Tom Lewis (Australian politician)
|33rd Premier of New South Wales|
3 January 1975 – 23 January 1976
|Deputy||Sir Charles Cutler|
|Preceded by||Sir Robert Askin|
|Succeeded by||Sir Eric Willis|
|Member of the New South Wales Parliament|
26 October 1957 – 7 September 1978
|Preceded by||Blake Pelly|
|Succeeded by||Bill Knott|
Thomas Lancelot Lewis
23 January 1922
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
|Died||25 April 2016(aged 94)|
|Political party||Liberal Party|
|Spouse(s)||Stephanie Spector, Yutta (formerly Anton)|
|Relations||Essington Lewis (uncle) |
Sandy Lewis (brother)
|Parents||Lancelot Ashley Lewis and Grace Margaret (Gretta) Lewis nee Laidlaw|
|Years of service||1941–1946|
|Unit||1st Armoured Division|
2/3rd Commando Squadron
|Battles/wars||World War II|
Thomas Lancelot Lewis AO (23 January 1922 – 25 April 2016) was a New South Wales politician, Premier of New South Wales and minister in the cabinets of Sir Robert Askin and Sir Eric Willis. He became Premier following Askin's retirement from politics and held the position until he was replaced by Willis in a party vote. Lewis was first elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for the Electoral district of Wollondilly for the Liberal Party in 1957, and served until his resignation in 1978.
He was born in Adelaide, the son of Lancelot Ashley and Gretta Lewis, and was educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide, from 1931 to 1940. Subsequently he managed the property of his uncle, Essington Lewis, Managing Director of BHP and Director-General of Munitions during World War II. He was a member of the Australian Imperial Force from 1940 to 1946, and served in Sydney, Celebes, Java and Borneo as a lieutenant. He was on the staff of the Embassy of Australia, Washington, D.C., from 1946 to 1951.
Lewis was elected as the member for Wollondilly representing the Liberal Party in 1957. When the Askin Government came to power in 1965, Lewis was given relatively junior portfolios of Lands and Mines. As lands minister he was responsible for setting up the National Parks and Wildlife Service in 1967. In 1970, he set up the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife as an independent not-for-profit organisation, in order to be the fundraising arm of the National Parks and Wildlife Service. In 1972, Tourism was added to his ministerial responsibilities when Eric Willis moved to Education.
Askin announced his resignation late in 1974, and Lewis was chosen as leader over Willis and Justice Minister John Maddison. He was sworn in on as Premier on 3 January 1975. He was elected during an uneasy time for the Liberal government, being engaged in almost daily warfare with the Whitlam Labor Government in Canberra, most notably over the Medibank health care scheme, to which New South Wales was the last state to sign.
The defining moment of the Lewis government was the decision taken by Lewis to break with convention when Whitlam appointed his Attorney-General, Lionel Murphy, a Senator from New South Wales, to the High Court of Australia. In a break with long-standing convention, Lewis refused to appoint a replacement Senator from the same party, instead appointing the 72-year-old Mayor of Albury, Cleaver Bunton. This triggered immediate outrage, not only from the Labor Party but also the executive of the Liberal party.
By the end of 1975, Lewis' image was badly damaged and he soon lost the confidence of his party. Sentiment was growing in favour of replacing him with Sir Eric Willis. At a caucus meeting on 20 January 1976, parliamentary backbencher Neil Pickard called a spill motion, which was carried 22 votes to 11. Lewis opted not to try to regain his post, leaving Willis to take the leadership unopposed. Lewis's term as Premier came to an end on 23 January 1976, his 54th birthday. Lewis was the only non-elected non-Labor premier who did not take the Coalition into an election.
Lewis served as Willis' Minister for Local Government until May 1976, when the Liberal Government was narrowly defeated by the Labor Party. In opposition Lewis did not hold any position within the Shadow Cabinet and later resigned from Parliament on 7 September 1978, the vacancy becoming one of the justifications for calling the election for 7 October 1978. At the election, his seat fell to the Labor candidate Bill Knott. On his departure from parliament, he was permitted by Queen Elizabeth II, on the Governor's recommendation, to continue to use the title "The Honourable".
He was made an Officer of the Order of Australia on 26 January 2000 "For service to the Parliament of New South Wales, to the environment as the founder of the National Parks and Wildlife Service of New South Wales, and to the community". On 1 January 2001 he was awarded the Centenary Medal. Lewis died on 25 April 2016, aged 94.
- Thomas Lancelot Lewis Treasurers, The Treasury, NSW Government Archived 9 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
- "Tom Lewis and his family". The Australian Women's Weekly. 42 (27). 4 December 1974. p. 2. Retrieved 27 April 2016 – via National Library of Australia.
- Roger, André (2000). "Lewis, Grace Margaret (Gretta) (1892–1968)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 30 September 2015.
- "The Hon. Thomas Lancelot Lewis (1922-2016)". Former Members of the Parliament of New South Wales. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
- Federation Press, The Premiers of New South Wales 1856–2005 – Volume 2, 1901–2005 (Syd, 2005)pg 387–399
- Hancock, Ian (2007). The Liberals: The NSW Division 1945-2000. Sydney: Federation Press. pg 155. ISBN 978-1-86287-659-0.
- "No. 46930". The London Gazette. 8 June 1976. p. 8115.
- Officer of the Order of Australia, AO, 26 January 2000, itsanhonour.gov.au
- Centenary Medal, 1 January 2001, itsanhonour.gov.au
- "Former NSW premier Tom Lewis dies". AAP. 27 April 2016. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
|New South Wales Legislative Assembly|
| Member for Wollondilly
| Minister for Lands
| Minister for Mines
as Minister for Tourism and Sport
| Minister for Tourism
Sir Charles Cutler
Sir Robert Askin
| Premier of New South Wales
Sir Eric Willis
| Treasurer of New South Wales|
| Minister for Local Government
|Party political offices|
Sir Robert Askin
| Leader of the New South Wales Liberal Party
Sir Eric Willis