especially the conviction with which he expressed them. – Bob Hawke

I think one of Phillip Lynch's greatest qualities was that he was always willing to listen to the Opposition. He did not believe that all wisdom came from one side of politics. He listened to debates in which he was involved; if he thought that a member had something to contribute he would invite the member to his office to discuss the matter, and he often acted upon it. In my early years in Parliament I took a considerable interest in immigration and questioned a lot of things. As a result of a number of discussions we had in his office about the matter, he set up the Borrie National Population Inquiry. – Barry Cohen

I hope that what I say will not be misunderstood. I do not think that those of us who are paying tribute to Sir Phillip Lynch would mark him out as a man of extraordinary intellectual brilliance. He was not. But he was a man who developed the capacities he had within him by sheer unremitting work. He never gave up. He had that quality that the Germans call Sitzfleisch. He could outsit anybody else. He was very valuable in committee work. When people were fainting in coils, Sir Phillip Lynch was writing the minutes. Stalin said on one occasion: 'He who keeps the minutes writes the history'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Sir Phillip Lynch". adb.anu.edu.au. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  2. ^ Howard, John (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  3. ^ Gavin Souter, Acts of Parliament, pp.563–65
  4. ^ Sinclair, Ian (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  5. ^ It's an Honour
  6. ^ Woolley, Jarrod. "Emmanuel continues to unearth inspiring alumni". Warrnambool Standard, 12 November 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  7. ^ "History of the College". Emmanuel College Alumni Website. Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2016. The Sisters of Mercy beg to announce that they will open a day and boarding school for young ladies at (St Ann's) Convent of Mercy, Wyton, on July 1st, 1872.
  8. ^ Chynoweth, Bob (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  9. ^ Barry, Jones (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Archived from the original on 24 May 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Robert Lindsay
Member for Flinders
1966–1982
Succeeded by
Peter Reith
Political offices
Preceded by
Malcolm Fraser
Minister for the Army
1968–1969
Succeeded by
Andrew Peacock
Preceded by
Billy Snedden
Minister for Immigration
1969–1971
Succeeded by
Jim Forbes
Minister for Labour and National Service
1971–1972
Succeeded by
Clyde Cameron
Preceded by
Bill Hayden
Treasurer of Australia
1975–1977
Succeeded by
John Howard
New office Minister for Finance
1976–1977
Succeeded by
Eric Robinson
Preceded by
Bob Cotton
Minister for Industry and Commerce
1977–1982
Succeeded by
Andrew Peacock
Party political offices
Preceded by
Billy Snedden
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia
1972–1982
Succeeded by
John Howard