Phillip Lynch

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The Right Honourable
Sir Phillip Lynch
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Flinders
In office
26 November 1966 – 22 October 1982
Preceded by Robert Lindsay
Succeeded by Peter Reith
Personal details
Born (1933-07-27)27 July 1933
Died 19 June 1984(1984-06-19) (aged 50)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Leah
Religion Roman Catholic
For the Irish businessman, see Philip Lynch.

Sir Phillip Reginald Lynch KCMG (27 July 1933 – 19 June 1984) was a Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia.

Early life[edit]

Lynch was educated at Xavier College and the University of Melbourne where he graduated with an arts degree and a diploma in education. He worked as a secondary teacher.[1]

Political life[edit]

Lynch held the House of Representatives seat of Flinders from 1966 to 1982. Between 1968 and 1972, he 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.

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 of the Order of St. Michael and St. George in the New Year's Day Honours of 1981.[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.[6] Sir Phillip and Lady Leah Lynch had three sons. Lady Lynch, known for her charity work, died in 2007.[7][8][9]

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.


  1. ^ "Sir Philip Lynch". Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Howard, John (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. 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. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  5. ^ It's an Honour
  6. ^ "Sir Philip Lynch". Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  7. ^ Woolley, Jarrod. "Emmanuel continues to unearth inspiring alumni". Warrnambool Standard, 12 November 2012. Retrieved 23 May 2016. 
  8. ^ "History of the College". Emmanuel College Alumni Website. 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. 
  9. ^ Chynoweth, Robert (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. Retrieved 11 November 2007. 
  10. ^ Barry, Jones (21 August 1984). "Death of Right Honourable Sir Phillip Lynch". Hansard. Parliament of Australia. 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