Kim E Beazley

Kim Edward Beazley

Kim Edward Beazley, AO (30 September 191712 October 2007), known as simply Kim Beazley during his career, Australian politician, was Minister for Education in the government of Gough Whitlam and a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives for 32 years, from 1945 to 1977.

Beazley was educated at the University of Western Australia and the Australian National University. He worked as a school teacher and university tutor before entering politics.

In 1945, aged 27, he succeeded John Curtin in Federal Parliament as Member for Fremantle. He was the youngest member of the Australian House of Representatives when he was elected, and was known as "the student prince". He held the seat until he retired in 1977, by which time he was the longest serving member of the House.

A committed Christian and member of Moral Rearmament, Beazley was prominent on the right-wing of the Labor Party during the ideological battles of the 1950s and 1960s. During the leadership of Arthur Calwell (from 1960 to 1967) he was considered a possible future leader of the party, but his right-wing views, particularly his support for the U.S. Alliance, cost him support, and Gough Whitlam emerged as Calwell's successor.

Beazley was Education Minister in the Whitlam Government from 1972 to 1975. He carried out important reforms in the education field, such as abolishing university fees and introducing needs-based funding for all schools through the Schools Commission.

After the defeat of the Whitlam Government in 1975 Beazley was elected to the Labor front bench, but resigned when it was revealed that the ALP National Secretary, David Coombe, had been seeking money from the Iraqi Ba'ath Party to pay off the party's debts. He retired from politics in 1977. At the time of his death he was the last surviving member from the period of the Chifley Labor Government (1945-49) and the earliest surviving member of the Commonwealth Parliament. He died in Perth on 12 October 2007, and was accorded a state funeral on 20 October.

Beazley's son Kim Beazley also became a prominent Labor politician, leading the ALP from 1996 to 2001 and again from 2005 to 2006.


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