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Bryant, Gordon Munro (1914–1991)

by Robert (Bob) Hawke

from Parliamentary Debates (House of Representatives)

Gordon Bryant, Australian Information Service, 1976

Gordon Bryant, Australian Information Service, 1976

National Library of Australia, 28632619

Condolence motion

That the House expresses its deep regret at the death, on Monday, 14 January 1991, of the Honourable Gordon Bryant, member of the House of Representatives for the seat of Wills from 1955 to 1980, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs from 1972 to 1973 and Minister for the Capital Territory from 1973 to 1975, places on record its appreciation of his long and meritorious public service and tenders its profound sympathy to his family in their bereavement.

Gordon Bryant was born on 3 August 1914 at Lismore, Victoria, and was educated at Frankston High School, Melbourne Teachers College and Melbourne University. Prior to entering Federal Parliament, he was a secondary school teacher with the Victorian Education Department. He served with the Australian Army 46th Infantry Battalion and the Melbourne University Regiment, Citizen Military Forces. In 1955 he was elected to Federal Parliament as the Australian Labor Party member for Wills and for 25 years, until 1980, gave faithful service to his electors and the nation as a member of the House of Representatives.

In an era when the inner suburbs of Melbourne struggled to get a fair share of the nation's resources, he was at all times a hard-working representative of his electors, and I can assure you, Mr Speaker, as the local member, that he was a hard act to follow. He was also a member of the Council of the National Library of Australia for a total of 12 years and President of the Aborigines Advancement League of Victoria from 1957 to 1964.

Gordon Bryant was appointed Minister for Aboriginal Affairs in 1972. In 1973 he took up his second ministerial appointment when he became Minister for the Capital Territory. He also served on several parliamentary committees with the focus on Aboriginal affairs and land rights issues. His concern over the issue of Aboriginal rights was evident not only during his parliamentary career but throughout his life. It was a subject he pursued with energy and conviction. He retired in 1980, but maintained contact with the Parliament through his work as Secretary of the Association of Former Members of the Parliament of Australia.

Gordon was a fighter–a fighter for the people of the electorate of Wills, a fighter for the people of his State and nation, a fighter for the Aboriginal members of the Australian community and a fighter for the Australian Labor Party. He was throughout his life active and independent minded, and he did not shirk a tough issue. He stood up for what he saw as right. On behalf of the Government, I extend our most sincere sympathy to his wife Pat and sons Robin and Linton.

Original publication

  • Parliamentary Debates (House of Representatives), 12 February 1991, p 303

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Citation details

Robert (Bob) Hawke, 'Bryant, Gordon Munro (1914–1991)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/bryant-gordon-munro-18365/text30309, accessed 24 August 2017.

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