Tom Hughes (Australian politician)

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This article is about the Australian politician. For other men with this name, see Thomas Hughes (disambiguation).
The Honourable
Tom Hughes
Attorney-General of Australia
In office
Preceded by Nigel Bowen
Succeeded by Nigel Bowen
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Parkes
In office
30 November 1963 – 25 October 1969
Preceded by Les Haylen
Succeeded by Division abolished
Member of the Australian Parliament
for Berowra
In office
25 October 1969 – 2 November 1972
Preceded by Division created
Succeeded by Harry Edwards
Personal details
Born (1923-11-26) 26 November 1923 (age 91)
Nationality Australian
Political party Liberal
Relations Robert Hughes (critic), Malcolm Turnbull
Children Lucy Turnbull, Thomas Jr., Michael
Alma mater University of Sydney
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholicism

Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes AO QC (born 26 November 1923) is a former Australian politician and a prominent barrister practising at Blackstone Chambers in Sydney, who served as the 19th Attorney-General of Australia from 1969 to 1971. He was a Liberal member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1963 to 1972, representing first the seat of Parkes and then (when Parkes was abolished in 1969) the seat of Berowra.

Early life and education[edit]

Hughes was born in South Sydney, the son of lawyer and aviator Geoffrey Forrest Hughes. His grandfather and great-uncle were members of the New South Wales Legislative Council. He was educated at St Ignatius' College, Riverview, and the University of Sydney, where he graduated in law. He served in the Royal Australian Air Force in World War II and was awarded the French Légion d'honneur in 2005 for his courage while flying planes in the Invasion of Normandy.[1] He was called to the Sydney bar in 1949, becoming a QC in 1962.


Hughes defeated the long-serving Labor member Les Haylen to unexpectedly win the seat of Parkes at the 1963 elections. He was attorney-general in the government of John Gorton, but was dropped from the ministry by William McMahon, and the disillusionment this caused led him to retire at the 1972 election. After leaving politics he became one of the leading figures at the Sydney bar. He is still engaged in full-time practice at the bar as a member of Sydney's Blackstone Chambers. Hughes has long been considered the most senior member of the NSW bar.[2]

He is the brother of the late writer and critic Robert Hughes. He has three children, Lucy Turnbull (former lord mayor of Sydney), Michael Hughes (prominent Sydney stockbroker) and Tom Hughes, Jr. (barrister). Turnbull is married to Liberal Party politician Malcolm Turnbull.


OrderAustraliaRibbon.png Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) 1988 for services to the legal profession,[3]
1939-45 Star.png 1939–45 Star
France and Germany Star BAR.svg France and Germany Star
War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg War Medal 1939–1945
Australia Service Medal 1939-1945 BAR.svg Australia Service Medal 1939–45
Centenary Medal (Australia) ribbon.png Centenary Medal 2001 [4]
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France) 2005[1]

He was also the subject of a painting by Jiawei Shen that was a finalist for the 2004 Archibald Prize.


  1. ^ a b ABC (2008). PM – Australian vets honoured with French Legion of Honour. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  2. ^ Blackstone Chambers (2008). Thomas Eyre Forrest The Hon. HUGHES AO QC. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  3. ^ It's An Honour (2008). HUGHES, Thomas Eyre Forrest. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
  4. ^ It's An Honour (2008). HUGHES, Thomas Eyre. Retrieved 31 May 2008.
Political offices
Preceded by
Nigel Bowen
Succeeded by
Nigel Bowen
Parliament of Australia
Preceded by
Les Haylen
Member for Parkes
Succeeded by
Preceded by
New division
Member for Berowra
Succeeded by
Harry Edwards