Tim Bruxner

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The Honourable
Tim Bruxner
Minister for Transport
Minister for Highways
In office
23 January 1976 – 14 May 1976
Premier Sir Eric Willis
Preceded by Max Ruddock
Succeeded by Peter Cox
Minister for Decentralisation and Development
In office
3 December 1973 – 23 January 1976
Premier Sir Robert Askin
Tom Lewis
Preceded by John Fuller
Succeeded by Milton Morris
Member of the New South Wales Parliament
for Tenterfield
In office
3 March 1962 – 28 August 1981
Preceded by Michael Bruxner
Succeeded by District abolished
Personal details
Born (1923-05-18) 18 May 1923 (age 93)
Tenterfield, New South Wales, Australia
Political party Country Party of Australia
Spouse(s) Margaret McLeish
Relations Sir Michael Bruxner (Father)
John Bruxner (Brother)
Religion Church of England
Awards 1939-45 Star.png 1939–45 Star
Defence Medal ribbon.png Defence Medal
War Medal 1939–1945 (UK) ribbon.png War Medal
Australian Service Medal 1939-45 ribbon.jpg Aus. Service Medal
Military service
Allegiance  Australia
Service/branch Australia Australian Army
 Royal Australian Air Force
Years of service 1941 – 1945
Rank Pilot Officer
Unit 2/9th Armoured Regiment
No. 7 Operational Training Unit RAAF
Battles/wars World War II

James Caird (Tim) Bruxner (born 18 May 1923), also known as J.C. Bruxner, was an Australian politician who was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for 19 years from 3 March 1962 to 28 August 1981 and the Deputy Leader of the Country Party of Australia and its successors in New South Wales from 1975 to 1981.

Bruxner held positions as a Minister of the Crown for Housing, Cooperative Societies, Decentralisation and Development and Tourism in the cabinets of Sir Robert Askin and Tom Lewis. Under Sir Eric Willis, Bruxner was promoted as Minister for Transport and Minister for Highways. Upon losing government in 1976, Bruxner continued as Deputy Leader and Shadow Minister until his retirement from politics in 1981.

Early life and background[edit]

James Caird Bruxner, better known as 'Tim' (which was an old family nickname),[1] was born 18 May 1923 in Tenterfield, New South Wales, the youngest son of NSW Country Party politician Michael Frederick Bruxner and Winifred Hay "Midge" Caird. His brother, John Michael Bruxner, later became a Judge of the District Court of New South Wales.[2] He spent his early years on the family property "Roseneath", until he left to attend Cranbrook School, Sydney, becoming School Captain in 1940.[1]

He began to study law at the University of Sydney, but interrupted his studies to serve in the Australian military during World War II. Volunteering for overseas service, he enlisted in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force on 13 December 1941, and was posted to the 1st Armoured Division's 2/9th Armoured Regiment, serving as a corporal.[3] Leaving the Army on 10 July 1944, Bruxner joined the Royal Australian Air Force, 7th Operational Training Unit, as a Pilot Officer.[4] On 18 April 1945, Bruxner married Margaret Ann McLeish, with whom he had a son. Upon being discharged on 15 October 1945, Bruxner became a grazier as the owner of 'Old Auburnvale' station near Inverell, where he was a breeder of Aberdeen Angus cattle.[2]

Political career[edit]

When his father, Sir Michael Bruxner, retired from parliament on 5 February 1962, Bruxner gained preselection for his father's vacated seat of Tenterfield, allegedly against his parent's advice,[5] and won it at the 1962 election for the Country Party with 50.75% of the vote.[6] Serving in the backbenches in opposition, Bruxner was re-elected at the 1965 election with an increased margin of 57.1% of the vote.[6] As a junior member of parliament, Bruxner continued in the backbenches when the Coalition took power under Robert Askin in 1965. He was re-elected again at the 1968 and 1971 elections with 66.9% and 56.9% respectively.[6]

At the 1973 election, Bruxner was returned with 68.63% in Tenterfield.[6] This time Premier Askin promoted him to Cabinet as the Minister for Housing and Minister for Cooperative Societies, which he held from 17 January 1973 to 3 December 1973, when he was further promoted as Minister for Decentralisation and Development, which was centred on the growth areas of Albury-Wodonga and Bathurst-Orange as well as overall government development across the state.[1] On 16 December 1975, the Leader of the New South Wales Country Party, Sir Charles Cutler, retired. Bruxner put his name down to succeed Cutler as Leader, but was defeated by the Deputy Leader, Leon Punch. Bruxner then contested the vacant Deputy Leadership position against George Freudenstein. Defeating Freudenstein, Bruxner became the Deputy Leader of the renamed National Country Party.[7] On 17 December 1975, in addition to his responsibilities for Decentralisation and Development, the new Premier, Tom Lewis, appointed him as the Minister for Tourism, which had been vacated by Cutler.[2] A month later, on 22 January 1976, Lewis was deposed as Premier and Liberal Leader by several backbenchers and was succeeded by Education Minister Sir Eric Willis.[7] Willis then appointed Bruxner as Minister for Transport and Minister for Highways in his new government on 23 January.[6]

As the new Minister for Transport and Highways, Bruxner was the fourth Minister of that portfolio in a year and started amid speculation that he had been given the job to take the mess of transport, which was largely seen as a 'bad news' portfolio, away from the Liberal Party and offload it to the Country Party.[1] Nevertheless, Bruxner took it in his stride, adopting his father's maxim that "We can't please everyone. Let us... go like the devil straight ahead." and oversaw the announcement of the Premier's Sydney Transport masterplan.[1] Inheriting a Department that was in "dire financial straits", Bruxner found it difficult to make an impression before the Willis Government was defeated at the election on 14 May 1976.

Later life[edit]

In opposition, Bruxner was appointed by Opposition leader Willis as Shadow Minister for Decentralisation and Development and Primary Industries. He served in this capacity under the successive Leadership of Peter Coleman until 2 November 1978. When Coleman lost his seat at the 1978 election, he was succeeded by John Mason, who appointed him as Shadow Leader of the House.[8]

When the electoral redistribution results were published in March 1980, Tenterfield was abolished, with most going into the re-established electorate of Northern Tablelands. With this in mind, Bruxner considered his position on whether to stand again at the next election. Eventually he decided to retire as an MP and as Deputy Leader to allow younger members of the party to gain experience.[9] Following the landslide loss at the September 1981 election, the National Country Party and the Liberals both held 14 seats. Party Leader Leon Punch then contested the vacant Leadership of the Opposition, a move which former deputy Bruxner opposed, but lost to the new leader of the Liberals, John Dowd.[10] On his retirement, he was granted by Queen Elizabeth II, on the Governor's recommendation, retention of the title "The Honourable" for life.[11] After leaving politics, Bruxner retired from public life and returned to his property near Inverell.[citation needed]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "In Father's Footsteps...doing the job where you can't please everyone". Sydney Morning Herald 8 February 1976 pg 64.
  2. ^ a b c "The Hon. James Caird BRUXNER (Former Member)". Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  3. ^ World War II Nominal Roll: BRUXNER, JAMES CAIRD – Army Service
  4. ^ World War II Nominal Roll: BRUXNER, JAMES CAIRD – RAAF Service
  5. ^ Hagan, Jim (2006). People and Politics in Regional New South Wales: 1856 to the 1950s. p. 151. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Elections for the District of – Tenterfield". NSW Electoral Commission. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  7. ^ a b Davey, Paul (2006). The Nationals: the Progressive, Country, and National Party in New South Wales 1919–2006. p. 236. 
  8. ^ "Opposition Shadow Ministries from 1973". Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 14 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Davey, Paul (2006). The Nationals: the Progressive, Country, and National Party in New South Wales 1919–2006. p. 271. 
  10. ^ Bramston, Troy (2006). The Wran era. pg 26. 
  11. ^ "no. 46961". The London Gazette. 13 July 1976. p. 9604. Retrieved 2 November 2010. 

References[edit]

  • Davey, Paul (2006). The Nationals: the Progressive, Country, and National Party in New South Wales 1919–2006. Federation Press. pp. 236–271. ISBN 1-86287-526-X. 
  • Hagan, Jim (2006). People and Politics in Regional New South Wales: 1856 to the 1950s. Federation Press. p. 151. ISBN 1-86287-570-7. 
  • Bramston, Troy (2006). The Wran era. Sydney: Federation Press. pg 26. ISBN 978-1-86287-600-2. 
Parliament of New South Wales
Preceded by
Michael Bruxner
Member for Tenterfield
1962 – 1981
District abolished
Political offices
Preceded by
Stanley Stephens
Minister for Housing
1973
Succeeded by
Laurie McGinty
Minister for Co-operative Societies
1973
Preceded by
John Fuller
Minister for Decentralisation and Development
1973 – 1976
Succeeded by
Milton Morris
Preceded by
Sir Charles Cutler
Minister for Tourism
1975 – 1976
Succeeded by
David Arblaster
Preceded by
Max Ruddock
Minister for Transport
1976
Succeeded by
Peter Cox
Minister for Highways
1976
Party political offices
Preceded by
Leon Punch
Deputy Leader of the New South Wales National Country Party
1975 – 1981
Succeeded by
Wal Murray