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Father of the house

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Kim Beazley was the longest-serving member of the Australian Parliament.

In 1945, at the age of twenty-seven, Mr Beazley won the seat of Fremantle at a by-election following the death of Prime Minister John Curtin. He entered the House of Representatives as its youngest member. He retired before the election in 1977.  It was an extraordinary career. It spanned three eras: the Chifley Labor government, the long difficult years in opposition and divisions within the Labor Party and the party’s return to power in 1972. He was one of only four members of the Chifley caucus still to be a member of parliament twenty-four years later, when Gough Whitlam led the party back to power.

By the time of his departure from politics after thirty-two years service, Mr Beazley was affectionately acknowledged as ‘the Father of the House.’ Kim Beazley Sr served with distinction and with dedication. He is remembered as the minister who abolished university fees, putting a tertiary education within the reach of all young Australians — including this then young Australian. He was also responsible for introducing needs based funding for all schools, both private and public, ending the bitter sectarian debate about state aid.

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